Arlington Heights sets new regulations aimed at puppy mills
With a little help from three young residents, Arlington Heights officials on Monday approved new rules for pet shop owners aimed at making sure animals sold in the village come from safe breeders and that buyers have more information available to them.
The new ordinance, approved unanimously by the board, comes nine months after the village opted out of the Cook County ordinance banning the sale of dogs from so-called puppy mills so it could come up with its own regulations. A court case against the county ordinance is continuing.
"It's been the goal of this board to try to come up with a compromise where we can ensure the safety of these animals and at the same time watch out for the concerns of legitimate and viable businesses in Arlington Heights," said Village President Tom Hayes.
Under the new ordinance, pet shop operators are required to post a disclosure statement on or near the cage of each dog or cat that details a host of information including:
• The date and description of any inoculation or medical treatment the animal has received.
• The breeder's business name(s) and location.
• Whether the breeder is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
• A link to the USDA website so buyers can conduct their own due diligence.
• Whether the breeder is a "hobby breeder," meaning the breeder has fewer than five female dogs or cats.
• The breeder's average animal population for the previous six months.
Arlington Heights has only one business that will fall under the new ordinance: Happiness Is Pets at 15 W. Golf Road. Owner Ron Berning says he had no problem with the new ordinance and already complies with more than half of what it outlines.
"We've got nothing to hide," he said.
Noncompliance with the provisions can lead to a citation, fees up to $750 and/or suspension or revocation of the business license.
Maddie O'Dell, 11, and Brooke Martin and Claire Hackman, both 10, are students at Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights who worked on a statewide puppy mill ban a few years ago and worked with village staff members to help pass the new ordinance.
The girls spoke at Monday's meeting wearing shirts that said "adopt don't shop."
"We like that the law requires pet stores to post an easily found disclosure statement," Claire said.
Hayes commended the girls on their civic involvement.
"You have contributed in making law here in the village of Arlington Heights," he said. "The board, and the village, is better for it."
Puppy: Pet shop owner says he already complies with more than half of new rules