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Another Win for Puppy Mill Dogs in Illinois!

Another Win for Puppy Mill Dogs in Illinois!

Just a month after the city of Chicago took action to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores, mill dogs scored another major win when lawmakers voted unanimously to extend the ban to cover all of Cook County.

The Cook County Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance was proposed by Commissioner John Fritchey, who said he was inspired by Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s efforts to get a ban passed in the city.

Under the new law, which will go into effect in October, pet stores in Cook County will only be allowed to sell dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters, rescues and humane societies. There will, however, be exceptions for licensed breeders who have no more than five or fewer female dogs. According to the Chicago Tribune, the new law is expected to affect an additional 13 pet stores beyond the 16 in Chicago.

The ultimate goal is to protect both pets and consumers from unscrupulous commercial breeders who supply pet stores.

“Puppy mill puppies and kittens are often sold with a number of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases that may not be detected or disclosed at the time of purchase,” said Fritchey. “As a result, potential buyers who fall in love with a puppy or kitten in the pet store may find themselves in for extensive veterinarian bills and potential heartbreak.”

The situation isn’t just heartbreaking for families who wanted to welcome a new four-legged member, but for the thousands of dogs who are left behind in mills to continue cranking out puppies and for the thousands who continue to die in shelters.

Lawmakers and supporters of the new ban, including the Chicago-based Puppy Mill Project, believe it will benefit animals not just by cutting off shady commercial breeders, but also by helping increase pet adoptions. According to Fritchey, in 2012, more than 20,000 dogs and cats were impounded in Cook County, while more than one-third of them were killed because they weren’t adopted.

Supporters also believe it will stop Chicago-based stores that don’t want to comply with the city’s new ban from moving into the suburbs.

Opponents, including the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and Petland, argue that measures like this will hurt “responsible breeders,” put pet stores out of business and take away consumers’ rights, while others argue that not everyone wants a shelter dog or a rescue.

However, laws that stop pet stores from selling puppies and kittens from commercial breeders don’t stop anyone from getting the dog or cat of there dreams. There are plenty of breed-specific rescues around, and people can still turn to responsible breeders, none of who would ever let their dogs go to pet stores in the first place.

As far as attempting to support commercial breeders, even for those licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, standards for basic care are ridiculously low and violations go without punishments that are severe enough to get them to change. The Puppy Mill Project offers a glimpse of the conditions dogs are left in by licensed Illinois breeders on its website. Take a look to see exactly why outlets for these breeders need to be shut down.

Fortunately, as awareness about the problems that surround large-scale commercial breeders and pet store sales of animals continues to grow, more areas are adopting and working towards adopting these common-sense laws.

The efforts to protect pets and consumers in Chicago and Cook County have also led other areas in Illinois to reexamine the issue and consider similar laws, including Orland Park, which is now looking the possibility. Officials are expected to hear input during a public hearing at a Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on April 21.

For more info on how to help mill dogs and stores that sell them, visit the National Mill Dog Rescue, the Puppy Mill Project and the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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9:41AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Someone always tries to get rich quick on the bodies of others.

7:55AM PDT on Jul 3, 2014

Yeah, Illinois!! Now, to get every other state on board. It's a great start.

2:41AM PDT on May 11, 2014


10:51AM PDT on May 1, 2014

Kudos to Illinois!!!

8:00AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

News like this help me keep my faith in humans.. Hope one day there will be no more shameful mills!

10:32PM PDT on Apr 22, 2014

So happy to learn this!!! :)
Sharing on my wall.

6:37PM PDT on Apr 18, 2014


6:51PM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

Hi, my name is Ariadna Alonso, I'm from Mexico, where there is a big trouble with stray dogs and alley cats and unfortunately many people see them as a plague, turning them into victims of abuse. That's why I want to open a shelter to rescue them (as many as possible) and give them food, shelter, veterinary care, and training so they can find sooner a permanent home. Also I'd like to add a little store to sell crafts with animal theme so it can sustain by itself (something like aspca).

I've been saving money to make it real, but I don't earn much and recently I found a page where people can donate for many causes. Please help me to achieve my goal.

11:34AM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

Woo Hoo! Good going, Illinois!

11:16AM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

Puppy Mills are for losers that can't/won't get real jobs. They are pimping animals, plain and simple. I don't even like "reputable breeders" for reasons we all know. Too many unwanted and unloved animals languishing or dying at the pound. I hope I live to see the day when not one puppy mill exists anywhere. Good going, Illinois.

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