KERR: Let New Braunfels make the choice
By Kayla Kerr
Kayla Kerr and her husband Justin Kerr, are the founders of Puppyland in New Braunfels, Texas. They have a baby daughter and many animals of their own.
A year ago last month, we excitedly opened our doors in beautiful New Braunfels, and have been delighted with the warm reception we’ve received.
Sadly, we also discovered a spread of misinformation, fueled by a group of people trying to take away your right to choose where you get your next pet.
The New Braunfels City Council is poised to vote on an ordinance which would only allow the sale of cats and dogs in retail establishments if they are obtained from an animal shelter or animal welfare organization.
This would set a dangerous and unfair precedent that results in city government shutting down small businesses like ours and taking away your freedom to get your pet where you want.
We are a small, family-owned business. My husband and I founded Puppyland on the principle that we would create a more responsible pet industry where the health of our puppies is always the first priority. We hold our own breeders to even higher standards than others in the industry and our puppies are checked by a veterinarian, microchipped, and vaccinated even before they enter our stores.
Once they are in our care, a local veterinarian and our kennel team ensure they are socialized and exercised while our puppy counselors match these new fur babies with customers who understand their breed, temperament and training regimen. This results in the perfect puppy for their lifestyle, effectively ensuring they stay out of shelters.
The real tragedy is that an estimated 6.5 million dogs, cats and other former pets enter shelters every year.
And of all these animals, only 3.2 million are adopted and many see shelters again after less than a year. What happens to the other millions? Most are euthanized, with Texas leading the way as the top state in the nation by euthanizing more than 52,000 animals a year.
On the other hand, we do everything in our power to ensure that our dogs are never surrendered to shelters. In fact, it states in our contract that they are not allowed to without contacting us first. We are committed to our puppies for a lifetime, and if a rare occasion occurs that a customer cannot keep their puppy, they can take advantage of our Fur-ever A Home program, which helps them find another loving family.
We are grateful to customers like Carl & Sandra Druebert from New Braunfels.
In a July 30 letter to the editor in this newspaper, they wrote, “In the past 20 years, we have bought three pedigreed dogs from either “Petland” in San Antonio or “Puppyland” in New Braunfels…. The first one we bought lived 17 years. The others are younger, but very healthy dogs. We urge the City Council to NOT CLOSE these stores in New Braunfels. They are legitimate businesses. There is no reason to penalize reputable dealers when the real problem appears to be irresponsible owners.”
We sincerely applaud the role that responsible shelters play, but we strongly believe it’s not an “either/or” choice. We thank the City Council members who recently said they were not in the business to legislate the free market and shut down businesses who aren’t doing anything wrong.
As new parents, my husband and I are thrilled to have welcomed our new baby girl in July. We want her to grow up in a world where she can choose where to live, how to live and certainly where her very own animal comes from.
Let’s work together as a community to raise the bar on this entire industry, not shut the door to those of us who are doing it responsibly.