History was made this Fall in Illinois. Villa Park became the first town in the state to pass an ordinance banning most sales of dogs and cats within its borders. Villa Park may be the first, but there are many towns now considering a ban as well. Pet shops will undoubtedly find it more difficult to open new stores, expand to new towns, perhaps even to remain in the buildings they already occupy. For the sake of puppy mill dogs (and all pets for that matter) – the time has come.
On September 24th, Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) members, along with concerned community residents, presented their case to the Villa Park board, requesting that pet sales no longer be allowed in the town.
|Members of College of DuPage Students for Animal Defense|
Ida McCarthy, Chicago Coordinator for CAPS, has personally witnessed puppies in horrific conditions being sold at a flea market in this town. It became her mission to see to it that this “breeder” was discouraged from selling there. Ida, along with fellow CAPS members, regularly hold educational demonstrations in front of Happiness Is Pets pet stores in the area. CAPS has documented that the puppies sold there are obtained from puppy mills.
The Villa Park ordinance sets forth specific requirements that all stores and kennels be licensed, adds particular health and care regulations, and forbids the sale of pets at flea markets, farmers markets, and parking lots.. Technical legalities prohibited the board from banning sales by long-established businesses. However, those pet stores now cannot move to new locations within Villa Park, and new stores cannot open for business to sell dogs and cats.
This is monumental. CAPS members have held demonstrations now for years in front of pet stores like Happiness is Pets and Petland, educating the public about the source of the puppies for sale, the wretched conditions they are bred and born in, the sad lot of their parents, and the more humane and sensible choice to purchase instead from a reputable breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue. Many people are still unaware of the connection between pet shops and puppy mills.
What you can do
There are many ways you can get involved – you can participate in demonstrations in your area, petition your town board to consider banning pet sales and attend the meetings to present why this would be a good idea, or even simply spread the word to those you know about pet shops, puppy mills, and smart choices in acquiring a new pet.
A tremendous shout-out goes to the Villa Park board members, for having the progressive mindset to consider a change which no other town in our state has yet to do, and for their commitment to the welfare of companion animals as well as the protection of the consumer. We salute Villa Park, and encourage everyone to patronize the businesses in this town with a heart.
|Jenna H., Pres. CODSFAD|
Special recognition must also be given to the College of DuPage Students for Animal Defense, who not only attended the meeting but also store demonstrations month after month, regardless of the weather they have endured.
|Dianne Arp, CAPS|
CAPS members Dianne Arp and Kristen Kaminski toil unselfishly on behalf of the animals around the clock, in addition to heading up the demonstrations and educating the public. Together with Ida McCarthy, they petitioned, then led the presentation at the Villa Park board meeting for this ordinance.
The awful monster we’ve known as the puppy mill industry and the pet stores that sell for them has often seemed an insurmountable problem. Villa Park and its board have shown that there is hope, the challenge is achievable, and a brighter day is ahead for companion animals. Joining open-minded communities from around the world that have done the same, Villa Park has now taken a stand against unscrupulous breeders and anyone who attempts to cash in on the backs of dogs and cats.
And this accomplishment shows us that spending an hour or two once or twice a month, to protest, inform, share with others, attend a meeting – can indeed be time well-spent.
Today – Villa Park, Illinois. Tomorrow – the world!
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