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updated: 3/8/2011 7:00 AM

Bloomingdale tells PACT pet shelter inside Petco to close

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  • PACT Humane Society must vacate its Bloomingdale Petco location by March 23 because the animal shelter does not have the required special use permit.

      PACT Humane Society must vacate its Bloomingdale Petco location by March 23 because the animal shelter does not have the required special use permit.
    Tanit jarusan | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Bloomingdale animal shelter housed inside Petco on Army Trail Road must close by March 23 because it is operating without a special use permit, village officials said.

PACT Humane Society -- People and Animals in Community Together -- is based in Downers Grove and already operates no-kill shelters for cats inside two PetSmart stores in Schaumburg and one in Darien.

The new Bloomingdale site opened in October and was PACT's first Petco location. It also was its first to offer shelter and adoption services for both dogs and cats.

Bloomingdale Village Administrator Martin Bourke said officials learned the shelter existed only after reading about it last month in a Daily Herald feature article.

Shortly after, the village issued Petco a violation notice for housing the shelter without a special use permit, and said PACT must vacate within 30 days.

Bourke said the shelter is considered an independent use from the store, which does have valid permits.

Officials from Petco said the shelter was opened with good intentions, making use of space that formerly housed a doggy day care. Several Petco stores throughout the country offer adoptions, a spokesman added, and the violation notice in Bloomingdale is "an anomaly of a circumstance."

"We have every intention to comply and go through the proper channels," said Dean Daubert, Petco district manager for Chicago. "We're just exploring the best way to approach this with PACT."

Petco and PACT may begin the permit process in Bloomingdale, but Bourke said it can be lengthy and likely wouldn't end before the March 23 deadline to vacate.

"Could it be done before they have to move? The odds are, no," he said. "Most likely they would have to ask for a special use permit from the building and zoning committee, and prove they were a compatible usage to the pet store. It's not clear that is compatible.

"There is also the building code restriction, such as there is not a wall separating the two uses. There is also a formal petition process and public hearing," he said.

No permit papers have yet been filed with Bloomingdale.

The Petco violation comes just after the village finally closed the book on a years-long conflict with Pet Rescue, a no-kill shelter that had a special use permit but ultimately was stripped of its license.

Pet Rescue operators Dale Armon and Penny Horak faced misdemeanor charges after they were accused of mistreating and overcrowding hundreds of animals. Horak pleaded guilty last April, and charges against Armon were dropped last month after Horak signed an affidavit saying Armon wasn't involved in day-to-day operations.

The setup at PACT includes 25 volunteers rotating in shifts to help care for about 20 cats and 10 dogs at the Bloomingdale site. Animals are rescued from other euthanizing agencies such as Cook County Animal Control. The group only adopts out and does not accept animals given up by owners.

PACT's website and Facebook page still are listing events and adoption opportunities at the Bloomingdale location. If the group does not vacate by the deadline, Bourke said it could lead to a court hearing where a judge may opt to set daily fines.

"PACT is anxious to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible in order to get back to our important mission of finding homes for homeless animals in the Bloomingdale area," shelter Executive Director Cherie Travis said.

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