Buffalo Grove bans retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits

Updated 6/18/2019 10:40 AM

Buffalo Grove village board members voted unanimously Monday to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores.

The lion's share of the discussion focused on the plight of rabbits.


Trustee Joanne Johnson said research has shown that pet stores sell mass-bred rabbits that are raised outdoors in small, dirty cages without proper nutrition or access to veterinary care.

Baby rabbits, she said, are weaned early at three to four weeks of age, with underdeveloped immune systems that make them prone to illness.

She said, "In pet stores, baby rabbits are marketed as cute, low maintenance children's pets. Purchases are often made on impulse, and the owners are ill-equipped to care for rabbits' complex needs over a six-to-12-year life span.

"When rabbits at adolescence can display hormonal behaviors, many unprepared owners abandon rabbits to overburdened shelters or into the wild to fend for themselves, a certain death sentence."

She said other communities recently passing similar ordinances, including Warrenville, Downers Grove and Vernon Hills, have included rabbits.

The board heard testimony regarding the rabbits from Naperville resident Lorianne Kloss, who works with Chicago-based Red Door Animal Shelter. She said the conditions of the rabbit mills are identical with those of puppy mills.

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Pet stores do not educate owners on the need to have rabbits spayed and neutered, she added.

"When someone impulse purchases a baby rabbit, and that rabbit gets to be a teenager, if it is not spayed or neutered, that is when the destructive behavior and possible aggression starts. That's one of the main reasons that so many are being abandoned."

She said rabbits are being dumped outside at an alarming rate.

From Easter 2018 to Easter 2019, she said she has helped catch more than 165 pet rabbits abandoned outside in the Chicago area.

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