Amending Ban on Pet Store Sales of Dogs, Cats, Rabbits on WGN

Amending Ban on Pet Store Sales of Dogs, Cats, Rabbits on WGN

Puppy mills are not a good thing. FACT.

Many dogs sold at pet stores are from puppy mills, others are from commercial facilities that mass produce dogs. FACT

Purchases made at pet stores are impulsive, and unlike a private breeder or animal shelter or rescue, - which wants to insure you are the right family for that pet - pet stores only ask "will that be cash or credit?" FACT

Most pet stores don't even sell dogs, cats or rabbits because they have ethical concerns, or feel it's "not worth" the effort for the dollars gained FACT

Earlier in the year, Chicago Aldermen voted 49 to 1 to ban sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in Chicago  The Companion Animal and Consumer Protection ordinance. Cook County quickly followed with a similar law championed by Commissioner John Fritchey, and forwarded and promoted by the non-profit Puppy Mill Project.

So, why would anyone not be in favor of preventing sales of  dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores?

I will ask Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy on WGN Radio, Sunday May 25 at 2:05 p.m. (CDT) with Bill Moller. Murphy and two other commissioners (Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, Gregg Goslin) are seeking to amend or repeal the law passed the Commissioners to ban in-store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits. I hope to find out why the world they've want to do that, listen at 720 AM or HERE.

I know Commissioner Murphy is a nice lady; cares about animals and is careful and professional in consideration of what she does. That is why this is so confusing.

I know Commissioner Murphy is a nice lady; cares about animals and is careful and professional in consideration of what she does. That is why this is so confusing.

What's so confusing to me is that I know Murphy, and  I believe she cares a great deal about companion animals. And Gorman and Goslin maintain they are animal lovers.

Of course, there are pet stores in these three districts.


And the pet store lobbying organization, backed by major dollars, has been pressuring the commissioners.

One alternative law being considered might allow dogs to be sold in pet stores that are  from facilities which haven't been fined in the past two years. Unfortunately,  that means nothing since the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn't visit all facilities that often. Also, what if a puppy mill does pass - it does happen because the standards the Department of Ag uses to inspect are so minimal. Is there then a suggestion that there  good puppy mills?

Another option might be to allow the industry to police itself....Well, if it had done that decades ago, then  we wouldn't be dealing with puppy mills in the first place.

Of course, animals have no say so - and one explanation for not allowing the market to drive this - is that animals are suffering as a result, and have been for many years. MANY pet store owners (privately owned pet stores) have told me that they would NEVER sell dogs, cats or rabbits due to the myriad of ethical reasons. And the overwhelming majority of pet stores don't even dabble selling dogs, cats or rabbits. It's not the majority of pet stores that are driving this fight, it's the Pet Joint Advisory Council; they represent super-sized commercial facilities with a whole lot of money.

One alternative approach is for pet stores to work with a shelter or rescue and adopt animals. And the law to ban sales of dogs, cats or rabbits has nothing whatsoever to do with private breeders, who actually would benefit.

An argument made by some is that there are ways around the law - such as using the Internet, going online where unscrupulous folks sell animals. Of course, animals can be sold online, but's not quite as easy to do as it once was, and the government is looking at ways to further control this. Either way, good laws should be passed because they are good laws and do the right thing. Good laws are not avoided because someone might find a way around them....We have speed laws, though people can buy devices to determine if there are police nearby.

And to some extent, aren't public officials supposed to work for the voters? When the Cook County Commissioners and before that the City of Chicago first considered banning sales dogs, cats and rabbits - the public overwhelmingly responded in favor - from veterinary professionals and dog trainers who work with pets (and see the sad results of many animals sold  at stores) to pet owners, and even non pet owners. Shouldn't public sentiment count for something?

But most of all for me, it's what's best for the animals.

By the way, feel free to chime WGN when the Commissioner is on 312-981-7200 or text 24/720.

Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


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    Animal rights activists are aggressively promoting pet store bans in several communities across the country. The majority of these efforts are led by a small band of local activists. While these efforts are well funded and designed by multi-million dollar national animal rights groups, the resulting legislation fails produce the results they advertise.

    The premise of their attack is based on the belief that pet stores are responsible for (1) local pet overpopulation, (2) increased population at shelters, (3) the high shelter euthanasia rates and (4) the sale of sick dogs from “puppy mills” to unsuspected consumers. Their claim is that these issues are a direct threat to local citizens and pets. Their emotion campaign preys upon the heartstrings of local leaders and the media. Facts are not relevant in promoting their anti-pet agenda.

    In reality, none of these claims are true. There is no scientific study to support any of these claims. The animal rights groups have used the power of emotion to influence unsuspecting lawmakers and the media. Such reckless efforts have placed several municipalities in jeopardy of costly legal action for the tax payers to pay. The city of Phoenix is currently in federal court defending their passage of such an ordinance and in April a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction order in favor of the pet store.
    Myth #1: Pet stores are responsible for U.S. pet overpopulation, shelter overpopulation, and high shelter euthanasia rates:

    Fact: Not a single scientifically based study has been found that supports this myth.

    Fact: “There is no central data reporting system for U.S. animal shelters and rescues.” (Source: HSUS)

    Fact: “While many shelters know the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures possible.” (Source: American Humane Association)

    Fact: Pet store sell as few as 2% of all dogs in the United States. (Source: ASPCA)

    Fact: The shelter and rescue systems in the United States are importing dogs to fill the public demand. “The NAIA site has a story from the Puerto Rico Daily Sun about 107 puppies that died of distemper on their way from the island to the New York area.” (Source: NAIA)

    Fact: “As many as 300,000 puppies a year are being imported, based on early estimates, according to G. Gale Galland, Veterinarian in the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.” (Source: ABC News 2006)

    Fact: In the State of Connecticut, the Department of Agriculture tracks pet store and shelter dogs imported into the state. In 2013, pet stores imported 7,000 puppies into the state while shelters imported 14,000 dogs during the same year. (Source: Committee Testimony)

    Fact: In response to rescues and shelters importation of dogs into the United States, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) on April 21, 2014 released a policy statement recognizing the threat to humans and animal health posed by the unregulated importation of animals — rabies, in particular. (Source: NAIA)

    Fact: The most recent credible study on shelter in-takes was conducted in 1998 and found:
    33.7% came from friends/acquaintance
    27.2% came from a breeder or stranger
    22.5% came from a shelter
    9.3% came in as a stray
    3.9% came from pet stores
    This study examined 3,772 relinquished pets from 12-shelters in a six state area. (Source: Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1998)

    Myth Busted: No evidence exist that pet stores contribute to pet overpopulation, shelter overpopulation or high euthanasia rates in shelters.

    Myth #2: Pet stores sell sick dogs from “puppy mills”.

    Fact: Puppy breeders who sell to pet stores are regulated by the federal government. The U.S. Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act and assigned the USDA responsibility to inspect breeders. Only USDA licensed and inspected breeders are permitted to sell to pet stores. (Source: Animal Welfare Act).

    Fact: There is an estimated 10,000 dog breeders in the United States. (Source: HSUS)

    Fact: Just over 2,000 dog breeders are USDA licensed and inspected. (Source: USDA)

    Fact: The estimated 8,000 non-licensed and unregulated breeders sell directly to consumers over the Internet, flea markets and parking lots while evading federal regulatory oversight. (Source HSUS)

    Fact: Nearly 52% of dogs and cats adopted from shelters had reported health problems 1-week after adoption and 10% had reported health problems within the first month after adoption. Yet the prevalence of serious disease among puppies did not differ between pet stores and other sources. (Source: The Journal of American Veterinarian Medical Association)

    Fact: Breed specific rescues and shelters purchase puppies from commercial breeders as well as import puppies from countries such as Mexico, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. (Source NAIA & ABC News)

    Fact: AVMA is aware of 21 states that have lemon laws that provide legal recourse to people who purchase animals from pet dealers, later found to have a disease or defect. (Source: American Veterinarian Medical Association)

    Fact: Pet store puppies receive more veterinary care and oversight during the first 12 weeks of age than other puppies, and therefore had fewer health issues. (Source: Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council)

    Fact: Pet store puppies had fewer health claims thus prompting pet health insurance carrier DVM/VPI Insurance Group to reduce its premiums for pet store puppies and kittens by as much as 22%. (Source: DVM/VPI Insurance Group)

    Myth Buster: The public’s demand for choice in the dog they bring into their homes is growing and supply will meet that demand. Pet stores remain the highest regulated channel for puppy sales and provides customers and the general public with the best protection. While rescues and shelters view pet stores as competition, today only responsible federally licensed and inspected breeders can sell to pet stores.

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    umm Steve got any more "facts"for us?/ thanks Sarah for pointing out the truth

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    As far as rabbits go, the information given to legislators to include them is full of inaccuracies. I looked into statements from "rescue" groups, stuff like H$U$ said 80% of rabbits sold die, H$U$ said they didn't say that. After YEARS of checking into rabbit "statistics" the facts are nobody tracks rabbit shelter data. Nobody tracks the number sold. There has never been a study on rabbits sold to determine what % live or die. So all the statements about X% of rabbits sold dying are MADE UP-LIES!!!!!!! Is it right to lie in order to get a law passed? I don't think so. Also the number of rabbits in shelters is low but the number was exaggerated by animal rightists. As it is rabbits are different than dogs, MANY hobby show breeders sell rabbits they don't need in their breeding program to pet stores and dealers. There is little demand for pet rabbits as it is, many pet owners do not take the time to find a show rabbit breeder so these bans do not benefit breeders. Rabbit "mills" don't exist. This is a case of animal rights fanatics slapping a label used for dogs and cats onto rabbits without ANY factual information to support it. All the Chicago ban does is HURT hobby show rabbit breeders. It must be repealed!!!!!

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    This article is an example of a pet-loving journalist who has been brainwashed by the AR movement's propaganda and who is being used by the sociopathic AR movement to present lies to the public. The so-called FACTS that Dale declares are AR propaganda, not facts. Sarah's long comment is more truthful than almost anything in Dale's *opinion* article. Steve, please get de-programmed and use logic instead of emotional faux-facts.

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    OMG! As an attorney and former journalist, I am shocked that anyone who calls themselves a journalist could be so biased, prejudiced, one-sided, and misinformed in a single posting. If the radio program is anything like the hatchet job posted above then I would urge the Commissioners not to waste their time as there is little point in talking to someone who has no problem drinking the Kool Aid poured by the activists who want to take away the right of all citizens in a free society to obtain the puppy of their choice from the source of their choice. A similar argument led to prohibition and we all know how well that went. Do some research and you will uncover dozens of facts similar to those posted in the first comment above which totally contradict and disprove virtually every point contained in the main posting. Shame on you for holding yourself out as a legitimate journalist- you are nothing more than a puppet whose strings are being manipulated by animal rights activists.

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    Steve, how about doing an article on the importation of dogs from other countries that are then put up for sale in northern animal shelters? Those animals undergo no vaccinations, no quarantine, nothing.

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