Chicago officials vow to fight lawsuit aimed at stopping pet store ban

Chicago officials vow to fight lawsuit aimed at stopping pet store ban

Two pet stores that have decided to sue to continue to sell puppy mill dogs in Chicago will be in for a fight. Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have vowed to go to war in court to keep the city’s ban against the sale of puppy mill dogs and kitten mill cats in effect.

A year ago, Chicago stepped up to stop Chicago’s puppy mill pipeline by voting to outlaw the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in city pet stores. In less than two weeks, the city’s new ordinance was slated to go live and pet stores that chose to continue to sell dogs and cats not sourced from animal controls or rescues faced big fines.

Now, the fate of the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance hangs in a balance thanks to the federal lawsuit. Two pet stores - Pocket Puppies and Park Pet Store – and Missouri breeder Cedar Woods Farm are fighting to prevent the new law from going live in a few weeks.

“Last year, the Mayor, our aldermen, animal advocates and residents stood together to oppose puppy mills and their legacy of animal cruelty. Now we have to come together again. The puppy mill industry, which is behind this challenge to our law, puts profits first. Clearly, they don’t share our values when it comes to the compassionate treatment of dogs, cats, and rabbits,” said City Clerk Susana Mendoza in a press release today. She spearheaded the effort with the help of The Puppy Mill Project, an advocacy group that educates consumers about the pet store-puppy mill connection.

“The pet storeowners named in the lawsuit are putting profits over the humane treatment of dogs, cats and rabbits being sold in Chicago pet stores,” says Cari Meyers, founder of The Puppy Mill Project. “We’re convinced that the federal court will stand up against animal cruelty by upholding the pet store ban.”

Although over 60 communities in North America have voted to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, Chicago was the first Midwestern city to do so. That’s important because the majority of the puppy mills that crank out pet store pups to unsuspecting consumers are in the Midwest.

Missouri is the puppy mill capitol and Chicago’s ordinance has the dog breeders of that state barking mad. A large percentage of the dogs sold in Chicago’s pet stores come from Missouri or Iowa. Stopping the sale of puppy mill dogs in Chicago will put a huge dent in sales and a larger one in the profits.

Both the Chicago lawsuit and one challenging a similar Cook County ordinance have breeders from Missouri as plaintiffs along with the pet stores. Those stores vouch for the quality of the puppies they sell from puppy mills, glossing over the true history of the dogs.

One of the pet stores involved in this lawsuit – Pocket Puppies – sells so-called Teacup Puppies. There is actually no such designation as Teacups…they are the result of runts being bred with runts to create smaller and smaller dogs. The dogs that sell for high dollars are also not pure breeds but mixes of yorkies and maltese (Morkies) and poodles and other dogs. Some of the dogs at the store sell for upwards of $3,000.

The next few months should be interesting as judges in Chicago and Cook County shift through the fact and fiction in these cases. Hopefully, the judges will see beyond the smokescreen and see the puppy mills and animal welfare will prevail over cruelty.

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Filed under: Puppy Mills

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    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I am a crazy cat lady and puppy mill warrior that blogs to advocate and educate about pet issues. In American animal controls, millions of pets are abandoned each year and an estimated 4 million die just because there are not enough homes. It truly seems like it’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

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