Friday, June 12, 2015

The Puppy Mill Project Reports ......

Retail Pet Sale Ordinance Update 
There is a lot at stake and there have been many developments in the world of retail pet sale ordinances lately. The Puppy Mill Project has been behind the two major efforts to end the sale of puppy mill dogs in the Chicago area, working with City Clerk Susana Mendoza and Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey on the Chicago and Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection ordinances. We know how important these ordinances are, and the work and strategy involved in getting them passed. 
Cook County Ordinance is Upheld

On May 21, 2015, federal judge Matthew F. Kennelly upheld the Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance against a challenge from two area pet stores, Happiness is Pets and Petland, and the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. The Judge granted the County's motion to dismiss on all claims. The plaintiffs have until June 11 to amend their complaint, though the Judge stated that it was "highly unlikely" that they would be able to cure the defects in their complaint. 

In the meantime, the litigation on the Chicago Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance is still pending. The city of Chicago has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by Pocket Puppies, Park Pet Shop, and a Missouri breeder. The Puppy Mill Project has filed a joint Amicus "friend of the court" brief with The Humane Society of the United States to support the City's motion to dismiss.

We focus on ordinances that ban the retail sale of dogs and cats, like Cook County and Chicago, instead of more conciliatory measures, such as ordinances that simply require additional disclosures. We believe that these ordinances are difficult to enforce, and have little to no impact on a pet store's inhumane business practices.

Read the State's Attorney's press release here and Judge Kennelly's opinion here
Rhode Island Court Sets a Strong Precedent 

In March, the District Court of Rhode Island became the first of the federal courts considering challenges to retail pet sale bans to issue a decision. In a lengthy opinion on summary judgment, the Court upheld the city of East Providence's retail pet sale ordinance, which prohibits the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. It is very similar to the one at issue in Chicago, and the constitutional claims are nearly identical. While the federal district court in Chicago is not required to follow this decision, it should be very persuasive and is an encouraging sign. 

There are still four cases pending challenging retail pet sale ordinances, including three federal cases in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Sunrise, Florida, as well as a state court case in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 
Ordinance Efforts in Naperville and Joliet

The Puppy Mill Project has been working closely with two local suburban groups in Naperville and Joliet to pass retail pet sale ordinances. 

The Puppy Mill Project continues to work with Naperville residents through Make Naperville Puppy Mill Outlet Free to get a retail pet sale ordinance before the Naperville council. Last fall, the Naperville City Council decided to table discussion of an ordinance until the litigation in Cook County and Chicago are resolved. The Puppy Mill Project and the Naperville group will continue to work with the Naperville council to keep them apprised of the litigation and move forward with an ordinance. 

In Joliet, we have been working with Safe Pets for Joliet since last September on the Joliet Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance that has been introduced and recently heard in city committee. The city of Joliet has drafted an ordinance that will prohibit the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from mills, and will instead require stores to operate humanely. The Legislative and Land Use Committee recently decided to table the ordinance until the litigation is resolved in Chicago. 

While such delays may be disappointing, these are still positive steps forward and these efforts are far from over. It's all about utilizing the best strategy to work with city councils to do what it takes to get the best ordinance passed. We will keep you updated as these situations develop.

TPMP members with City Clerk Mendoza and Alderman Proco Joe Moreno after the Chicago Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance passed committee.

As always, we are immensely grateful for the help of our supporters and proud of their efforts to come together to make positive change in these communities! Your calls, emails, and support make a difference!

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