Puppies will continue to be on the minds of the Naperville City Council and city staff members as they research whether the city should limit the sale of dogs from so-called puppy mills.
The council took no action toward creating any regulations Tuesday night and tabled further discussion to a meeting Oct. 7.
Council members did, however, listen to 21 speakers on the topic. Many of them were asking for Naperville to ban the sale of dogs from puppy mills, which they defined as large-scale commercial dog breeders that put profits ahead of the health of animals and fail to provide proper veterinary care.
"We are not crazy animal activists; we simply want Naperville to continue its fine reputation of excellence and local compassion without the blemish of the puppy mill business," Naperville resident Tracey Rees said.
Options the council could consider include creating local restrictions on dog sales, waiting to see if the state creates such a law or participating in a Pet Advocacy Task Force recently created by Gov. Pat Quinn. Even though the discussion will continue in a month, City Manager Doug Krieger said Naperville will participate in the state task force by recommending Senior Assistant City Attorney Kristen Foley to become a member of the group.
"Absent any additional direction not to do that from the council, that is our plan," Krieger said.
Council members Robert Fieseler and David Wentz frequently asked questions of the anti-puppy mills speakers, many of them focusing on how the city would enforce a restriction on the sources from which dogs can be sold.
"If we have an ordinance, we need to have enforcement and citation mechanisms," Fieseler said. "The principle of protecting against the mistreatment of puppies or dogs or animals in general, I concur with that."
Attorneys and representatives of animal activist groups, including the Puppy Mill Project and the Companion Animal Protection Society, offered to help Naperville leaders draft a local regulation that would prevent the sale of dogs from breeders who do not maintain specified health and sanitation standards.
"We would ask the council to consider a humane model ordinance to specify where dogs and cats can come from," said Sherri Oslick, a Naperville resident and attorney.
Owners of three Naperville pet stores -- two of which sell puppies -- joined the conversation as well.
Adam Stachowiak, owner of Petland in Naperville at 720 S. Route 59, said part of the problem is no one can agree on the definition of a "puppy mill."
"There's no need for consumers to be stripped of their choice of where they purchase a puppy, and there's no reason to close down businesses that employ members of the community," Stachowiak said.