Buffalo Grove weighs ban on 'puppy mill' pet sales
Although the village currently has no pet stores that sell animals, Buffalo Grove officials are poised adopt regulations that would ban the sale of dogs and kittens originating from so-called puppy mills.
Village trustees discussed the issue Monday after a presentation from resident Denice Bocek, a former plan commission member and advocate on the topic, and Marc Ayers, the Illinois state director for the Humane Society of the United States.
Bocek said puppy mills are defined as large-scale operations with anywhere from 10 to 1,000 breeding dogs, and where profit is placed above the animals' well-being. She said an estimated 2 million puppies from such operations are sold annually, both with and without U.S. Department of Agriculture licensing.
"Breeding female dogs are bred at every opportunity to maximize profits with no regard to genetic disorders," Bocek said. "Puppies are born into deplorable, unsanitary conditions and exposed to all types of illness and diseases."
There also can be behavioral issues since the puppies are sold to pet stores as young as eight weeks old, a critical period for their socialization, she added.
Ayers said nearly 270 cities, towns and villages across the country have passed puppy mill ordinances. Cook County enacted a ban in 2014, although it allowed municipalities to opt out. Among the towns that did so was Arlington Heights, which instead enacted measures intended to ensure animals sold in the village come from safe breeders and that buyers have more information available to them.
Bocek and Ayers said the measure shouldn't be seen as anti-business, and in fact it could benefit pet stores by pushing them to build relationships with rescue facilities.
Buffalo Grove trustees were receptive to the proposal Monday.
"I don't see any downside to us passing this," Trustee Joanne Johnson said. "Pet stores are not suffering by not selling puppies or kittens."
However, Trustee Jeffrey Berman warned that a ban could create a monopoly for certain breeders.
"They can charge whatever prices they want," Berman said. "I don't have a problem with regulating difficult situations that we are facing in the village. But we have no issue to address in the village, and I am somewhat troubled by overstepping in this context. But most of all, the language in the offered ordinance, to me, is hyperbolic. It's overstated. I would rather keep it simple, straightforward and not inflammatory when we draft this ordinance."