Sherman passes new animal regulations

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
A volunteer shows off the kitty play condo and its occupants at the Sherman Animal Shelter in 2020. The city of Sherman has approved a new series of ordinances for animals and pets within the city.

Sherman is rolling out new updates to its animal control ordinances aimed at bringing the code up to modern standards and needs. The Sherman city council voted unanimously this week to approve the new updates amid other reforms to animal control.

The new 46-page animal control ordinance includes updated definitions along with restrictions on new pet shops, and breeders, among other reforms.

"We understand that there are businesses that can operate efficiently, effectively and still pursue the humane treatment of animals, and we want to make sure that we ensure that," SPD Chief Zachary Flores said.

The updates are one of several changes that have been proposed to animal control since it was moved under the control of the Sherman Police Department last October.  Police officials said one of the early priorities for the department was to modernize the ordinance, which was significantly out of date.

Earlier this month, police officials spoke before the city council regarding needs for the department, including the ordinance update, amid ongoing struggles with over population in the city's shelter.

The new regulations make it unlawful for someone to open or operate a pet shop without first obtaining a license from the city. This will be grandfathered for the city's three existing pet shops, which are centered along the intersection of U.S. Highways 75 and 82.

The ordinance will bar pet shops from selling prohibited animals and dogs and cats unless they were obtained from a government-owned of -operated animal shelter. This section will also be grandfathered for existing shops. All animals for sale must also be sterilized and implanted with a registered microchip.

Similar requirements for permits are also being put in place for breeders of dogs or cats. In order to get a permit, a breeder must provide the address of the breeding location, along with the number of animals that will be kept there. Animal Control will also consider the plans and designs for animal enclosures and other facility inspections for the site before issuing the permit.

Council Member Shawn Teamann asked what this would mean for families who were seeking to buy or adopt specific specialty breeds, including show dogs. Flores said the city is working to be cognizant of the existing breeders in the area as the new requirements are rolled out. However, the process should not be difficult for professional breeders.

The ordinance also includes definitions for exotic and prohibited animals, and requirements from dogs that have been deemed dangerous, among other new inclusions.