Naperville banning sales of dogs, cats from commercial breeders

  • The Naperville City Council has voted to ban the sale of cats and dogs from commercial breeders beginning next January. The new law will directly affect two stores in town: Happiness is Pets and Petland Naperville.

    The Naperville City Council has voted to ban the sale of cats and dogs from commercial breeders beginning next January. The new law will directly affect two stores in town: Happiness is Pets and Petland Naperville. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 2/5/2020 2:30 PM

Persistent animal advocates who have lobbied the Naperville City Council for the past five years finally got their way: The city will ban the sale of cats and dogs from commercial breeders.

An ordinance regulating animal sales is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. It will allow pet stores to sell only dogs and cats obtained from a "duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society or other nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide for and promote the welfare, protection and humane treatment of animals," or "an animal rescue organization."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Representatives of the two pet stores in the city, Happiness is Pets and Petland Naperville, opposed the commercial-breeder ban often referred to as a "humane ordinance," as did four city council members: Kevin Coyne, John Krummen, Benny White and Mayor Steve Chirico. But with five votes in favor, the rule passed and advocates in yellow "GO HUMANE" shirts briefly applauded and cheered.

"If you pass it tonight, the pet stores couldn't buy from the puppy mills anymore," humane ordinance supporter Kathi DeArmas said before the vote, "and we'd be that much closer to putting this very, very cruel, cruel industry out of business."

There was a push by the council members opposed to the ordinance to table it in hopes a Canine Care Certification program being developed by Purdue University could be studied and potentially implemented instead. But that effort failed, leading to a local law effective next year that Carl Swanson of Petland Naperville said "closes two more pet stores."

Detractors said the ban on the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders will do little to address issues with improper or unsanitary treatment of animals in breeder facilities and will not stop shoppers from finding puppies through other means.

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"People want choices and many want puppies whose histories are fully known to them," said Jonathan Berning of Happiness is Pets. "Many people will continue to seek out the dogs they want, rather than those that are available."

But those supporting the ban said adoption is the best way to find homes for animals.

"Under the existing situation, we're at least indirectly aiding and abetting harm toward animals," said Joe McElroy, a board member of the ADOPT Pet Shelter in Naperville and a former city council member. "You have a chance -- not nationwide or whatever, but in our little part of the world -- to do something about that."

Council member Theresa Sullivan said 99% of all speakers and people who emailed council members about animal sales supported the humane ordinance, so she had no reservations voting in favor of it. Council member Patty Gustin said she would have preferred a state law to create a level playing field, but she supported the citywide ban, which gives pet stores 11 months to adjust their business model of animal sourcing.

The ordinance sets a fine of $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second and $1,000 for the third, saying a separate offense is considered committed for each sale of a dog or cat from a disallowed source.

Kristen Foley, senior assistant city attorney, said the ordinance also includes language that prohibits nonprofits that are too closely affiliated with animal breeders or brokers from qualifying as allowable sources for dogs or cats.

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