Elk Grove Village has tightened rules in an existing animal breeding ordinance in an attempt to crack down on a local couple who village attorneys have taken to court for running an in-home dog breeding business.
Rules already restricted anyone breeding animals within village limits -- whether as a hobbyist or professional -- to not allow "any one animal to produce more than two litters in any one calendar year."
Contact information ( * required )
Now, anyone who lives in an area zoned residential will be limited to two animal litters per year per household -- no matter how many animals are in the house. The change was approved this week by the village board.
"We had an ordinance," said Mayor Craig Johnson, "but now there's teeth in the ordinance."
The village filed suit last year against Cindy and Kent Weik, who say they have bred and sold Shih Tzus as a hobby, not a business.
Village attorneys have argued the couple is in violation of a separate ordinance that prohibits business, commercial or industrial use or home occupation in a residential area.
A pretrial conference with a Cook County circuit court judge is scheduled for Oct. 4. It's expected that a jury will eventually hear the case.
In the meantime, village officials decided to implement new rules on the number of litters permitted per household. The rules officially take effect late next week, according to Village Attorney George Knickerbocker.
Cindy Weik said Thursday she was aware the latest changes were being discussed, and is "prepared to fight that if necessary."
"I know they give us the name 'breeder.' We're really not breeders. We don't sit there with a calendar," Weik said. "They're living in our house -- they're not spayed or neutered. What they do, they do. We're not a commercial thing. We don't sit there and calculate anything."
The Weiks own 12 dogs, including eight female and two male Shih Tzus that they have been breeding since 2009. They say they started breeding their own dogs after getting a puppy with health issues from a breeder.
Cindy Weik said sometimes her dogs will have three or four litters in a year, sometimes none.
The dispute between the Weiks and village goes back to February 2012, when a neighbor filed a complaint with the village about excessive barking in the Weiks' backyard in the early morning.
Cindy Weik said once village officials told her she couldn't sell puppies from her house, she stopped. Now she says she meets anyone who wants to buy a puppy at pet stores or her dogs' groomer.
If found in violation of village ordinances, the Weiks would be subject to a minimum fine of $25 and a maximum of $500 for each day a violation occurred.