Arlington Heights pet store exempt from puppy mill ban, for now
A pet store in Arlington Heights was granted a reprieve from the Cook County puppy mill ordinance for now, but trustees said they will be addressing the issue again soon.
On Monday the Arlington Heights village board agreed to opt out of a county ordinance approved last year that prevented pet stores from selling animals obtained from puppy mills. The ordinance had been pending a court challenge, but Village Manager Randy Recklaus said it looks like the courts are upholding the new rules.
One store in Arlington Heights -- Happiness Is Pets, 15 W. Golf Road -- would essentially have to close, so owners asked for a provision to opt out of the ordinance.
After discussion from the board about what a puppy mill is and testimony from animal rights groups and some of the village's youngest advocates, the board unanimously agreed to opt out with the provision to come back with its own regulations for pet stores within 60 days.
"This is a difficult, personal and complex issue for people on all sides," Recklaus said. "What this does is allows the village and community to have a debate about how we want to handle this issue in Arlington Heights rather than rely on the Cook County ordinance."
Three students from Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights addressed the board with their concerns about pets from puppy mills and their hopes that the village would make a change.
Maddie O'Dell, Brooke Martin and Claire Hackmann are the young trio who lobbied state legislators in 2014 to create a stronger state law to punish puppy mill owners and were on hand when Gov. Pat Quinn signed it into law.
"If the law is enforced, places who buy from puppy mills will go out of business, then puppy mills will go out of business, and that will help the puppies," said Claire, 10.
Brooke, 9, reminded the board of an ordinance in Orland Park that requires pet stores to be more transparent about where their puppies come from as a possible compromise.
Mayor Tom Hayes said the board will address new rules for pet stores and look for a compromise between the business owner and animal activists. "We hear your concerns," he said.