The 99-Cent Store Of Dogs

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DSCN0010.JPG So you’re a backyard breeder with a shitload of chihuahas to unload, but The Man (i.e., the state of Texas and Harris County) passes a law that says you can’t sell pets in a parking lot or roadside. What the hell are you going to do with the little yappers?

If you’re lucky, you could ask the owners of a bombed-out convenience store if you can move in. They might tell you that the gutted structure has no air-conditioning, and it’s missing chunks of concrete in spots, but that stuff doesn’t really matter – as long as you’re in a building, you’re golden.

Such is the story of Clara’s Pet Shop – a story of a woman with a dream to let backyard breeders sell puppies come hell or high water. We got an e-mail last week from a woman who said she recently visited the place and saw that the puppies had no water and were only being cooled by one large industrial fan. So we thought it was worth a look.

The Clara in question is Clara Negrete, who has a state business license to operate out of a former convenience store at 3517 Little York, which is listed on the Harris County Appraisal District Web site as being owned by Mark Haman and Ali Faraji. When we called Haman to ask about the pet store, he hung up. Negrete has not returned calls. We haven’t been able to touch base yet with Faraji. (A representative of Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, i.e. “animal control,” told us one does not need a special license to operate a pet store).

When the Houston Press checked the place out over the weekend, the pups fortunately had water, and there were fans blowing on all the cages, but it was still extremely hot inside – the high temperature outside was 94 degrees.

Since we saw last weekend that the pups had water, and because we were told that, two weekends ago, there wasn’t any water, we thought maybe the Houston SPCA might have paid them a visit. But when we called, all we were told was that an investigator has been out there in the past.

But, all in all, this is great news – if you have a bunch of animals to sell, just move ‘em off the road and into a crackhouse. It’s the law!

-- Craig Malisow

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