EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso City Council approved new safety guidelines to help improve pet safety during Tuesday’s meeting. These changes include animal abandonment, disease control, veterinary care, and violation penalties.

Some of the most significant changes come for the city’s pet groomers. They will now be required to get training certifications before applying for a groomer’s license. Staff will also need to get background checks. The hygiene and safety measures are getting more stringent, and pet owners will be able to view the grooming process as it’s happening.

“El Paso is an animal-loving community and our pets deserve as much protection and security as we can give them,” said El Paso Animal Services Director Paula Powell. “These changes will ensure our pets remain safe and families stay together.”

This is the first grooming ordinance of its kind in the country. The amendments were part of a combined effort with El Paso Animal Services, the El Paso Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Unit, the El Paso Animal Shelter Advisory Committee and community stakeholders who developed recommendations.

The new pet ordinances will go into effect January 1, 2021.