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Cook County Approves Puppy Mill Ban

County Prohibits Sale Of Pets From Puppy Mills

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Cook County Board has voted to ban the sale of pets from so-called "puppy mills."

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports county commissioners voted 15-0 to prohibit pet shops from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from large commercial breeders.

The ordinance would allow pet stores to sell animals from federally licensed breeders that have no more than five animals able to reproduce. Stores also could sell pets from government shelters, animal rescue groups, and humane societies.

The ban would go into effect in suburban Cook County in October, seven months earlier than a similar ban in the city of Chicago.

Before the vote, the board was told about inhumane conditions at some such facilities.

However, Petland regional director of operations Brian Winslow said the ordinance could put some local pet shops out of business, when the board could just target bad breeders.

"The vast majority of breeders maintain facilities that far exceed the USDA Animal Welfare Act standard, but unfortunately those breeders are never given credit," he said. "Also unfortunately, the past misdeeds of the extreme minority of breeders tends to tarnish all breeders."

Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th), who sponsored the measure, said this plan was the only way to go.

"The only thing that we can do to impact breeders from out of state is to try to effect regulations that would keep people from selling dogs from breeders from out of state," he said.

Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-17th) was among a group of commissioners who sought to send the matter to committee for further debate before a vote.

"This is turning into actually a bigger mess than my dog left me this morning before I left my home to come here," she said. "Anything that … warrants this much interest and discussion should go to committee."

Gorman still ended up voting for the ban.

Suburbs with home rule power could opt out of the ban if they choose.

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