Naperville City Council heard from more than 50 public speakers at their most recent meeting. The topic: the retail sale of dogs and cats.
Council is considering banning commercially-bred pet sales within city limits, known as Option A, which was supported by many animal rights advocates at the meeting.
“Option A sends a very clear message that our city will not allow nor be a party to pet shops at profit from the exploitation and the inhumane treatment by puppy mills of defenseless dogs and cats,” said Naperville resident James Laures.
The other option on the table is increasing the standards of care for breeders. But that option saw little support from speakers and councilmembers. Both groups said it would be too difficult to enforce, as many breeders are out of state.
“How are you going to enforce the listed regulations?” asked Amy Wolf, president of A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter’s Board of Directors. “All that can be done is to take the word of the pet stores that are taking the word of the breeders that regulations are being followed and the requirements are being met.”
Current Pet Sales
Naperville currently has two pet stores that sell commercial-bred animals – Happiness Is Pets and Petland, who both claimed their breeders are responsible. They say they would be out of business if they couldn’t sell breeder-sourced puppies.
“Asking Naperville Petland to change their business model would be like asking Morton’s Steakhouse to turn into McDonalds,” said Petland Corporate’s Vice President of Animal Welfare and Franchise Services Brian Winslow.
Supporters and employees of the stores said they serve those who want a specific type of dog or puppy and asked for the item to be tabled.
“I believe there are benefits to both shelters and pet stores,” said Christine Georgi, who bought a dog from Petland. “Having the freedom to choose where to choose where to shop knowing exactly what we wanted gave my daughter, who was full of anxiety, the rare opportunity to fall in love with the breed of puppy she wanted.”
The Next Step
As this was the first reading of the ordinance, council took no action after hearing from the public. They also didn’t spend much time deliberating, as the meeting had already gone past 1 a.m.
The topic will return to council at a future meeting.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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