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posted: 4/3/2014 5:30 AM

Pet mill ban proposed for Cook County suburbs

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A proposed puppy mill ban announced by Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey on Wednesday would apply to at least 13 pet stores in the Chicago suburbs, including Arlington Heights and Hoffman Estates.

Under the Cook County Companion Animal & Consumer Protection ordinance, the retail sale of puppies and kittens in Cook County pet stores would be limited to animals from shelters and humane adoption centers, according to a release from Fritchey's office.

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A few weeks ago the Chicago City Council approved a similar measure banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in Chicago pet stores.

"This is about protecting animals from physical neglect as well as protecting potential pet owners from financial and emotional harm," Fritchey said in the statement.

According to a list put out by Fritchey's office, among the 13 pet stores affected by his ordinance are Happiness is Pets in Arlington Heights and Petland in Hoffman Estates. Managers from both stores declined to comment.

Other stores on the list are in Lincolnwood, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge, Brookfield, Lansing, Alsip, Palos Heights and Berwyn.

More stores could be affected as the ordinance would apply to any pet store in the Cook County suburbs.

Under the proposal, any pet store that continues to sell animals from commercial breeders would face a $500 fine for each sale in violation of the ordinance, Fritchey said.

"Puppy mill puppies and kittens are often sold with a number of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases that may not be detected or disclosed at the time of purchase," Fritchey said in the statement.

"As a result, potential buyers who fall in love with a puppy or kitten in the pet store may find themselves in for extensive veterinarian bills and potential heartbreak."

Cari Meyers, founder of The Puppy Mill Project, said he also supported the proposed ordinance.

"This ordinance strengthens our recently passed city ordinance and will prohibit the city of Chicago pet stores from relocating to the suburbs rather than comply with the new law," she said.

Similar legislation already exists in more than 40 cities in the United States and Canada, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Albuquerque, Austin and Toronto.

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