The Cook County Board Wednesday unanimously approved a ban on puppy mills in suburban Cook County—an extension of a similar earlier measure passed by the Chicago City Council.
Championed by Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, the ban limits the retail sale of puppies and kittens from commercial breeders, instead requiring the pets come from small-scale breeders, shelters or similar places. Stores are permitted to acquire animals from federally licensed breeders with no more than five reproducing female animals.
The vote makes Cook County the largest jurisdiction in the country to crack down on the sale of pets from puppy mills. The new law will take effect on Oct. 1, 2014.
“Passing a puppy mill ban means that Cook County residents can have some piece of mind knowing that if they buy a dog from a pet store they are getting a new companion who has been treated humanely. As a proud dog owner and dog lover, this is an issue that is deeply personal to me, and based on the feedback I’ve received from others, clearly this is important to many Cook County residents,” said Commissioner Fritchey.
Suburbs with home rule powers — usually those with more than 25,000 residents — are able to opt out of the ban. Orland Park, for instance, intends to discuss its own measure on the matter.
The ban does not apply to Internet sales, which has some critics doubtful it will help curb the practice, instead sending buyers looking online.