Monday, August 10, 2015

Victory! Court Upholds Puppy Mill Ban in Illinois County by Alicia Graef

Victory! Court Upholds Puppy Mill Ban in Illinois County

Read more: advocates are celebrating a win for companion animals with a federal ruling that upholds an ordinance in Cook County, Ill., banning the sale of dogs and cats from mills in pet stores.
Last spring, lawmakers passed the Cook County Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance in an effort to protect both companion animals and consumers from unscrupulous commercial breeders who supply pet stores.
Under the ordinance, pet stores in Cook County would only be allowed to sell dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters, rescues and humane societies, with exceptions for licensed breeders who have no more than five or fewer female dogs. Animal advocates hoped the ordinance would both cut off bad breeders and increase pet adoptions.
According to Commissioner John Fritchey, who proposed the ordinance, more than 20,000 dogs and cats were impounded in Cook County in 2012 alone, while more than one-third of them were killed because they weren’t adopted.
Unsurprisingly, the ordinance, which was supposed to go into effect on October 1, was challenged in court by those who stood to lose money on the law, including three pet store owners and the Missouri Pet Breeders Association.
According to the Chicago Tribune, they claimed the new 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.’”
While the case delayed the start of the new law, the court disagreed on all counts and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the county’s motion to dismiss the case.
They’ll get a chance to try again, but Judge Matthew Kennelly said it would be “highly unlikely” they would be able to fix the problems with their complaint.
Now, animal advocates are celebrating an early victory for companion animals. Commissioner Fritchey wrote on Facebook:
“This is a HUGE win for animal lovers and for those seeking to end the inhumane conditions under which so many animals are bred for profit. It is my hope and belief that the court’s ruling will provide incentive for other jurisdictions around the country to follow the lead of Cook County and the City of Chicago.”
As awareness continues to grow about the problems that come with large-scale commercial breeders and buying companion animals from pet stores, more areas are working to enact these common-sense laws that will cut off outlets for bad breeders to sell animals and stop people from unwittingly supporting them.
This ruling also follows on the heels of another in Rhode Island last month that supports our right to oppose industries that harm animals. Hopefully, more areas will continue to win against those making a profit by hurting animals.
For more info on how to help puppy mill dogs in Illinois, check out the Chicago-based Puppy Mill Project.

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