Restaurant cancels puppy mill fundraiser in support of animal advocates

Restaurant cancels puppy mill fundraiser in support of animal advocates
One of the dogs rescued from Adrian's Puppy Paradise. Photo Courtesy of Animal Rescue Corps (ARC).

A Chicago pet storeowner that was going to host a “woe is me, please help me before I lose my livelihood dinner” found out the hard way that good event publicity can backfire. The owners of Park Pet Shop in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood had hoped to have a $95 a head puppy mill fundraiser tonight (Thursday) to help them raise legal fees to continue their fight against Chicago’s pet store ordinance that will ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores.

Now their event has been cancelled and the restaurant will host fundraisers instead for the group that pushed to pass the ordinance – The Puppy Mill Project – and Chicago rescue One Tail at a Time.

Working so close to the cause, it’s hard for me to fathom that people haven’t connected the dots between pet stores and puppy mills. However, it’s an issue that isn’t on the radar for a lot of people whether they like dogs or not. Until they get a sick dog at a pet store or know someone that does, it’s a topic that is hot with rescue folks and some dog lovers…but not so much with many other animal lovers.

Groups like The Puppy Mill Project have been working hard to educate so more people know the origin of pet store puppies. However, a lot of folks are still learning and are often appalled when they find out about the puppy mill-pet store connection and the consumer fraud that runs rampant when pet stores sell puppies.

Chicago’s City Council passed the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act in March of 2014. The measure would have prevented pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits at city pet stores as of March of this year. Instead of sourcing pets from puppy mills and kitten mills, stores would have had to go humane and offer pets rescued from animal control, humane societies and rescues.

Jim Sparks Jr. and Jim Sparks Sr. owners of Park Pet Shop filed a lawsuit with Lane Boran of Pocket Puppies shortly before the law was to take effect to protect their livelihood.  Since then, the Sparks and Boran have done a great job with the “woe is me” story as they’ve tried to raise funds and public sympathy to keep their lawsuit going. They continue to perpetuate the lie they’ve told for years – that their dogs are from “reputable” and not puppy mills.

Most of the Chicago media has connected the dots and won’t bite on their story…except for DNAInfo. They written more than one story telling the pet store side of the story while ignoring the animal cruelty they support by selling puppy mill dogs.

For those of us close to the cause, it’s not surprising. They started off two years ago writing about the pet store-puppy mill connection before jumping to the dark-side to support pet storeowners that were seeking attention to help support their lucrative businesses built on animal cruelty. That’s why any story they do on the topic sets off warning bells and phone calls from advocates instead of garner support for animal abusers.

However, thanks to their coverage the word got out and people spoke up. Kinmont Restaurant and at their pop-up kitchen Ampersand in River North turned what could have been a PR nightmare into a win by canceling the event and stepping up to host fundraisers for two of the groups that took the time to kindly outline the true story behind pet store puppies. This restaurant group has been a big supporter of rescue in the past and it didn’t take long for them to rectify the situation.

Thank you Cari Meyers of The Puppy Mill Project and Heather Owen of One Tail at a Time for doing what you both do best – taking the time to speak out respectfully to be the voice for dogs in the mills and shelters. I’m looking forward to the day when the judge tosses out the suit and the puppy mill ban goes into effect in Chicago. The Sparks and Boran can then look for a new line of work – something honorable this time (like that will happen).

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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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