The retail sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in Chicago would become a thing of the past under a new ordinance set for a City Council vote on Wednesday.
The council’s License Committee on Tuesday recommended passage of the measure put forth by City Clerk Susana Mendoza, whose office sells dog licenses.
“This ordinance cuts off the pipeline of animals coming into our city from the horrendous puppy mill industry and opens up a new opportunity for animals already in shelters who need a loving home to be adopted into,” Mendoza said.
Last month, the first-term clerk proposed requiring city pet stores that sell pooches and felines to get them from government pounds, humane societies or animal rescue groups rather than for-profit operations derided by critics as “puppy mills.”
During a Tuesday hearing, Cari Meyers, founder and president of the Chicago-based Puppy Mill Project, described the setups as “puppy hell,” saying females spend their lives in cages, are bred as often as possible until they no longer can, and then “disposed of by the mills. This is a large-scale, systematic animal cruelty at its absolute worst.”
A revised version adds rabbits to the list, requiring that the age, sex, medical history and source of rabbits be disclosed by retail sellers, just as they are for cats and dogs under state law.
Violators of the new ordinance, which would go into effect one year after passage, could be fined up to $1,000 a day or, in the case of repeat offenses, charged with a misdemeanor.
The ordinance would not affect the sale of pets via the Internet, by small-scale breeders who don’t sell in stores or veterinarians who sell animals form their clinics.
It would, however, affect 16 businesses across the city, including Pocket Puppies in Lincoln Park, which sells small dogs at $850 to $4,000 a pup. Store owner Lane Boron said the ordinance would put him out of business or force him into the suburbs, but not curtail the operation of inhumane puppy mills.
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-Chicago Tribune Reporting