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Polly's Pet Shop to feature shelter dogs

Universal City Mayor John Williams officiates the ribbon cutting ceremony at Polly's Pet Shop September 14, 2013.
Universal City Mayor John Williams officiates the ribbon cutting ceremony at Polly's Pet Shop September 14, 2013.
M. Gwynn

Local pet store, Polly's Pet Shop, in Universal City and New Braunfels, Texas, hosted their grand re-opening September 14th to celebrate their new policy; featuring only adoptable shelter dogs and puppies. This change is voluntary and came about as a result of the love for all dogs held by the New Braunfels store manager, Krystle Housely.

Owner Steve Housely, shared that the family-run business has wanted to make this change for quite some time, and because of this, his daughter reached out to the Humane Society of the United States, signing their pledge to be a Puppy-Friendly Pet Store. The result was a collaboration set up between Polly's and the San Antonio Animal Care Services whose shelter dogs and puppies will now be featured in the pet store instead of puppies from private breeders.

While some cities like San Diego have recently passed an ordinance that bans all sales of live animals in city pet stores unless they come from local shelters, San Antonio and their surrounding cities have no such law making what Polly's is doing all the more remarkable. "This is just me, but I never liked cities or governments doing things, and I think we, as independent business people, should come in and actually take an initiative to do it. I think it's a lot better that way" says Housely.

He states "we'll probably make mistakes at first, but we'll fix them" as they move along with their effort to help find homes for shelter dogs.

The HSUS estimates that this will help find forever homes for an estimated 300-500 dogs and puppies per year.

Lisa Norwood of S.A. ACS says "It's absolutely incredible and it sets an example." She cites that although Universal City sits just on the outskirts of San Antonio, it's still part of the community as all the surrounding cities consider themselves part of S.A.

The S.A. ACS has been working with more pet rescue organizations in the area to help further the effort to make San Antonio a no-kill city. In January, 2013, ACS exceeded its goal and set a record for achieving a live release rate of 83%. They are continuing to work towards 100% with new proposed changes to the city's animal laws that would allow ACS to become the legal owner of pets that come into the shelter, (part of the stray hold policy), immediately so that veterinary care can be administered, and even a possible adoptive pet parent identified. There would still be a 72 hour window for the owners to be located/notified, but after that, ACS would be the legal caretaker of the animals which helps get these pets adopted out faster.

Thanks to Polly's, ACS now has another avenue in which to help place adoptable dogs and puppies into forever homes. Becky Parker, who has worked at Polly's for one year says that all the employees work with and handle the animals. "I can tell you the personality of every hamster in the store. I can tell you which dogs are a little skittish and which ones have a lot of energy which is good for families with small children."

Polly's Pet Shop has been in business since 1977 operated by the Housely family. Owners Steve and Shelly Housely bought the store from his parents in 1990, and their son, Randy, and daughter, Krystle (and their spouses) have taken over running each store. In addition to dogs, the pet store also offers a variety of other small pets such as birds, fish, and reptiles (see slideshow). Polly's is leading the way by example, taking on the responsibility as both a business, and as citizens of the San Antonio community to help alleviate the high stray population. Their evolution has only just begun.

For more information about Polly's Pet Shop, visit their website at polly'

All articles by Michele Gwynn are under copyright and cannot be re-posted whole without written consent by the author. Partial re-posting with a link back to the original article is permitted. For consent, questions, or comments, email

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