Two options on table for pet sale regulations in Naperville
Proposals to ban the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders, or to more closely regulate them, are coming before the Naperville City Council on Tuesday after surfacing several times during the past five years.
That's too long for the issue to remain unresolved, several council members say.
The council during Tuesday's meeting will hold a first reading of proposed ordinances but is not expected to take final action.
The ordinances set to be considered offer two options to further regulate pet sales. One would ban the sales of dogs and cats from commercial breeders; the other would require stores to sell dogs and cats from breeders that comply with 10 care standards set forth by the Humane Society of the United States.
Council members Patrick Kelly and Theresa Sullivan said they support the first option and want the city to ban pet sales from commercial breeders, many of which animal advocates refer to as "puppy mills."
"The goal of this is to protect animals," Sullivan said during a council meeting last month, "and to have Naperville put our values there so that commercial breeding and selling these dogs and financing these dogs -- that this whole chain is put to an end in Naperville, because that's what we value."
Mayor Steve Chirico last month brought up the second option -- the idea of using the Humane Society of the United States' animal care standards as what he called a "sweet spot" to improve the care of animals sold in pet stores. This rule would "require pet stores in Naperville to source only from commercial breeders who are compliant with the standards," according to a memo from Kristen Foley, senior assistant city attorney.
"This would be another layer of protection for animals, but it would still allow the sale of commercially bred dogs, which a lot of people in Naperville want," Chirico said.
The care standards include regulations about the size, stacking, flooring and temperature of animal cages at breeder facilities and the treatment of retired dogs. Several canine health and welfare measures also would be regulated, such as access to exercise areas, socialization, preventive care, grooming and potable water.
The Humane Society has proposed the standards to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of inspecting breeding facilities. But they have not been codified, and Foley's memo said there is "no information on when or if the USDA will consider or possibly adopt these standards."
Council members also could debate whether it is their responsibility to regulate the pet industry.
Council member Kevin Coyne during a meeting last month questioned why legislation previously introduced at the state level to prohibit sales of certain animals from commercial breeders was never reintroduced or enacted. He called the topic "a very explosive subject" and asked city staff members to check in with state legislators who represent any part of Naperville to ask whether they plan to act on such a bill.
"One of the concerns from the onset is are we and other communities that have been dealing with this on a city-by-city basis taking on what is effectively a legislative matter that our capital is failing to address?" Coyne said.