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New Arlington Heights Ordinance Lists Requirements for Pet Shops Selling Dogs, Cats in Response to Puppy Mill Concerns

Wed April 06 2016 3:20 pm
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A new ordinance will require pet shop owners to outline information about the dogs and cats that they are selling. The ordinance was unanimously passed by the Arlington Heights Village Board at its meeting held on Monday, April 4, 2016. The new rules for pet shop owners are to ensure pets sold in the village come from safe breeders and that buyers have more information available to them.

The ordinance outlining new requirements for pet shop owners was created after the Village Board opted out of Cook County’s “puppy mill” ordinance in 2015. At that time, the Board decided to hold off adopting a specific ordinance regulating the sales of dogs and cats until pending litigation involving the validity of Cook County’s ordinance was resolved. The federal district court upheld the ordinance but the plaintiffs have appealed, and the case is ongoing.

The new ordinance requires pet stores to have readily available a significant amount of information about all of the dogs and cats they sell on site. The required information includes detailed information about the breeder.

A list of some of the items that must be displayed near the cage of each dog or cat being sold includes:

• Name and location of the breeder.

• Whether the breeder is licensed U.S. Department of Agriculture.

• Medical and inoculation information for the animals.

• A link to the USDA website so buyers can conduct their own due diligence.

• Whether the breeder is a “hobby breeder,” meaning the breeder has fewer than five female dogs or cats.

• The breeder’s average animal population for the previous six months.

• Reports of whether the breeder has received any violations in the past quarter.

Pet shop operators who do not comply with the Code provisions could be given a citation, fined up to $750 and also have their business license revoked or suspended.

The Village Board thanked several students at Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights who worked on a statewide puppy mill ban a few years ago and worked with village staff members to help pass the new ordinance. Three fifth-grader animal rights activists from Patton Elementary School, Claire Hackmann, Brooke Martin and Maddie O’Dell attended Monday’s village board meeting, and spoke at the podium for the advocacy of safety, health and welfare of animals. The students wore identical pink T-shirts bearing the message “Adopt Don’t Shop!”

In worse case scenarios, investigation of puppy mills have discovered puppies bred with health and/or social problems. Some puppies were discovered to be sharing cramped living spaces with many other dogs, which can caused the pets to become poorly socialized to other dogs and to humans. Some dogs were raised in chicken coops, rabbit hutches or cages with wire flooring.

Some female dogs spent their entire lives breeding, and were euthanized when they were no longer capable of conceiving.

Investigations have shown that some breeders have made false claims representing themselves as authentic breeders and sold puppies that were labeled purebreds that weren’t actually purebred.

Dogs in “puppy mills” were discovered to have been transported over long distances in poor conditions, sometimes resulting in animal stress and death. As the surviving mill dogs grow older, they are more prone to developing respiratory ailments and pneumonia, as well as hereditary defects such as hip dysplasia

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