Pet stores that sell live animals have been under a lot of scrutiny in the past few years about where they get their pets and whether or not they are purchasing animals from puppy mills. City Council members in Joliet, Illinois are considering an ordinance that would require pet shops to acquire pets from animal shelters, rescue organizations, or animal control facilities.
Supporters of the bill argue that many pet shops purchase animals that come from puppy mills and these animals are over bred, kept in cages that are too small, live in unsanitary conditions, and do not have their basic health needs met. The supporters feel that federal regulations have not been working and that a local ban would decrease the demand for such breeders to stay in business.
Not surprisingly, breeders in the area are not happy about the ordinance because many of them sell their pups to pet shops and that would drastically limit their business. Likewise, pet store owners are not thrilled about the proposed ordinance either.
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Shop owners from Furry Babies and Petland, both with locations in the city, voiced their objections to the proposal. Officials from both companies say these restrictions would make it hard for local pet stores to find puppies and kittens. They say it would be nearly impossible for them to purchase purebred animals as well.
Officials from both companies also said that they believe that if the ordinance passes many local pet stores would go out of business. They said that although there are many substandard breeders out there, their stores follow strict buying guidelines and other stores should as well.
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Sarah Gimbel, Joliet Township Animal Control Director, is also against the ordinance. She argued that local shelters and rescue organizations do not typically have the type of puppies or the quantity that most pet stores want. She made it very clear that she was against puppy mills, but also wanted to share the fact that she believes the ordinance would have a negative effect on local pet shops as well.
Pet supplies are a large part of the business of many of these stores, but typically most of them carry very similar merchandise. The thing that sets them apart is the animals that they have for sale. Shop owners say that normally when a person adopts a pet from their store, they continue to come back in for all their pet supply needs. They are worried that without the sale of animals they would lose some of this repeat business.