Retail pet sale bans have gained significant momentum in the past few years as a highly effective way to fight the puppy mill industry, with more than 75 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada passing ordinances prohibiting the retail sale of commercially-bred dogs and cats (and rabbits in some cases). These ordinances typically require pet stores that wish to sell animals to source those animals from rescue organizations or shelters. Not surprisingly, the puppy mill industry is feeling the pressure from these regulations, and has brought challenges in federal court to fight them. To date, five federal lawsuits have been filed in East Providence, Rhode Island; Phoenix, Arizona; Sunrise, Florida; Cook County, Illinois; and Chicago, Illinois.
We are thrilled to see that the courts are confirming what we have believed all along – that pet store ordinances are a lawful use of a city’s power to promote animal welfare and protect its citizens by regulating the sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores. We are now 4 for 4 with four federal courts that have upheld retail pet sale ordinances against constitutional challenges:
East Providence, Rhode Island
Cook County, Illinois
Three months after the initial bust at Adrian’s Puppy Paradise, a notorious puppy mill in St. Anne, Illinois, in Kankakee County, charges have been filed against owner Louise Gutierrez after 81 dogs were rescued from her home.
Kankakee County State’s Attorney, Jamie Boyd, charged Gutierrez with 71 counts of failure to provide humane treatment and care of animals. This comes shortly after Kankakee County passed an ordinance creating more stringent standards for housing cats and dogs for breeding in response to the situation at Adrian’s Puppy Paradise. The County added 40 new requirements for breeders geared at keeping cats and dogs in more humane conditions. Read about coverage of the ordinance here.
In April, 2015, 81 dogs and two cats were seized from Adrian’s Puppy Paradise after over a year of investigation from The Puppy Mill Project and other animal rescue groups. Animal Rescue Corps, a national animal protection organization experienced with conducting puppy mill rescues, led and coordinated the response effort with assistance from Kankakee County Animal Control and The Puppy Mill Project. The dogs were evaluated, treated, and have been placed with rescue groups for adoption.
Adrian’s Puppy Paradise had been the subject of years of complaints to Kankakee County Animal Control. “We want the community to know we will not tolerate the inhumane care of animals,” said Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd in a press release issued by Kankakee County Animal Control. “This was an effort that was many years in the making and required teamwork from a number of different rescue groups and governmental entities, but we all found a way to get the best result for these dogs and free them from a life of horror – they’ll only know love from now on,” said Janie Jenkins of The Puppy Mill Project. For more coverage, click here.