Animal Welfare News item | PAWS Chicago

Illinois Takes a Stand Against Puppy Mills

Jun 12, 2014

Update: June 13, 2014

Great news! The amendment to the Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection ordinance, which would effectively dismantle protections against puppy mills and inhumane breeding practices, has been pulled from Tuesday’s Cook County Board of Commissioners agenda. Although the amendment could resurface in the future, it is currently not up for vote.

We will continue to provide updates as information is available.

Update: May 22, 2014

Several Cook County Commissioners with high volume pet stores in their districts along with representatives of pet shops and the puppy mill  industry, want to make some changes to the puppy mill ordinance, passed last month, which would seriously impact the protections prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits purchased from for-profit breeders and puppy mills.

The law currently mandates that retailers can only sell rescue animals obtained from government pounds, humane societies or animal rescue groups. Unfortunately, the amendment that would allow Cook County pet stores to continue selling animals who originate from for-profit mills.


If you live in Cook County, please contact the Cook County Commissioners listed below and let them know that it is critical to animals and our community that they uphold their original vote and not support the new Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Amendment.  The lives of helpless animals depend on your support.

District #1
Commissioner Earlean Collins
Phone: 312.603.4566

District #2
Commissioner Robert B. Steele

District #3
Commissioner Jerry Butler
Phone: 312.603.6391

District #4
Commissioner Stanley Moore
Phone: 312.603.2065

District #5
Commissioner Deborah Sims,
Phone: 312.603.6381

District #6 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment)
Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy
Phone: 312.603.4216

District #7
Commissioner Jesus G. Garcia
Phone: 312.603.5443

District #8
Commissioner Edwin Reyes,
Phone: 312.603.6386

District #9
Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri,
Phone: 312.603.4393

District #10
Commissioner Bridget Gainer
Phone: 312.603.4210

District #11
Commissioner John P. Daley
Phone: 312.603.4400

District #12
Commissioner John A. Fritchey
Phone: 312.603.6380

District #13
Commissioner Larry Suffredin,
Phone: 312.603.6383

District #14 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment)
Commissioner Gregg Goslin
Phone: 312.603.4932

District #15
Commissioner Timothy 0. Schneider
Phone: 312.603.6388

District #16
Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski
Phone: 312.603.6384

District #17 (Proposing Ordinance Amendment)
Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman
Phone: 312.603.4215

UPDATE  - May 16, 2014

We know you are as interested as we are about Illinois SB 4065 sitting before the state senate.  Some changes have been made to the bill since originally introduced and we are working hard to get more information about the potential implications and whether or not those revisions compromise the originally foreseen benefits to animals and our support.  We will provide updates as soon as we know more.

UPDATE – May 2, 2014

Illinois Could Become First State in Nation to Take a Stand Against Puppy Mills

Several Illinois lawmakers are taking on the inhumane practices of puppy mills and commercial breeding.

State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge)and State Representative Dan Burke (D-Chicago) have introduced legislation (House Bill 4056) that would prohibit Illinois pet shops from selling dogs and cats acquired from commercial “breeders” – often large facilities that mass-produce animals for sale.  Backed by Governor Quinn, the push comes just weeks after the approval of similar measures in both Chicago and Cook County.

“This proposal will help end inhumane puppy mills, protect pet owners and help shelter animals find loving homes,” Governor Quinn said. “Cook County will soon offer this humane protection and together we can build on that momentum for families across Illinois.”

Senator Kotowski says he introduced the measure because he believes it will work to ensure safer and more humane treatment of pets.  If would also work to guarantee that people are buying healthy dogs and cats.

“Pets are a part of many families, and this legislation will help when choosing one of these new family members,” said Representative Burke. “It will also reduce the number of shelter animals and bring more healthy pets into Illinois homes.”

If passed, Illinois would be the first state in the country to take a stand against the inhuman breeding practices of puppy mills.

Get Involved!

Contact your Senator or State Representative and let them know how important the passing of this law will be to animals and our community.

Ira I. Silverstein - D
James F. Clayborne, Jr. - D
John J. Cullerton - D
Mattie Hunter - D
Kimberly A. Lightford - D
Terry Link - D
Antonio Muñoz - D
Heather A. Steans - D
Donne E. Trotter – D
Christine Radogno - R
Matt Murphy - R
David S. Luechtefeld - R
Dale A. Righter - R
Dave Syverson -R

Read more at Chicago Now or view the CBS coverage.


UPDATE – April 11, 2014

Following in the history-making steps of Chicago, The Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the Cook County Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance. The ordinance will outlaw the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits sourced from inhumane breeders or “puppy mills” that prioritize profits over the well-being of animals, where the vast majority of pets sold in stores originate.

Once the law goes into effect in October 2014, pet stores will be allowed to sell or adopt pets from licensed shelters and small-operation breeders with five or fewer female dogs. Further, stores that violate the ordinance will face a $500 penalty for each animal sold.

Concerned about the inhumane conditions at large breeding operations, Commissioner John Fritchy, who sponsored the groundbreaking legislation, said, “If I cannot regulate them directly because they are out of state, we’re going to try to cut off the demand for those dogs and cats here and, at the same time, reduce the number euthanized in shelters.”

Read more in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.


UPDATE– March 5, 2014

The Chicago City Council passed landmark legislation today that will make it illegal for puppy mills and puppy mill operators to do business with pet stores within city limits. The Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance passed 49-1 and will prohibit pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs, cats and rabbits from inhumane, for-profit breeders.

“This is a groundbreaking day for the City of Chicago,” says PAWS Chicago founder, Paula Fasseas. “Thousands of mill pets are brought into Illinois each year, while thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized, simply because they are homeless. The way these mill animals have been treated is unconscionable.”

With the passage of this ordinance, Chicago joins 45 other cities across the United States and Canada who have taken a stand against the sourcing and sale of animals from mills who are raised in inhumane conditions and are often wrought with disease, congenital issues and poor socialization.

PAWS Chicago would like to thank City Clerk Susana Mendoza, for introducing this important ordinance, those who testified in its favor as well as the aldermen who passed it.

The new law will go into effect on March 6, 2015.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.


UPDATE – March 4, 2014

The Chicago City Counsel License Committee recommended the passage of the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance which would limit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from pet stores to animals sourced only from shelters and other humane adoption centers. Read more about today’s vote in the Chicago Tribune.

The final vote will take place at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5 at City Hall and is open to the public.


The Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance

The Chicago City Council will soon vote on a measure that would prohibit pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs and other animals sourced from for-profit breeders.

It’s called the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance and was introduced on February 5 by Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza.  Aimed specifically at curbing the millions of puppies raised in the neglectful, inhumane and unsanitary conditions of puppy mills, the proposed legislation would limit the retail sale of these animals by allowing pet stores to only sell animals sourced from shelters and humane adoption centers, such as PAWS Chicago.  It is estimated that 99 percent of animals in pet stores come from puppy mills that aim to maximize profit in any way possible.

If passed, Chicago would join 45 other cities in the US and Canada in protecting their animals and consumers.

What Can You Do?

PAWS Chicago is urging our community to support of this legislation by signing a petition being circulated by City Clerk Mendoza.

Take action today and help save a life. Sign the petition here and call your local Alderman.

Read more about PAWS Chicago and its stance on puppy mills and this proposed ordinance in the Chicago Sun-Times

More about the Ordinance and Puppy Mills

It is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2,400,000 puppies a year in the United States, according to the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance, and that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills.

Animals raised in puppy mills are held in neglectful, inhumane and unsanitary conditions without proper food, water, shelter or veterinary care. Once an animal in a puppy mill is no longer considered profitable, they are often euthanized.  According to Mendoza, banning the sale of puppy mill dogs not only promotes the welfare of animals but protects consumers and would potentially save City tax dollars by increasing animal adoptions and decreasing costs associated with euthanizations.

“We pay dearly for failing to curb the sale of puppy mill animals. This legislation is going to save the lives of dogs and spare pet owners the heartache and cost of bringing a sick animal into their home. Also, I’m happy to say that this addresses a big challenge the City faces in terms of finding resources to care for strays and abandoned animals,” says Mendoza.

For more information, please visit the Office of the City Clerk’s website.

If you live in Chicago please call your Aldermen and say thank you for supporting the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance. Below is a listing of all the Aldermen by ward who are currently supporting the ordinance.

1 Proco Joe Moreno 773.278.0101

2 Robert Fioretti 312.263.9273

3 Pat Dowell 773.373.9273

4 Will Burns 773.536.8103

5 Leslie Hairston 773.324.5555

6 Roderick Sawyer Brown 773.635.0006

7 Natashia Mike Holmes 73.731.7777

8 Michelle A. Harris 773.874.3300

9 Anthony Beale 773.785.1100

11 James Balcer 773.254.6677

12 George Cardenas 773.523.8250

13 Marty Quinn 773-581-8000

14 Edward M. Burke 773.471.1414

15 Toni Foulkes 773.863.0220

16 Joann Thompson 773.434.3399

17 Latasha Thomas 773.723.0908

18 Lona Lane 773.471.1991

19 Matthew O’Shea 773.238.8766

20 Will Smithie Cochran 773.955.5610

21 Howard Brookins Jr. 773.881.9300
22 Ricardo Muñoz 773.762.1771

23 Michael Zalewski 773.582.4444

24 Michael Chandler 773-533-2400

25 Daniel Solis 773.523.4100

26 Roberto Apostol Guillermo Maldonado 773.395.0143

27 Walter Burnett, Jr. 312.432.1995

28 Jason Ervin 773.533.0900

29 Deborah L. Graham 773.261.4646

30 Ariel Reboyras 773.794.3095

31 Ray Suarez 773.486.6488

32 Scott Waguespack 773.248.1330

33 Deb Mell 773.478.8040

34 Carrie Austin 773.928.6961

35 Rey Colón 773.365.3535

36 Nicholas Sposato 773.836.0036

37 Emma Mitts 773.745.2894

38 Timothy Cullerton 773.545.3838

39 Margaret Laurino 773.736.5594

42 Brendan Reilly 312.642.4242

44 Thomas M. Tunney 773.525.6034

45 John Arena 773.286.4545

46 James Cappleman 773.878.4646

47 Ameya Pawar 773.868.4747

48 Harry Osterman 773.784.5277

49 Joe Moore 773.338.5796

50 Debra Silverstein 773.262.1050