Dogs & Laws

Will Chicago Vote to Ban Retail Puppy Sales Today?

petstoreChicago City Council will meet today to cast their votes on a very important topic – the retail sale of puppies.

The measure sponsored by City Clerk Susana Mendoza, if passed, will make Chicago the first city in the Midwest to ban the sale of puppies (cats and rabbits, too!) in retail pet stores. It is widely known that an overwhelming majority of puppies sold through retail stores are born and bred in puppy mills.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Cari Meyers, founder and president of the Chicago-based Puppy Mill Project, described the facilities as “puppy hell,” explaining that female breeding dogs spend their entire lives in cages, are bred as often as possible until they no longer can, and then “disposed of by the mills. This is a large-scale, systematic animal cruelty at its absolute worst.”

Simply put, these dogs are viewed as money-making “things,” not living, breathing animals with feelings. They spend their entire lives cramped into dirty cages, never feeling a loving human touch, often never setting foot on grass or knowing the joy of a warm bed or chasing a ball. And, their offspring, the puppies looking adorable and playful behind the retail store window, suffer, too. Because puppy mills do not breed with the parent dogs’ health or demeanor being considered, puppy mill puppies are often ill, susceptible to genetic health problems later in life, and often display  behavioral issues.

Opponents of the ordinance insist that such a ban infringes on the rights of buyers to purchase purebred puppies. However, the Humane Society of the United States reports that nearly one quarter of all shelter and rescue dogs are pure breeds. Additionally, the ordinance would not affect buyers’ right to purchase directly from reputable breeders or the internet.

There are currently 16 puppy retailers within the city limits. These retailers will have one year to comply with the new policies or face fines of up to $1000 per day. Repeat offenses would result in misdemeanor charges.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the new ordinance affect 16 businesses across the city, including Pocket Puppies in Lincoln Park, which sells small dogs at $850 to $4,000 a pup. Store owner Lane Boron said during testimony yesterday that the ordinance would put him out of business or force him into the suburbs, but not curtail the operation of inhumane puppy mills.

Boron contends that his own store sells puppies that have been humanely sourced. Several of Boron’s customers testified to having bought sick puppies from his store, however.

Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and dozens of other cities have passed similar bans on retail puppy sales.

Do you support such a ban? Would you appreciate similar ordinance in your own city?

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Grover

    Mar 10, 2014 at 2:06 am

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  2. Cyndy Groves

    Mar 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I wish cities would pass laws making it illegal for retailers to sell any live animals. Birds and reptiles suffer, too. I also wish they would make sales of reptiles at these reptile super-shows illegal. Animals are kept in inhumane conditions and sold to people with little to no knowledge on how to care for them, how large they may get, and how aggressive they may become. And the Super Pet Expos allow the sales of Sugar Gliders, which can be difficult to care for, and if they get ill, are challenging for vets to treat. Then the bird shows, people really have no idea what they are getting into with large parrots. Exotic animals are not ours to buy and sell for our entertainment. If someone feels they must have one, there are plenty of those in shelters and rescues, too.

  3. Linda Starace

    Mar 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    How about Pet Stores having to get their animals from shelters and rescues. These places can use all the help they can get. Also include cats and horses and ponies.

  4. Ronda Bailey

    Mar 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I’d like to see a retailer get their animals from shelters. It would help the euthanasia rates, keep the retailers in business and be a great way to advertise for shelter animals. Most of the time shelter animals are healthy and have been spayed/neutered and are up to date on their vaccines. This would be a wonderful selling point to new owners. I just think it could be a win-win relationship!

    • Cyndy Groves

      Mar 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Except why would someone pay a hundreds of dollars to a retailer for a shelter animal when they could go down to the local shelter themselves and pay the much lower adoption fee? This is also called “dog flipping,” which may not be illegal, but is definitely not ethical. I’m sure the shelters have a clause in their adoption contracts against it. Lastly, people who go to retailers are looking for purebred puppies. While many shelters have purebred dogs, they don’t often have purebred puppies. For these reasons, the law must be put in place to make it illegal to sell puppies, kittens, and bunnies in retail stores. These pet store owners are business people who only care about making money. They have to be regulated into being ethical.

      • Candace

        Mar 5, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        I have a friend who owns a pet store in central Wisconsin. Instead of selling puppies and kittens, she fosters them in her store through a local humane society and people are able to adopt them, paying whatever the adoption fee is for the shelter. If more pet stores would do things like that we could possibly start to reduce the number of homeless pets – even if it’s only a little at a time.

  5. bess moore

    Mar 5, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Yes yes yes!!!!! Ban them all, everywhere!!! Include Furry Babies in this ban!! They were run out of Peru, Illinois Mall only to settle somewhere else!! Stop these money hungry sick businesses!!! NOW!!

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