Finally Chicago Closing a Loophole so No Dogs, Cats or Rabbits are Sold at Pet Stores; Also Enriching Cat Lives


Because of puppy mills, over 355 cities and many counties have now banned the sales of dogs and cats (and also rabbits in some cities) at pet stores. Cari Meyers, founder of the Puppy Mill Project and Illinois Director of the Humane Society of the United States Marc Ayers join me HERE on my Steve Dale’s Pet World show on WGN Radio to discuss Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins’ (2nd ward) proposal to finally close the loophole on a bill originally passed a few years ago. Meyers and Ayers explain how three pet stores have managed to circumvent the law, and defraud consumers in the process. And Hopkins’ goal is to finally put an end to this.

Meyers recalls how then Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza worked with her to create a humane ordinance to ban pet store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits – since they are all sourced from large commercial facilities.

No responsible breeder ever, ever, EVER sells to a pet store. EVER!!!!!

So, therefore the animals are sourced typically from very inhumane facilities, typically what we call puppy mills.

With Cari Meyers and Susan Mendoza

Meyers notes that even IF the animal purchased at a pet store doesn’t have medical or behavioral problem (as they often do), how about the mother’s left behind? These mothers live solely as puppies machines,  pumping out puppies, and live in horrible conditions (so horrible we only touch on describing what it’s like on the radio), and live their entire lives with minimal human contact and zero veterinary care.

Speaking of veterinarians, when the Chicago ordinance was first conceived the local veterinary medical association opposed the ban on these pet store sales. Many veterinary professionals were SO upset by their association’s outdated perspective, Dr. Jane Lohmar and Dr. Scott Rovner began Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills. And the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America signed on. Even if untrue in Chicago, other veterinarians in other communities are now leading the way, and not only supporting similar ordinances to limit pet store sales but are the primary voice to create them; the entire state of New Jersey and Olympia, WA are only two examples.

These dogs could only have been sourced from one place

Some say, well these places are all inspected by the State or U.S. Departments of Agriculture and they’re fine. Ayers explains the truth about all of that, and how departments of agriculture really do fail. For starters, their standards are not contemporary humane standards and antiquated standards. And they’re not inspected often enough, when there is a citation there may not be follow up. Some busts of mills have been on facilities that have passed inspection – yet authorities need to enter with gas masks.

I’m unsure how you can hear this conversation with Ayers and Meyers and not be supportive of stopping sales at pet stores of dogs, cats and rabbits.

What’s more, in Chicago, Ayers and Meyers explain how three pet stores have laughed at the ordinance which the public wanted as well as nearly all the aldermen to stop sales of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores. It’s a way to workaround the intent of the ordinance. Ayers and Meyers have called this defrauding the public, and so did Hopkins when he was on my WGN Radio show a few weeks back.

Please listen to this interview and tell me how you can possibly support dogs, cats and rabbits sold at pet stores.

Telling your alderman how you feel about this issue is key. And you can easily send an email to your Alderman, and finding that email address right here. 

Decoding Your Cat

Chicago veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kelly Ballantyne, a contributing writer of Decoding Your Cat, co-authored the chapter called “The Feline Dream Home.” We talk HERE on WGN radio about enriching cat’s home and why this shouldn’t be an option, but is truly necessary for all cat parents. We talk about how to give cats an opportunity to do what they were born to do, and that is to hunt for food – even if indoors only.  You can buy products, but also make your treat dispensing toys, like out of an empty egg carton. We even talk about training cats, and why you’d bother doing this in first place.