Will Mundelein ban the sale of dogs from puppy mills?
Moved by an activist's impassioned plea, Mundelein officials will investigate banning the sale of dogs from large-scale breeding operations ingloriously dubbed puppy mills.
If the village board takes action, it would join Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Waukegan and Chicago among the communities that have taken stands against puppy mills.
Mundelein trustees discussed the issue during Monday night's village board meeting. Although not on the agenda, the issue arose when Cari Meyers, president of a group called the National Puppy Mill Project, walked to the lectern during the public comment section and requested officials consider rules for pet sales.
Meyers said large-scale breeding facilities churn out inbred, often sickly animals and some that aren't cared for properly.
"(They) put profit over the health and welfare of dogs," Meyers said. "It's a cruel and very inhumane industry."
The Puppy Mill Project's goal, Meyers said, is to cut off the pipeline between large-scale breeders and consumers. That means targeting stores and the dealers that supply dogs from breeders, she said.
Mayor Steve Lentz said the issue has been percolating at village hall for a few weeks, prompted by an inquiry from Trustee Holly Kim.
At Monday's meeting, Kim said village board members typically don't have a say on social issues. This is an exception, she said.
"This is one we can control in our town," Kim said.
When Lentz asked the trustees if they wanted Administrator John Lobaito's staff to research a potential ordinance, most quickly said yes.
But Lentz also urged caution, saying trustees should consider the town's pro-business attitude before adopting any regulations.
Trustee Kerston Russell agreed.
"We have to be careful when we draw lines in the sand on businesses," Russell said.
Trustee Dawn Abernathy suggested discussing the broader issue of what types of businesses officials want or don't want in town at a future strategic planning session.
Waukegan's ordinance says pet stores can sell only dogs and cats that come from government-run or nonprofit shelters or rescue organizations.
Chicago's 2014 ordinance forbids pet stores from obtaining dogs, cats or rabbits from for-profit breeders. Animals must come from shelters, humane adoption centers or small-scale breeders, according to the city's rules.
Similar rules adopted by the Cook County Board in 2014 for communities that don't have local rules are being challenged in court.
Regulations designed to limit puppy mill sales also have been enacted in Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego and other cities.