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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. 

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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