It’s been less than two months since the Cook County Board passed the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act – the measure that banned the sale of puppy mill dogs and kitten mill cats in the county’s 13 pet stores. Next Tuesday, the power of that decision hangs in the balance as the county board considers an amendment that will greatly water down the ordinance.
The measure that has been proposed by Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman and Joan Patricia Murphy would no longer outlaw the sale of puppy mill dogs in Cook County pet stores. It would allow stores to continue to sell puppy mill dogs if the puppy mills have had no violations in the past two years. In other words, the stores can sell commercially bred dogs and cats as long as they come from “good puppy mills” and “good kitten mills”.
Here’s the deal. There is no such thing as a good puppy mill. The good breeders – those that are careful about how they breed, how often they breed, and give the pets in their care proper food, socialization and veterinary care – don’t sell to pet stores. The commercial breeders – puppy millers – that put profit over the well being of the dogs do sell their dogs in pet stores. There are no good puppy mills…it’s that simple.
In April, Cook County became the first county in the United States to take a stand against puppy mills by outlawing the sale of commercially bred cats and dogs in pet stores. It’s time to give that powerful ordinance a chance. Between now and next Tuesday, you need to make sure your voice is heard by calling all the county commissioners (their information is below) and do the following.
- Find out where they stand – do they support the original ordinance or do they want to consider the amendment that gives the power back to puppy mills?
- Let them know that there is no such thing as a good puppy mill. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as it stands now allows for dogs to be kept in stacked cages. It also allows for dogs to be kept in cages just six inches (yes, six inches) larger than the dog indefinitely. It doesn’t cover adequate food, exercise and medical care for the dogs.
- The proposed amendment allows stores to continue to sell dogs and cats as long as they purchase from breeders that haven’t had a direct violation in two years. That provisions are not enforceable. There is a shortage of inspectors so many puppy mills are not inspected annually or even every two years.
- On the state level, there is also a shortage of inspectors. To enforce this measure, they would have to go through records at the pet store for each dog sold and compare it against USDA inspection reports. It won’t happen. There are also not provisions on where to turn in violators.
Since the ordinance passed, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) – a group heavily funded by Petland (the largest pet store chain in America selling puppy mill dogs) and the Hunte Corporation (the largest broker in puppy mill dogs) – has turned up the heat in Cook County and the state of Illinois.
Two other powerful lobbying groups – the Chicago Veterinary Association and The American Veterinary Medical Association have also put on the pressure. By the way, I can tell you that the majority of the veterinarians in the Chicago-area are behind the original law and do not back the amendment (nor did they have a vote). All these groups keep floating the notion that there are good puppy mills and stores can continue to deal in commercially bred dogs if they use the dogs from “good puppy mills.”
Between now and Tuesday, call and email all 17 commissioners and make sure they get the message – There are no good puppy mills, please stand by the ordinance in support of the dogs left behind.
Please call or email Cook County’s 17 Commissioners to prevent the ordinance from being amended.
- District #1 - Commissioner Earlean Collins - Earlean.Collins@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.4566
- District #2 - Commissioner Robert B. Steele - Robert.Steele@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.3019
- District #3 - Commissioner Jerry Butler - Jerry.Butler@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.6391
- District #4 - Commissioner Stanley Moore - Stanley.email@example.com - 312.603.2065
- District #5 - Commissioner Deborah Sims - Deborah.Sims@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.6381
- District #6 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment) - Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy - Joan.Murphy@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.4216
- District #7 - Commissioner Jesus G. Garcia - Jesus.Garcia@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.5443
- District #8 - Commissioner Edwin Reyes -Edwin.Reyes@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.6386
- District #9 - Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri - firstname.lastname@example.org - 312.603.4393
- District #10 - Commissioner Bridget Gainer - Bridget@bridgetgainer.com - 312.603.4210
- District #11 - Commissioner John P. Daley - John.email@example.com - 312.603.4400
- District #12 - Commissioner John A. Fritchey - firstname.lastname@example.org - 312.603.6380
- District #13 - Commissioner Larry Suffredin - email@example.com - 312.603.6383
- District #14 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment) - Commissioner Gregg Goslin Commissioner.Goslin@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.4932
- District #15 - Commissioner Timothy 0. Schneider - Tim.Schneider@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.6388
- District #16 - Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolsk - Jeffrey.Tobolski@cookcountyil.gov - 312.603.6384
- District #17 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment) - Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman - firstname.lastname@example.org - 312.603.4215
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