The Chicago city council is debating a new measure that would ban the sale of dogs brought up by for-profit breeders, requiring pet stores only to sell pets obtained from animal shelters, government-run facilities, or organizations such as the Humane Society. City Clerk Susana Mendoza introduced the ordinance on Wednesday, citing concerns that many dogs sold in local pet stores come from puppy mills, which animal rights activists say are inhumane and harmful to animals.
"They're overcrowded," Mendoza told the Chicago Tribune. "The moms are forced to breed continuously.... They're caged in their own excrement. They don't get any exercise. They're literally in a tiny jail cell, and they're never cleaned. They're prone to all kinds of diseases, and they basically breed them until they're dead."
Chicago will not be the first city to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs if the council approves Mendoza's plan; dozens of cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, and Phoenix, have already enacted similar measures. Some animal welfare activists claim that such legislation does not go far enough to protect puppies, and instead favor bans that would more directly target puppy mills as opposed to pet retailers.
Still, Mendoza believes the ban is a step in the right direction for the city and for dogs across Chicago. "I have to believe that if consumers really knew the conditions these these animals are coming from, they would not support such systemic, large-scale cruelty," she said in a statement. "Beyond that, why are we bringing thousands of new animals into this city each year when tens of thousands of dogs and cats are in our shelters and rescues at the city's expense? This would be a win-win for the city of Chicago... and the dogs suffering in puppy mills."