Responsible Pet Acquisition

Dallas Animal Services encourages everyone to make adoption their first option. We do understand that each family is looking for something different in a pet, and we might not always have that pet available. If you are unable to find the right pet for your family at Dallas Animal Services, there are other avenues for finding your new pet.

Dallas-Fort Worth City and County Shelters

There are dozens of government animal services in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Easily search and browse animals available for adoption in your area by visiting websites like 24PetConnect, PetFinder, or AdoptaPet.

Private Animal Welfare Organizations and Rescues

A number of local animal welfare organizations such as Operation Kindness, the SPCA of Texas, and the Humane Society of North Texas offer pet adoption services. There are also many small animal rescue organizations, located in the North Texas area, many of which specialize in specific breeds. Many of these organizations tag animals for rescue from Dallas Animal Services in order to provide more specialized or longer-term care that helps us save more lives. To ensure that you are adopting a pet from a reputable private rescue, verify that they are registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and review their ratings on websites like Charity Navigator, GuideStar,  and Charity Watch.

Pet Store Adoptions (NOT pet sales)

Though some pet stores do sell dogs and cats (which may have come from puppy and kitten mills), many pet stores, including PetSmart and Petco, partner with local shelters and rescues to have onsite adoption facilities and/or onsite adoption events. To ensure that you are adopting a pet from a reputable shelter or private rescue, look for or inquire about the name of the group adopting the pet you are interested (many stores work with multiple partners at a time). Then verify that they are registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization or municipal organization and review their ratings on websites like Charity NavigatorGuideStar and Charity Watch.

Home-to-Home and Direct Re-homing

Dallas Animal Services offers rehoming services through Home to Home, an online platform that allows residents to proactively rehome their pets when keeping them is no longer an option. Home to Home helps pets stay out of shelters by allowing them to go directly from an old home to a new one, preventing overcrowding and saving shelter resources for pets with no other options. Follow the Dallas Community Rehoming and Pet Support page on Facebook, where we post pets available through Home to Home.  


Home to Home isn’t the only pet rehoming service around! Check out Adopt-a-Pet’s rehoming service, Get Your Pet, and others to find the pet you want. 


Nextdoor is connecting neighbors and pet lovers to keep pets safe and out of shelters. Pet owners who need to rehome their pets to connect with other users near them. While Nextdoor does not permit the sale of animals on its platform, they do allow modest rehoming fees. Learn more about Nextdoor’s pet rehoming policy here. 


Keep an eye out for misleading posts from backyard breeders. Backyard breeders keep a small number of dogs that they repeatedly breed and masquerade as average pet owners “rehoming” puppies. They may use creative ways to get around limits on pet sales on Nextdoor or other sites. The poster looking to rehome their pet should be able to answer questions about the dog’s behavior, medical history, preferences and be willing to send additional photos or videos.

Responsible Breeders

Anyone intending to breed animals in the City of Dallas must purchase a breeding permit and carefully follow the guidelines listed under Section 7-4.11 of the Dallas City Code. Always check before purchasing a puppy from a breeder that they are properly licensed. In addition, we recommend reviewing the below statements from national organizations on what constitutes responsible breeding practices when selecting a breeder. 

From the ASPCA: 


“The ASPCA recognizes that there is a demand for purposefully bred dogs, and we know that there are dog breeders who share our vision for humane communities in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness. These breeders reject the practices of commercial breeders, brokers, pet stores, auctions, and others who profit from cruelty and instead plan breeding carefully, place dogs thoughtfully, and take a lifetime responsibility for the animals they have bred and for all of their offspring. 


Responsible breeders provide their dogs with a high-quality of care, which includes: 

  • Providing all dogs with quality food, clean water, proper shelter, exercise, socialization, and professional veterinary care. 
  • Keeping dogs clean and well-groomed. 
  • Raising dogs intended to be pets in a home environment. 
  • Prioritizing the well-being of the mother dog (and the father too, where applicable) by developing a breeding plan for each dog based on the dog’s age and health, in consultation with their veterinarian. 
  • Safely handling puppies daily and socializing puppies with other dogs and people of appropriate ages. 
  • Placing dogs or keeping dogs as pets that are unable to breed, dogs who are unsuitable for breeding, or dogs who have been returned. 
  • Not subjecting dogs to permanent physical alterations that are done solely for cosmetic purposes. 
  • Ensuring that puppies are gradually and fully weaned before being placed. Puppies should not be fully weaned before 8 weeks old unless there are medical or behavioral reasons to do so. Ideally, puppies are placed when they are between 10-12 weeks of age. 

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From the Humane Society of the United States: 


“Responsible breeders provide a loving and healthy environment for their canine companions, one that they will be proud to show you. You should never buy a puppy without seeing where the dog and their parents were raised and housed with your own eyes, no matter what papers the breeder has. Beware: AKC and other types of registration papers only tell you who a puppy’s parents were, not how they were treated.” 

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From the ASPCA: 


“Although the range of care provided by breeders varies greatly, “commercial breeders,” a term we use to refer to facilities that produce dogs in high quantities, generally with the intention that they be sold through a broker, pet store, or other third party, typically keep animals in conditions that are detrimental to their health and welfare. 

Therefore, we do not support purchasing or otherwise acquiring dogs from commercial breeders, brokers, or retail outlets that sell puppies (both stores and websites). While the Internet can be an effective and efficient tool for locating adoptable dogs and responsible breeders, purchasing or otherwise acquiring purposely bred dogs via the Internet – without first meeting the dogs and seeing the conditions in which the breeding dogs and their offspring are kept – unwittingly allows bad breeding practices to remain hidden and continue unabated.” 

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From Best Friends Animal Society: 


“It is estimated that over 90 percent of pets sold in pet stores and through online sales come from commercial mass-breeding operations known as mills — puppy mills, kitten mills, bird mills, bunny mills, etc. These high-volume breeding operations add more animals to the national pet population each year than are killed in shelters annually and are one of the most significant contributing factors to shelter populations. 


These commercial breeding operations are inherently exploitive not only of the animals trapped in inhumane breeding servitude, but also of the people who purchase these over-priced pets, many of whom have diseases, genetic defects and behavior problems from poor breeding practices, inadequate nutrition, and lack of socialization and veterinary care. 

Breeders who sell their animals to distributors for resale through retail outlets are required by law to be licensed and inspected by the USDA. However, since USDA standards are so marginal, extraordinary mistreatment and negligence can, and most often do, exist within USDA-licensed commercial breeding operations.” 

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From the Humane Society of the United States: 


“Despite what they may tell you, most pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies. Unless the store is “puppy-friendly” by sourcing homeless pups from local animal shelters, you have to be very careful about a pet store’s link to puppy mills.” 


“Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online and in newspaper and magazine ads. We have often helped local authorities in the rescue of puppy mill dogs. In almost all cases, the puppy mills sold puppies via the internet using legitimate-looking ads or websites that made it look like the dogs came from somewhere happy and beautiful—claims that couldn’t have been further from the truth.” 

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