Cook County pet stores can ban the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits. The reason for this law – like others sweeping America – is a matter of where these animals are sourced, greatly from puppy mills and commercial facilities.
In this opinion signed by the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly (May 21, 2015), the essence is that government can regulate what is sold. Clearly, this judge understands these places which source the dog are concerned about profit over welfare (often that is an understatement).
Cari Meyers, founder and president of the non-profit The Puppy Mill Project responded, “This ruling is a game changer in so many ways. I have no doubt, other communities were waiting to see what would happen here (in Cook County), and now there will be a domino affect of similar legislation. This opinion is a a very positive move forward to end the the puppy mill industry, and most of all to speak for the animals who have no voice.”
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly on 5/21/2015: For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court grants defendants’ motion to dismiss [dkt. no. 25]. Although it is highly unlikely that plaintiffs can cure the complaint’s defects by amendment, the Court will give them a chance to try. Unless plaintiffs file a proposed amended complaint by no later than June 11, 2015 that states a viable federal claim, the Court will enter judgment in favor of defendants. The case is set for a status hearing on June 16, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.
Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey (12th district) was greatly responsible for supporting the County-wide legislation to limit pet store sales, though all Commissioners agreed (the first go-around) that the law is a good idea. First, the City of Chicago passed a similar ordinance, March 4, 2014. When some pet stores threatened to move to the suburbs. When Fritchey was made aware of pet stores that currently sell the hapless animals, Fritchey then told me, “I need to do something about this.” Indeed, he did just as he said he would.
When he heard about the court opinion Fritchey said, “BIG NEWS FOR ANIMAL LOVERS!! Today, Federal Judge, the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly, DISMISSED the complaint brought by the Missouri Pet Breeders Association and others, thereby UPHOLDING Cook County’s ban on the sale of puppy mill puppies!
“While the judge gave the plaintiff’s until June 11 to file an amended complaint, he stated that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that they could cure the defects in their complaint.
“This is a HUGE win for animal lovers and for those seeking to end the inhumane conditions under which so many animals are bred for profit. It is my hope and belief that the court’s ruling will provide incentive for other jurisdictions around the country to follow the lead of Cook County and the City of Chicago.
“My sincere thanks to the Assistant States Attorneys who handled the litigation, they did a great job. There are so many people who deserve credit for getting us to this point that I don’t want to name some of them at the risk of forgetting others. So thank you to everybody who made this happen!”
In this 31-page opinion (which I have read), the judge repeatedly suggests the complaint is “vague.”
The industry responsible for “factory produced dogs” and those responsible for selling the dogs are no doubt desperate, Meyers says.
That similar law passed by the City of Chicago – Chicago Companion Animal & Consumer Protection Ordinance., to limit pet store sales has been held up (for now) by the Federal lawsuit, also held up in court, and awaiting a ruling. No doubt this ruling regarding the nearly identical County version should have influence.
Also at least 60 cities have done the same, ranging from Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles to a mounting list of mid-sized and smaller towns. And like a runaway train, more cities are piling on. Obviously the public supports these laws, as do most public officials. It seems to be a no-brainer. By passing a law to ban dog and cat sales, Los Angeles became the first city/county to do so. Now, Cook County (which includes Chicago, but also a wide suburban area) becomes the first stand-alone county to do so.
Chicago veterinarians, Dr. Scott Rovner and Dr. Jane Lohmar (along with myself) recently founded a loosely-knit organization called Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills. The first effort is a Facebook fan page:. “Obviously, puppy mills are flat out wrong and something needs to be done on a larger scale,” Lohmar says.
“There’s no question, there’s a great deal of momentum,” Meyers says.