By: Anna Junko, Editor for Student Literature and Art (firstname.lastname@example.org)
According to recent data, most cats and dogs purchased in the city of Chicago are likely sourced from puppy or kitten mills.
City officials and a growing group of Chicago aldermen are supporting the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance, which will limit the sale of dogs and cats from pet shops in the City of Chicago and encourage pet adoption. Pet stores would only be permitted to sell pets obtained from a shelter, pound, or rescue organization. Failure to comply with the ordinance would be punishable as a fine or misdemeanor.
The Humane Society estimates that 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2,400,000 puppies a year in the United States. Most of these pet store puppies and kittens come from mills. Pet stores in Chicago alone purchased approximately 1,500-2000 dogs from out-of-state breeders between 2011 and 2012.
Inhumane puppy mill conditions often lead to behavioral and health issues, and problems with the animal may not arise until months or years after purchase. Health or behavior complications can result in enormous financial burdens for consumers.
Advocates for the Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance hope to save the city tax dollars, decrease the euthanasia of unwanted animals, and reduce demand for puppy and kitten mill animals. More than 45 cities have already passed similar legislation.
The Chicago Animal Care and Control impounds approximately 20,000 animals each year, and spent $234,864-$303,188 euthanizing dogs and cats in 2011. 46 percent of total animals impounded in 2011 and 39 percent in 2012 were euthanized by the CACC. Advocates for the new city ordinance hope to drastically reduce the number of animals killed because they are not able to be adopted.
Cari Meyers of The Puppy Mill Project says, “This legislation is essential for the City of Chicago to protect our consumers who, for years, have not been told the truth about the origin or quality of the puppies sold in pet stores.”