January brought a slew of questions from our communities about illegal puppy sales in parking lots, on the internet, and what to do when people are suspected of “flipping” dogs. There was a lot of concern and confusion surrounding what to do, so we went to the experts for answers.
We reached out to our community prosecutor, Yulise Waters. She has been a great community partner. You can find Yulise at many neighborhood crime watch meeting and neighborhood association meetings helping us work to solve neighborhood issues, reduce crime, and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Yulise put us in touch with the animal law experts at the City Attorney’s office and we sent a list of questions and concerns. Through that connection with Yulise, we were then able to invite Assistant City Attorney, Mai Brock, to the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative to speak to the neighborhood’s specific questions and concern. A big shout out to Yulise and to Mai for collaborating with us and for taking the time to speak to us and to Jeffrey Talley for collecting the case studies that were put forward as real life example (with screen grabs) for our questions to the City Attorney’s office.
You are going to find the answers to some of these questions, well, frustrating to say the least. At the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative, we talk to Assistant City Attorney Brock about how citizens could help tighten the law to help with enforcement. We are working on setting up a “Laws for Paws” follow up meeting so we can better understand what we need to advocate for in order to “tighten” animal laws to make them more enforceable. We’ll make that announcement as soon as we set a date.
The following is the “official” word on our illegal vending questions.
May 29, 2015
Re: Illegal Vending – Animal Law Questions
Dear Ms. Gaconnier,
On January 1, 2015 you submitted a list of questions to Yulise Waters titled “Illegal Vending – Animal Law Questions.” On March 28, 2015, I attended a discussion group with you and the Oak Cliff Animal Initiative regarding the sale of animals in public and on the internet.
Below are responses to your written questions and the questions raised during our discussion. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
- What constitutes illegal vending where dogs and cats are concerned?
Under Section 7-7.2 of the Dallas City Code, the sale of animals is illegal if conducted on public property or if conducted on any property to which the public has access without a valid certificate of occupancy. Additionally, Dallas City Code Section 50-160 prohibits street vending on privately-owned property without a valid certificate of occupancy, license, or permit. A street vendor is defined under Section 50-157(14) as “a person who, personally or through an agent, engages in a business of selling or offering for sale goods or services from any structure or vehicle that is not affixed to the ground or from no structure or vehicle.”
- How do you obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
To obtain a certificate of occupancy, an individual must contact the Building Inspection Department, submit an application, pay a fee, pass inspection, comply with zoning regulations, and receive approval from the building, electrical, and plumbing/mechanical inspectors, in addition to other criteria. Dallas Animal Services does not administer certificates of occupancy.
- Is there anything that constitutes a legal sale of a dog or puppy?
Under Section 7-4.5 of the Dallas City Code, an animal that is four months of age or older may be sold if the animal is vaccinated (unless the animal cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons) and has a valid registration receipt and registration tag. Under Section 7-4.11, a person must have an intact animal permit to breed an animal, and the puppies cannot be sold unless they are at least eight weeks old and have been vaccinated against common diseases.
- Is there a difference on private or public property?
Yes. Section 7-7.2 of the Dallas City Code makes a distinction between the sale of animals on public property and property to which the public has access. Section 50-160 addresses the sale of goods or services on private property.
- What can be done to enforce the law?
A person who has reason to believe that an animal is being illegally sold may contact the Code Compliance Department by dialing 311, Dallas Animal Services by dialing 311, or the Dallas Police Department by dialing 911 (for emergencies) and (214) 744-4444 (for non- emergencies).
- Dogs for sale in shopping center parking lots (private land) or “parking lot puppy sales” The police generally say it is private property and a civil matter and they cannot do anything. What action can be taken?
Violations of the Dallas City Code can be enforced criminally. An individual may contact the Code Compliance Department by dialing 311, Dallas Animal Services by dialing 311, or the Dallas Police Department by dialing 911 (for emergencies) and (214) 744-4444 (for non- emergencies).
a) Can DAS seize the dogs?
No, unless there is evidence of animal cruelty.
b) Can DAS or DPD write a ticket? Yes, these agencies have the authority to issue criminal citations.
- There is a lot of activity on social media where people appear to be offering to breed their pitbulls and or selling pit bull puppies. I will give you a for instance on a facebook post surrounding a post on an Oak Cliff trade site. Is this illegal? Please site the city code that makes it illegal.
Advertising over the internet for breeding and the sale of puppies is not illegal under the Dallas City Code.
- The law seems to imply if they are under 4 months old and vaccinated its ok? You can’t rabies vaccinate and register a puppy under 4 months old – so that makes the code a little confusing.
Although Section 7-4.5 of the Dallas City Code does not specifically address the sale of animals under four months old, animals under four months old may be sold under certain circumstances. Section 7-4.11 allows individuals with an intact animal permit to sell puppies that are at least eight weeks old and have been vaccinated against common diseases.
- There is also some implications that this same person is possibly part of a dog fighting ring. May or may not be true…but how should someone go about getting that investigated? To whom and how should this be reported.
A person who has reason to believe that criminal activity is occurring involving the internet should contact the Dallas Police Department Computer Crimes Team at (214) 671-3503. Any evidence of animal cruelty should be reported to Dallas Animal Services by dialing 311.
- There is also conversation on this string that perhaps one of the dogs is a dog that was stolen a few weeks ago. This may or may not be their dogs, but in a situation like this….To whom and how should this be reported?
These crimes should be reported to the Dallas Police Department Computer Crimes Team at (214) 671-3503.
Assistant City Attorney Dallas City Attorney’s Office 2014 Main Street, Suite 227 Dallas, TX 75201
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY
2014 MAIN STREET ROOM 227
DALLAS, TEXAS 75201 TELEPHONE 214/670/4439 FAX 214/670/4814
ADDITIONAL INFO | CRAIGSLIST wants your help flagging illegal vending on their site
NOTE: If you go back into an ad after you have flagged, there will not be an “X” in front of “Prohibited”. Don’t worry, your flag has been counted. Don’t flag an ad more than once from a single IP address. It won’t be counted by the CL computer.