VIDEO: Chicago ordinance against puppy mills may hurt small pet shops

Jim Sparks plays with the remaining two puppies at his store.

By Adam Banicki

Story updated on Feb. 19 with details about federal lawsuit.

The Chicago City Council voted 49-1 to ban the resale of certain animals in an attempt to rid the city of puppy mills.  The ordinance goes into effect next month.

Owners of small neighborhood pet shops, such as Jim Sparks who owns Park Pet Shop in Mount Greenwood, feel it unfairly targets their sales of properly cared for animals.

Spark’s small business is now trying to find a way to make up for the loss of 60% of its sales.  He hopes that by filing an injunction, the city will reconsider their decision and continue to allow the sale of safely obtained animals to Chicago residents.

Just this week, Park Pet Shop, Inc. along with Pocket Puppies Boutique, Inc. and Cedar Woods Farms has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The suit is filed against the City of Chicago, city clerk Susana A. Mendoza and Sandra Alfred, executive director of the City of Chicago Department of Animal Care & Control. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction of the ordinance banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits coming from outside the state of Illinois. It is unclear when a hearing will be on the injunction request.

Among several claims, one in the filing states: “The ordinance eliminates nearly all breeders in the United States, who are located outside of Illinois, from benefiting from Chicago’s marketplace.”

Attorney Sean P. Patrick is representing the plaintiffs.

Photo at top: Jim Sparks plays with the remaining two puppies at his store. (Adam Banicki/Medill)