A Second Federal Court Upholds Key Law to Crack Down on Sales of Dogs from Puppy Mills

By on May 21, 2015 with 5 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

More good news from the federal courts – this time on our crusade to crack down on the exploitation of dogs by the puppy mill industry. Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a legal challenge to Cook County’s ordinance that restricts the sale of puppies from large-scale commercial dog breeders. Adopted at the urging of The HSUS and a host of other animal welfare groups, the anti-puppy mill ordinance allows Cook County pet stores to source puppies only from small hobby breeders, or from shelters and rescues. The plaintiffs seeking to knock down the ordinance – which include not only Cook County pet stores, but also the puppy mill industry group Missouri Pet Breeders Association – bundled every Constitutional argument they could muster into their pleadings, and the court rejected each and every one of them.

This decision comes on the heels of the recent ruling in Rhode Island, which upheld a similar local ordinance in East Providence. Both rulings not only provide important legal precedent in our national fight to crack down on abusive mills by restricting their retail outlets, but also represent a victory in our efforts to restrict the sales of any products that rely on animal suffering for their production. We intend to invoke these rulings to support our efforts to reduce suffering across animal industries.

In today’s decision, the judge found that the Cook County ordinance was justified by, among other things, the county’s goal to “ensure that pet stores bought animals from small breeders as opposed to inhumane mass-breeding facilities.” We will continue to urge other local governments to replicate this action, as we urge would-be pet parents to consider adoption of homeless animals from shelters and rescue groups. So far, more than 70 other local governments have restricted the retail sale of puppy mill dogs, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Chicago. We should continue to see that number grow as advocates are encouraged by the court ruling and take action in their communities, helping to drive the market toward pet adoption and responsible dog breeders. What’s more, we’ll be working collaboratively with more pet stores to adopt animal-friendly policies, by using their stores to promote adoption rather than to funnel dogs to the public from mills. A number of pet stores have recently converted to that new humane business model with the help of our Puppy Friendly Pet Stores initiative, resulting in more than 3,100 shelter pets saved.

With two federal court rulings under our belt to ground our effort to restrict puppy mill dog sales in locales, our work at the state level to establish more humane breeding standards (which has, in one state alone, probably reduced the number of mills in Missouri from 3,000 to 1,500), and our public education efforts against puppy mills and Internet sellers (watch our new video short on puppy mill drones with has more than three million views), and our broad efforts to promote adoption of shelter and rescue dogs and to work with responsible breeders, we are making extraordinary gains and building culture-changing awareness. It’s no time to relent, but rather to step on the gas and shrink the puppy mill industry and the euthanasia lists in shelters.

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Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. bestuvall says:

    Shouldn’t the HSUS goal be to stop the production of shelter dogs through free spay.neuter programs instead of encouraging more production of shelter dogs? Isn’t he the goal to not have any more shelter dogs?

  2. dave says:

    HSUS should not be promoting any Breeding. The words themselves HOBBY BREEDERS tells all. BREEDING and creating sentient creatures adding to the severe overpopulation and calling this a hobby is an atrocity. It is like calling hunting a sport. Murder is not a sport. There is no such thing at this time as Responsible breeders. If breeders love animals so much they can work with their breed rescue and save their own from being murdered everyday. Making model airplanes is a Hobby, not creating more life when we Exterminate Healthy Adoptable pets and throw them out in garbage bags. No pets for sale should be the only option now. In years when no more lives are being snuffed out then you can talk about responsible breeding. Until it is made difficult for any irresponsible heartless person to even get a pet, until we stop making it easy for people to simply dump them and kill them, until we make it illegal for any animal dumper to ever have a pet again, until more spay.netuer is in place, until the different links in the puppy mill chain are stopped, until the internet sales is once and for all banned, adoption should be the only option. HSUS should make COMMERCIALS EXPOSING THE REALITY OF KILL SHELTERS. NO ONE IS SHOWING THE TRUTH.on national television. More of the FLUFFY PICTURE SYNDROME. And cracking down on conditions of puppy mills is the wrong focus. NO one should be mass producing or creating more puppies because everyone is doing it to make money off these betrayed animals. BAN THE SALES altogether and only have only rescue/ shelter pets for now.

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