Puppy Mill Breeders Challenge Pet Shop Ban on Puppy, Kitten Sales in Federal Court

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

The decision of a Federal judge will delay the start of the ban on the sale of puppy mill puppies and kittens in Cook County pet stores, which was scheduled to go into effect October 1, 2014, according to  Redeye

Depending upon the date of the decision by the court, a similar Chicago city ban, slated to begin in March, could also be affected.  Cook County, Illinois, encompasses a densely populated 1,635 square mile area with a  2010 human  population of  5,194,675. The County Seat is Chicago..

The ordinances are part of a nationwide movement—with 50 bans passed so far--to stop the supply of pets bred under inhumane conditions in puppy mills, and then sold as ”premium product,” Chicago Now.reports.  In Chicago the ordinance was spearheaded by City Clerk Susana Mendoza and The Puppy Mill Project, founded by Cari Meyers.

Meyers  told reporters, “What we have had a hard time understanding is that they keep saying they don’t purchase from puppy mills, if that is the case, then what is the problem…It’s all money over morals.”

According  to Redeye: “The suit claimed the law is unconstitutional because it is overly vague, violates the Commerce Clause by interfering with interstate commerce, provides unequal protection, impairs business contracts and would put the shop owners out of business and cause them "financial ruin." 

Stores affected by similar bans would be able to continue to deal in dogs and cats by “going humane” and obtaining pets from animal control agencies, humane societies or other shelters and rescue organizations, Chicago Now reports.

The new Cook County law would limit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits to only those that come from rescue groups, humane societies, government-run shelters or federally licensed breeders who use no more than five reproducing females.

Judge Matthew Kennelly has delayed the start of the ban until he can hear and determine the merits of a lawsuit filed on Monday by the owners of three pet stores:  Happiness is Pets in Arlington Heights and Petland stores in Hoffman Estates and Chicago Ridge--which would be directly affected by the ban.

The Missouri Dog Breeders’ Association, lobbyists for the state’s dog-breeding industry, is also reportedly a party to the lawsuit, according to Redeye. Missouri is .the number one state for puppy mills in America, according to the report.

The September 12 court order is scheduled to be heard on Oct. 22, 2014.

The Cook County State’s Attorney is representing the County Board of Commissioners, Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Animal and Rabies Control Director, Donna Alexander, all named in the complaint.

Sources: Chicago Now, Red Eye Chicago