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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

City Council extends environmental conservation plan, discusses pet store regulations

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A file photo of the San Marcos City Council meeting chamber.

San Marcos City Council approved Resolution 2021-163R, extending the agreement between the city and Texas State to work together on the implementation and maintenance of the Edwards Aquifer and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) at its Feb. 1 meeting.
Members of both the Edwards Aquifer and the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) spoke on the importance of the HCP, as it allows for the conservation of the rivers that have become vital to the culture of San Marcos.
“Since 2012, HCP has been diligently working to remove non-native, invasive species and planting a large list of native species that have deep roots and provide ground cover, understory, mid-level and full canopy cover, to provide a variety of vegetation layers,” HCP Board President Kimberley Meitzen said. “[These] work together to hold the riverbank in place, reduce runoff over the surface into the river and reduce erosion from high intensity rainfall.”
According to Meitzen, the diverse flora in San Marcos is greatly impacted by the availability of fences that keep deer and pedestrians from trampling the plants. City Council will vote on funding more of these fences.
City Council also voted to refer Ordinance 2022-14 to the Animal Services Committee to make sure the verbiage does not allow for unintended consequences. During the public comment section, more than 10 members of the community spoke on the subject, expressing both support and hesitation toward the proposed ordinance.
The ordinance comes in response to complaints filed in late 2021 against local pet store Pick a Pet. The pet store is accused of being a “puppy mill” and unethically handling its animals.
Under the new ordinance, pet stores could only offer dogs or cats obtained from animal control agencies, shelters or rescue organizations. Beyond this, stores would also be required to have specific documentation of where the animals were previously kept.
However, some community and council members worried that the ordinance would hurt pet businesses that are operating ethically and do not have any complaints.
Speaking on behalf of the National Animal Interest Alliance, Vanessa Gange argued that while this ordinance would change the supply of animals available for purchase, it would not change the demand.
“Many families want a particular breed because it has predictable traits, a certain temperament, energy level or is hypoallergenic. They also may want to puppy they can raise as part of their family,” Gagne said. “Dogs of this sort are not always available in shelters, and when they are, they seldom come with a detailed history or warranty for that matter. This will remove dogs from commerce that many consumers want.”
Gagne’s fear was that buyers would instead turn to more obscure businesses that are not required to meet any government standards.
“This new ordinance will not help solve pet overpopulation problems. Instead, it will create a black market of breeding and sales that cannot be regulated,” Gange said.
Additionally, City Council is not sure that the pet store in question is violating any standards. Director of Neighborhood Enhancement Greg Carr assured the council that when investigating the store, the conditions the animals live in seemed to be compliant with all necessary codes and recommendations.
“We’ve been out there, and we haven’t been able to substantiate anything,” Carr said. “They’ve had water. They’ve got food. They’ve looked healthy.”
To ensure the verbiage of the ordinance does not cause unintended problems with developing pet stores in San Marcos, the council voted to refer it to the Animal Services Committee for further development. While the council hopes to vote on the newly amended ordinance in three months at most, Mayor Jane Hughson advocated for an allowance of six months to ensure all changes are well thought over.
City Council also approved the development of housing for low-income seniors in Whisper Hills area near the Amazon facility. The complex will include 265 units and a number of amenities.
The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the City Council website.

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