Puppy mill dogs are often sold at pet stores. So, why would Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy and two other Cook County Commissioners Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, Gregg Goslin reverse or amend the law to ban dogs, cats and rabbits sold at pet stores? With host Bill Moller, I spoke with Murphy exclusively on WGN Radio, LISTEN HERE.
Earlier in the year, Chicago Aldermen voted overwhelmingly to ban sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in Chicago, called 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.
LISTEN as Murphy, who has a long history of supporting animal welfare, explains her position.
1. Murphy maintains proper procedure wasn't complied to when the ordinance appeared. I don't know about that but Murphy and her colleagues did vote for the ban on dogs, cats and rabbits sold at pet stores, and didn't complain about a lack of procedure at the time.
2. Murphy says she doesn't want pet stores put out of business. Well, when you do something ethically wrong, maybe you should be out of business. No matter, only a small percent of all pet stores sell dogs, cats or rabbits, so we're talking about only a few businesses being affected. Most pet stores don't sell the animals because either they feel it is ethically wrong, or not economically worth all the trouble and costs involved.
Indeed, most pet stores thrive these days without selling dogs, cats or rabbits. Some of those stores adopt shelter or rescue animals instead. Not only are lives saved, but they still sell lots of accessories and food for those adopted animals, and develop customer loyalty along the way. Of course, Petland, the nation’s largest pet store group, reportedly still deals in puppy mill dogs, strongly opposes such bans. Petland is hardly the small business that Murphy says she's concerned about. Petland, a very big business with big dollars, is reportedly greatly the dollars behind the push against the county ban to sell dogs, cats and rabbits sold at pet stores.
3. One alternative law being forwarded by Murphy 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 most facilities that often. Not being fined doesn't mean the place has passed a test, it might mean they haven't been inspected. Also, what if a puppy mill does pass the test - 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?
Murphy says perhaps veterinary students could be hired part-time to inspect. While the idea is creative, it's not realistic since there is no budget for this. Also, who would train these students? Murphy says she wants to regulate what the facilities look like that sell dogs to stores. However, brokers often sell dogs - from places out of state. How would anyone know what these places look like?
Listener Jim maintains he's purchased at a pet store, then visited the breeder where the puppies were raised. I simply don't believe him.
All I know is that veterinarians, groomers and dog trainers - as well as the general public - are OVERWHELMINGLY in favor of the ban. Should what people think matter? Shouldn't public officials consider what the public wants? And also what experts who deal with animals daily are saying....
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.
Here are some more undeniable facts....
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
For en excellent summary, check out my colleague Raining Cats and Dogs blog, from Kathy Mordini.
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Tags: bans on sales dogs cats rabbits, Bill Moller, Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance, Joan Patricia Murphy, John Fritchey, pet store ban, pet stores, Puppy Mill Project, puppy mills, Steve Dale, Steve Dale arhives, Susana Mendoza, WGN Radio