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Village of Oswego Narrowly Passes Pet Store Ordinance

Ordinance will enforce cleanliness of pet stores, but does not prevent the sale of dogs and cats.

The Village of Oswego narrowly passed a new ordinance that will enforce the cleanliness requirements of pet stores and make it more difficult for businesses moving into town to sell dogs.

The ordinance will require pet store owners to be licensed with the State of Illinois and to also comply with Illinois’ Humane Care for Animals Act. Requirements on cleanliness, food and cage sizes were also outlined. A full outline of the ordinance can be viewed here.

Members of the Puppy Mill Project and concerned residents had earlier come to the board asking for an ordinance that would have banned all puppy and kitten sales in the village that did not come from individual breeders or shelters.

While the ordinance does not outright ban the selling of puppies, it does require pet stores to sign a 12-month lease for the space. This will, according to the ordinance, prevent sellers from setting up "Halloween-type" shops for several months and then moving out. 

Some members of the Village Board expressed doubts as to why an ordinance was needed in the village at this time.

“I like the idea of taking care of the animals,” said trustee Tony Giles. “I just find it hard to pass an ordinance where there isn’t even an issue.”

He added that the village was better off educating residents about puppy mills than passing an ordinance he said over 85 percent of the population wouldn’t even know about.

“The public has the responsibility to do the research,” added trustee Terry Michels. “We can’t regulate all those folks. We have no control over where they choose to buy a puppy.”

Michels said the ordinance isn’t even addressing the issue, if puppy mills were the main concern.

“I don’t agree with puppy mills, but I don’t think the ordinance does anything for it,” he said.

“It really doesn’t make a statement for the village one way or the other that we’re trying to be animal activists,” said Trustee Gail Johnson. “I do think it’s important we do take a stance on cleanliness and treatment.”

Jill Edelman of the Puppy Mill Project said she was “thrilled” the village had chosen to pass the ordinance. While it isn’t entirely what she had hoped for, Edelman said the decision is “proactive rather than reactive” and it will make it harder for pet stores, which she and Puppy Mill Project advocates claim sell puppy mill puppies, to open in Oswego.

The only current pet store in Oswego that sells puppies is Love Our Dogs on Route 34, which opened earlier this year. 

Edelman said she really liked Giles’ suggestion of educating the public and his idea of doing so through the Oswego newsletter and hopes to go forward with that.

For next year, Edelman said her focus is working on transparency, requiring the entire truth of where each puppy comes from that is sold in pet stores.

The village board voted 4-3, with Village President Brian LeClercq casting the tie-breaking vote. Trustees Terry Michels, Judy Sollinger and Tony Giles voted against the ordinance. 

mike ellison November 30, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Wow, talk about using gov't to reduce your competition. I agree that pupply mills are bad and we got both our dogs at resuce places over the years. But making it more difficult for pet shops to sell dogs only forces the market into the hands of these rescue organizations. It would be one thing if the rescue organizations weren't charging hundreds of dollars for dogs. But it's pretty hypocritical when the rescue organizations themselves get their dogs from pupply mills, usually at no charge, then turn around and sell them for a profit. By the time you buy a dog from one of these groups then you easily could have spent $6-800. And if Jill is so concerned about the treatment of animals then how come there are no reviews on the Puppy Mill website about the rescue organizations themselves? Many are run by underfunded small businesses that are rarely inspected themselves. Nice business plan Jill Edelman.
Loreta J. November 30, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Rescues charge for the dogs to cover their operating expenses. Vet bills, boarding, feeding, blankets, cleaning supplies, neutering and spaying, etc... Stores selling dogs are for profit. Rescues are not.
Loreta J. November 30, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Here is a great link to a site about puppy mills. http://www.illinoissheltierescue.com/puppymillstory.html Talks about how rescues get puppies from these mills, and how these dogs are different than other dogs. The difference is when you buy a puppy mill dog from a store, the store makes money. When you adopt one of these dogs from a shelter, no one is making money off of it, only saving an animals life. I know of a shelter that would go to auctions to get these dogs out of the mills, then work on rehabilitating them to be able to go to their forever homes.
Brandy G. November 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Mr Ellison, I am sorry but you are completely misinformed. I run a rescue organization based out of Plainfield that rescues dogs from puppy mills as well as out of high kill shelters, & animal control facilities. While some of the dogs from puppy mills come to us at no charge, there are many that do try to milk their last dollar out of the dogs, I personally refuse to pay a puppy miller a cent because they will turn & use that money to torture another dog. But that being said, as my husband has often reminded me, there is no such thing as a free dog. ESPECIALLY ones that come from puppy mills. Immediately upon intake we take the dogs to the vet where they are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, given dentals, fecal & heartworm test & microchips, that is just the basic vetting & does not include major surgeries or hospitalization if the dog has other health issues. One the average rescue we are lucky to break even w/ the adoption fee, but more often than not we have much higher vet fees some in the thousands for one dog. None of that includes the cost of food, gas, toys, crates the list goes on. Sometimes we are lucky & these things are donated to us but often it comes out of our own pockets. I recall one year that I used my own tax refund to pay off a vet bill of $5000 because we had a litter of puppies w/ parvo. Im not sure where you got your numbers from but they are wrong. Our job is to save & make lives better for these dogs. That is the only business plan Mrs. Edelman has.
mike ellison November 30, 2012 at 11:29 PM
What exactly is wrong with a store making a profit selling animals? I'm certain that the rescue shelters are also making money in order to pay their employees who are also selling animals. The cost to get an animal from a shelter around our area is quite expensive and it's obvious that the cost exceeds the expenses. I went to the Puppy Mill site and it's obvious that the people behind the project have a lot of 'issues' that go beyond rescuring dogs. It's pretty much a site against capitalsim and one in which they make a lot of unsupported allegations against some various companies.
jill e December 01, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Hi Mike, I would love to have the opportunity to speak with you personally. I would hate for you to miss the point of this issue. My contact info is Jill@thepuppymillproject.org thanks so much!
jill e December 01, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Hi Mike, I would love the opportunity to be able to discuss this new ordinance with you and why it is important, I would not want you to miss the key points. Please feel free to contact me at jill@thepuppymillproject.org
Angela DeBolt December 01, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Thank you Loreta.
jill e December 01, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Mike take out the fact that the dogs sold in petstores bred purely for profit with no consideration for Heath or genetics. Now add into the equation the consumer fraud piece petstores lie to consumers by telling them they come from great breeders. More often than not these dogs come with numerous health and genetic issues costing the consumer not only heartache but financial hardships. Petstores make a profit off the back of these mother and father dogs at the puppy mills. If you think that all if this is ok then nothing that any of the other posters or myself can say that will make a difference to you.
jill e December 01, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Mike I think what you might be referring to as unsupported allegations must be where we list what petstores obtain the puppies from puppymills. For all the stores listed we have many years of not only health certificates for breeders but also USDA inspection reports for those breeders. Like I said I would be more than happy to sit down with you at any time and talk human being to human being about this topic. I would be happy to show you all the many boxes of these documents that will 100 percent prove to you the puppymill petstore connection. The documents I have you will never be shown if you go into a petstore it's their dirty little secret.
Jeri December 01, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Well lets see here, maybe we need to go to obamacare for free birth control ....i like dogs and some of their owners. I also like 1 pet food store in Plainfield that run their business as a class act...I think wags and whiskers is their name....why go to the government for a solution??? Its becoming unfashionable but not fast enough. Simply stop patronizing the mills and advertise the responsible.....
Oswegosmarts December 01, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Are these the issues our elected officials make as a priority. I get the concept but really aren't there more important things to deal with. Once again the clown show continues. How about we ban the sale of any cloths or shoes that are made oversea's in sweat shops, where people are being exploited. Children and old people. Or where the working conditions are not clean and safe. Giles was right what issue is there that time and effort to create and ordiance. Didn't I read where LeClerq said we are going through and cleaning up old ordinances(finally). Just put another one on the list.
Donna Louise December 02, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Shelters do NOT make a profit Mr Ellison. And there's nothing wrong with a REPUTABLE business making a profit but I worked for one of these pet stores and they never pay more than $100 for one of the puppy mill puppies and then charge and unsuspecting public thousands. They lie about the source of the puppies and the quality of the breeding which is CONSUMER FRAUD! AKC papers do not insure health or quality breeding only that the parents are purebreds. The puppies are interbred and often have numerous health issues that can incur large Vet bills. When faced with huge Vet bills some people dump the pet on our already overburdened Animal Control System. It costs taxpayers $2 billion a year to round up, house, kill and dispose of 4 million pets a year! So even if you don't care about the suffering of the mill dogs that have to live their entire life in a cage that has to be only 6" bigger than them, we all care about our tax dollars and we're sick of these ethically challenged pet profiteers getting rich off of us and the backs of the breeding dogs! Let them get real jobs like the rest of us that don't involve Consumer Fraud and animals abuse! These dogs in the mills are classified as livestock under the USDA who has loaned millions to this multibillion dollar industry. As far as making laws to make sure the public is informed if they buy a CAR there are laws to make sure they are told the truth. Pet stores lie about where the dogs come from and the quality of the breeding.
Donna Louise December 02, 2012 at 01:27 AM
To dismiss an important issue, by saying there are more important issues is a very immature, disrespectful tact. As far as what an ordinance like this will accomplish, It's called supply and demand. Puppy mills are legal and in remote areas so people can't see the filthy inhumane conditions that the dogs are kept in. If people knew, most would be very angry and they would not buy from pet stores that sell puppies or online where sometimes they don't ever even get the puppy and they are out thousands of dollars. There are laws to protect people when they buy a car and there should be laws to protect the consumer when spending thousands of dollars on a pet. This is not just about the animals. It's about the people who are lied to and ripped off financially and emotionally. My neighbors bought a pet store puppy and ended up paying thousands of dollars in Vet bills and the puppy died anyway leaving their kids heartbroken and confused about why it happened. People, children and animals are ALL being exploited in this nasty business. As for supporting Capitalism, I support people adopting or finding a private breeder through their local kennel club and getting a quality dog raised in sanitary conditions for less money than a pet store puppy. If for any reason you need to return the dog, a responsible breeder will always take it back thereby not inflicting the cost on the taxpayer. Most of us support this ordinance and feel that it is a step in the right direction.
Donna Louise December 02, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Stop Patronizing the Mills Jeri? The mills are in remote areas and don't allow the general public on their private premises because of the filth and inhumane conditions that the "livestock" dogs suffer. They spend their whole life in a cage with little or no Vet care. When they can no longer breed they are destroyed. There is no such thing as a responsible pet store that sells puppies. All pet stores that SELL puppies get the from puppy mills. Responsible breeders would NEVER sell to a pet store. What I have an issue with is that the Pet stores LIE about where they get the puppies and the quality of the breeding. When they look a consumer in the eye and lie, that's Consumer fraud. Consumer Fraud is against the law. Puppy mills are legal so we are faced with a dilemma. Supply and demand and education is the best way to address it for now and that's what people are trying to do.
Jeff Nicholson December 02, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I am a confirmed Capitalist, but if ever there was an industry that was in violation of our product liability and false advertising laws, it's the puppy mill/ pet store/Internet connection. The animals are classified as livestock under the USDA and inspected by APHIS. In May of 2010, the Inspector General issued a scathing report on APHIS's inability to enforce the already inadequate standards under the AWA. The report is 69 pages long but it only takes a few minutes to scroll down and see the horrendous conditions at these "inspected" and "approved" puppy mills. The best puppy mill is a concentration camp for the animals in them and the puppies they produce are suspect in every way. Because they can't speak or vote we shouldn't do anything? Enough already. My thanks to the Oswego Citizens and Board members who followed their conscience and stood up for those who have no voice. http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf
Donna Louise December 02, 2012 at 02:25 AM
I also have documentation including shipping documents proving breeders convicted of animal torture and that have been written up for horrendous violations, have shipped to local pet stores in our area. The word is getting out and people are learning the truth. Some the hard way after paying thousands for sick puppies or puppies with behavior problems. The difference between adopting a rescue for a few hundred to cover costs and paying thousands for an interbred puppy that supports animal abuse is HUGE. I'm not sure what part is so confusing to you.
Dolores Santucci December 02, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Getting a pet should be a commitment for the lifetime of that animal. Impulse buys are for doughnuts not puppies and people should educate themselves before deciding what and where to get their pet. An excellent site put together by Veterinarians and Animal Care professionals is: http://www.pupquest.org It addresses all the concerns raised in this article and resulting comments. As far as a ban or this ordinance is concerned, the only effective way we can improve things at the moment, is to impact supply and demand. Educating people is paramount and ordinances like this one is an effective way to get the word out and reduce sales which in turn will reduce the puppy mills. (supply and demand) I would like to thank the members of the Oswego Board for giving us the opportunity to present the facts to them and especially to those board members who took the time to read and study the material and surrounding issues before voting to pass this ordinance. Thank you.
Paul Katzel December 03, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Not sure vet checks and housing a dog makes for a large profit by these organizations. By the time you check out the tempurement spay or nueter and give all the shots. Feed it for awhile the $ is gone pretty quick
Dolores Santucci December 03, 2012 at 03:12 AM
If you want to know the true worth of a dog, ask a soldier who's alive because of an IED sniffing dog or can function through PTSD because of their dog, or a blind person who's dog allows them the freedom to live their life to the fullest, or a disabled person who can live alone because of their dog. They give unconditional love and ask only to be properly cared for in return. They need nutritious food, clean water, grooming, walks, a warm safe place to sleep, proper Vet care, and most importantly, the love of a family. They are pack animals that have suffer depression from solitary confinement and lack of human contact. We have domesticated these animals and made them "companion animals". They are NOT livestock and they do not deserve to be locked up in a cage their whole life, never to run in the grass, play with a toy, or feel the gentle touch of their human. They do not deserve to be left in pain, with untreated maladies because the Vet bill would cut into profits. We will not apologize for our strong connection to these animals, or be made to feel guilty about working to free them from being prisoners of greed. We are the same people who care about children in need. We are the same people who donate to the food pantries and support our neighbors when they are in need. Being a responsible citizen includes standing up for those that cannot speak up for themselves. The question is do they feel fear and pain, not is their pain less important than another's.
Donna Louise December 03, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Dogs are not products. They are alive and deserve proper treatment. To people who would put profits ahead of compassion: King James 2000 Bible (©2003) Open your mouth for the dumb, for the cause of all who are left desolate. Merry Christmas

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