If you own a dog, where did it come from? A breeder? Shelter? Or a pet store?
If you answered yes to the latter, then you’re most likely supporting puppy mills, according to Jill Edelman, co-chair for the Puppy Mill Project.
What is the Village of Oswego going to do about it? That was the question at the Oswego Village Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday.
Presenters from the Puppy Mill Project are urging the village to pass an ordinance banning the resale of non-licensed and Unites States Department of Agriculture commercially bred puppies and kittens.
The Puppy Mill Project’s goal is to raise awareness about puppy mills and ultimately work with pet stores that already sell commercially bred puppies and have them adopt a humane business model.
“We have been very successful in this area,” said Edelman.
Edelman showed a Powerpoint presentation to village trustees of pictures of puppies in puppy mills crammed into small cages and described how they are forced to live outside no matter the weather.
“The USDA requires that they have water, it doesn’t have to be clean water. They’re required to have food, but it doesn’t have to be nutritional. It could be sawdust mixed with animal fat,” said Edelman.
All of this, she said, is legal.
Further, most people don’t know that they are purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill when they go to a pet store, said Edelman.
“They think they are getting puppies from respectable breeders. A respectable breeder would never sell to a pet store," she said.
Village President Brian LeClercq called the information was “a little disturbing” and asked, on a federal level, what exactly was being done to curb puppy mills.
Right now, Edelman said they first have to change the classification of puppies from livestock.
“There’s a lot of money being made on many levels. It’s a multi-billion dollar business we’re up against," she said.
The village recently approved a building permit for a pet store, Love Our Dogs, which would sell puppies.
Community Development Director Rod Zenner said that since they were issued their permit under the current ordinance that does not ban the retail sale of puppies or kittens they would be grandfathered in.
Local pet business owners also turned out to support the ordinance. Judy Haft from Central Bark in Oswego said many pet stories refuse to take a dog back after it's been purchased if there is a problem. However, 100 percent of the breeders she's known had accepted returned animals, she said.
“It’s a consumer issue. We need to ensure that the pet store will take the dog back and not put it in animal control on taxpayer dollars,” said Haft . “If that happens these stores will see the affect they have on the community.”
Edelman said the change to the ordinance was not meant to affect local, reputable breeders, but rather stop the sale of puppy mill puppies.
“Oswego has the chance to do the right thing," she said.
When or if the village board will consider an ordinance banning the resale of non-licensed and Unites States Department of Agriculture commercially bred puppies and kittens is unclear.