A couple months ago Cook County residents celebrated the quick passing of an ordinance that banned the selling of commercially bred animals in pet stores. The ban, which was proposed by Commissioner John Fritchey and passed unanimously a mere week after it was brought to the table, is now in jeopardy thanks to two Commissioners who wish to amend the original ordinance.
Commissioners Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman and Joan Patricia Murphy have proposed an amendment the bill as well as introduced new legislation which would allow pet stores to purchase dogs from USDA commercial breeders (also known as puppy mills) as long as the mill has not had any direct violations in the past two years. The two Commissioners are likely aware that federal standards for puppy mills are notoriously weak, and just because a mill hasn’t had a direct violation doesn’t mean they are running cruelty-free operations––it simply means the government hasn’t made efforts to stop them.
“To go back on your vote and side with the puppy mill industry is a disservice, not only to the people of Cook County, but also to the animals who cannot stand up for themselves,” said City Clerk Susana Mendoza, who spearheaded the Chicago puppy mill ban which passed earlier this year and motivated the similar ban in Cook County.
Many animal welfare groups are speaking out against the proposed changes, including the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, The Puppy Mill Project, and the ASPCA. Notably, the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association came out against the initial ban and has lent support to the amendments.
What can you do to help? The best way to stop the amendments from passing is to let your Commissioner know how you feel. Here is a list of Cook County Commissioners; if you’re not sure what district you are in click here. Make your voice heard and don’t let two Commissioners (and the pet store lobby behind them) stand in the way of a cruelty-free Cook County.
Commissioner Earlean Collins
Commissioner Robert B. Steele
Commissioner Jerry Butler
Commissioner Stanley Moore
Commissioner Deborah Sims
Deborah.Sims@cookcountyil.gov Phone: 312.603.6381
|District #6 (Sponsor of Ordinance Amendment)
Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy
Commissioner Jesus G. Garcia
Commissioner Edwin Reyes
Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri,
|District #10 Commissioner Bridget Gainer
Commissioner John P. Daley
Commissioner John A. Fritchey
Commissioner Larry Suffredin
Commissioner Gregg Goslin
Commissioner Timothy 0. Schneider
Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski
|District #17 (Sponsor of Ordinance Amendment)
Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman
The ASPCA has a sample email you can copy and paste:
Please Oppose Amendment to Repeal Ban on Sale of Commercially Bred Pets in Cook County Pet Stores
As a concerned constituent, I am asking you to oppose the proposed amendment to the “Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act.” The amendment, which was crafted in conjunction with representatives from the pet shop and puppy mill industries, would allow pet stores to continue to sell pets from inhumane pet mills as long as those breeders have not committed any recent, direct violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
I was very grateful when you voted in support of the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act, which would prevent the intolerable cruelty rampant in puppy mills, give shelters and rescues a greater opportunity to find homes for their animals and prevent puppy mill dogs from being sold to unwitting consumers.
Adopting the proposed amendment would be a major step backward. Federal standards are incredibly weak and insufficiently enforced; as a result, an absence of recent violations is not an assurance that a commercial breeder is humane. In fact, the standards of care required by the Animal Welfare Act allow a dog in a breeding facility to be kept in a wire cage only six inches longer than the dog, 24 hours a day, for the dog’s entire life. Dogs in puppy mills are typically bred at every heat cycle with no rest between litters, and often do not receive adequate veterinary care, only to be killed once they can no longer produce puppies. This is far from humane, yet these breeders would still be able to supply Cook County pet stores with puppies should this amendment pass.
Cook County residents made it clear that we do not want our pet shops to support the cruel puppy mill industry. I hope you will oppose this effort to roll back the progress we have made.
Thank you for your time and consideration.