Bloomingdale awards permit to Petco adoption center
A no-kill pet adoption center cited for operating without a special use permit in Bloomingdale now has the village's official stamp of approval.
People and Animals in Community Together -- or PACT Humane Society -- opened last fall inside the Petco store at 412 W. Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale. But after village officials read a February story in the Daily Herald calling for volunteers, the center was cited for operating without a special use permit.
This month, however, village officials concluded several meetings with Petco attorneys and unanimously approved a permit for the store to operate an adoption center on its premises.
Janice Hernon, Bloomingdale planning and development coordinator, said the permit process took several months because officials wanted to ensure any shelter that might operate out of Petco complied with its business district zoning ordinance.
Some exceptions were necessary, however, such as creating an area to walk dogs -- a practice normally forbidden in a business area, Hernon said.
Officials are also working out final details on whether PACT must undergo an annual inspection or obtain its own business license, but currently the organization is allowed to rotate about 75 volunteers to care for about 20 cats at 10 dogs at the site.
Hernon also said Bloomingdale leaders wanted to agree with Petco and PACT on standards of care for the animals, in order to avoid the possibility of another controversy like the former Pet Rescue animal shelter.
"We borrowed standards from the Department of Agriculture, so we were using something everyone thought was quantifiable and easy to understand," said Hernon.
Bloomingdale was involved in a years-long conflict with Pet Rescue, a no-kill shelter that had a special use permit but ultimately was stripped of its license.
After dealing with such controversy, PACT President Cherie Travis said in March she understood why Bloomingdale was stringent in enforcing its ordinances. But she argued fervently there is "absolutely no comparison between PACT and Pet Rescue."
Petco spokeswoman Lisa Epstein added that attorneys and village officials were careful to distinguish that PACT will act as an adoption center, not a shelter.
"We are thrilled for the approval because this is great for the animals and great for the community," Epstein said.