TRUTH About Dogs/Cats Sold at Pet Stores (Despite What One Website Suggests)


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In a desperate attempt to convince Illinois residents to stop the momentum which would ban sales of dogs and cats at pet statewide, a website called Humane Puppy Alliance was launched.

Not only is there a state-wide effort to ban the sales of dos/cats at pet stores, Aurora, IL is seeking to do the same. In Chicago, the ban already exists but isn’t enforced. That’s due, in part, to an oversight in the ordinance wording which allows pet stores to get puppies from the same puppy mills they always have, who now have filled out paperwork to call themselves non-profit rescues (which they decidedly are not). The correction of this ordinance, known as a replacement ordinance, should be routine but hasn’t been due to intensive efforts to continue to allow pet stores in Chicago that sell dogs/cats to evade the clear intent of the law.

Like the pet stores themselves, there’s no transparency on the Humane Puppy Alliance website. There’s no explanation of how this site popped up and who’s behind it.

The site says they agree with the mission to eliminate puppy mills and stop dog abuse.

IN TRUTH: The site doesn’t say that NO responsible breeder EVER sells to a pet store.

IN TRUTH: Pet stores get their dogs from one of two sources, puppy mills or large-scale commercial facilities (which they insist are clean, and care for dogs properly – maybe, but with zero transparency there’s no way to know this).

The site indicates how laws seeking to ban sales of dogs/cats at pet stores seek to shut down local family businesses.

IN TRUTH: Happiness is Pets, and Petland are national with many stores, hardly family businesses. The number of family run pet stores that sell dogs and cats is miniscule. No matter, if you are selling animals from inhumane sources should you still be allowed to do that? No one wants to see any business shut down, but the vast majority of pet stores have nothing to do with selling dogs or cats and survive or even thrive.

IN TRUTH: The site says nothing (that I found) about Illinois consumer protection Illinois House Bill 572 which would put an end to this practice: Dogs from these pet stores usually cost at least $2,000 and typically more than that. Most people don’t have the funds to instantly pay, so the stores offer an installment plans with an interest rate around 100 percent or more. The also may offer a not so consumer-friendly health package. So, a couple of years later, that $2,000 dog is now $15,000. On WGN Radio, Illinois State Representative Andrew Chesney told me that he’s a Republican and all about consumer choice, but people do need some commonsense protections, and not to be preyed upon.

The Humane Puppy Alliance Site website states, the real solution to puppy mills is “though, enforceable standards on breeders” and continues to say puppy mills should be shut down, encouraging exacting common sense laws to put bad actors out of business. Of course, I agree and so does most of America.

IN TRUTH: Because puppy mills treat dogs inhumanely in absolutely inhumane conditions, they should not be operating in the first place. However, puppy mills are currently thriving. Laws to close them down aren’t enforced. And often these places manage to operate in secrecy. Sometimes these awful places actually pass United States or state Department of Agriculture inspections, and due to staffing issues aren’t even inspected nearly as often as they should be – then when raided by law enforcement wearing gas masks because the ammonia smell from urine is so bad leaving people to ask how they ever passed inspections.

IN TRUTH: Today nearly 400 cities, many counties and three states (with more to come) have banned the sales of dogs, cats at retail pet stores. Truth is, these limits on pet store sales don’t stop puppy mills fully, as the mills also sell online. But these laws do at least block some of that puppy mill pipeline.

Says on the site, don’t let those with an extreme agenda stop pet stores from selling dogs and cats, and work together instead to stop the bad players.

IN TRUTH: Not sure about extreme agenda. The notion of stopping pet store sales of dogs and cats began among pet owners and grass roots organizations with no money like the Puppy Mill Project. Since then, yes, the Humane Society of the United States and Best Friends Animal Society have brought in their resources to help. Most Americas, detest puppy mills, period.

For years, I’ve been saying we need to all come together to solve the complex problem of sourcing dogs (and cats). And it is complex, more so frankly than most pet parents may fully understand, as there is an impending shortage of dogs and even one day cats. However, to my knowledge, the only meetings about this have been one sided with old white guys who one way or another represent the status quo. I know I haven’t been invited to any meeting on this topic which includes all sides. I am fully supportive of a task force representing all sides of the issues, which ultimately must include participation from members of the U.S. Congress to deal with puppy mills, USDA inspections and online sales. Meanwhile, we must do what we can do to impact puppy mills and enhance public awareness about the truth, not what one-sided websites suggest.

It’s interesting to me that the American Kennel Club rallies very strongly against laws to limit pet store sales, yet their own book and website essentially advises against ever purchasing from places where you can’t personally meet the breeder.

The site notes, Chicago City Council is considering a measure (Ordinance 2020‐2827) that would prohibit the retail sale of pets and remove the licensing exemption for breeders with five or fewer female dogs or cats capable of reproduction.

IN TRUTH: The ordinance is about rewording a current ordinance which was passed several years back overwhelmingly. Rewording because currently the few pet stores in Chicago to sell dogs or cats say they are “rescuing dogs,” when in actuality they are purchasing from so-called non-profits who are really the same out of state puppy mill sources who now merely call themselves “rescues.” So, these pet store have been evading the spirit of the law, and animal control has issued several citations. None of those facts are seen on the website.

The site notes: “Allowing pet stores to source dogs from shelters and rescues, means pet stores would no longer be required to provide health and other important information about a specific animal, which means a customer would no longer be told in advance about a dog’s background, source, or any behavior or health issues – or even the dog’s approximate age.”

IN TRUTH: Ask a pet store where that puppy in the window is from, and you if you can visit that facility. Ha! You’ll be laughed at. Ask about paperwork to determine proof of lineage, and genetic health (such as from the Orthopedic Foundation of America regarding genetic hip dysplasia or history of mitral valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels or any very small dog) and the pet store employees will have no clue what you are talking about.

Of course, shelters and rescues can’t always describe the history of those dogs (or cats) in their care but they are also saving lives. Is that a problem? Apparently, shelters are bad guys, inferred by this website.

Living in puppy mills or wherever those dogs are from, and then living at a pet store is actually a recipe for behavior problems, not to mention the poor physical health too many of the dogs and cats sold at pet stores suffer from,  which multiple studies have confirmed.

Illinois Rep. Andrew Chesney (89th District) is responsible for a bill in the House (HB1711) to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet retail stores. In Illinois, contact your state representative to show your support.