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Chicago's Crackdown on Puppy Mills Could Spread to Suburbs

The Cook County Board will decide whether animals from commercial breeders can be sold in all of the county—including the suburbs.

Cook County officials could follow Chicago's lead, by requiring all pet stores in the county to do away with the use of puppy mills—and go with rescue organizations or shelters, instead. 

The ordinance proposed by Commissioner John Fritchey would mean that suburban pet stores cease business with commercial breeders, and instead acquire its cats, dogs and rabbits from rescue organizations or animal shelters. 

Extending the ban to the suburbs would impact shops in Orland Park, Tinley Park,  Palos Heights, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge, Brookfield, Lansing, Alsip, Lincolnwood and Berwyn, according to a statement from Fritchey.

"It would find homes for shelter animals that otherwise would be euthanized," Fritchey said Wednesday, as reported by Sun-Times Media. 

“I want to make sure less scrupulous pet shops simply don’t try to move to the suburbs,” Fritchey said, explaining why he wants greater reach for the ban. The city of Chicago euthanized 20,000 animals last year at a cost of $300,000, reports SunTimes.com.

Chicago officials in March voted 49-1 to ban the use of puppy mills as vendors in city limits. 

The lone dissenter was Ald. Brendan Reilly, who reps the 42nd Ward.

"I support the intent of the ordinance, but not the approach. When the city bans a business or a product that’s a policy statement,"reads Reilly's quote on ChicagoTribune.com. "The reality is that theses bans don’t end the practice or the product. They just push the practice to the suburbs.”

If passed, it would go into effect in July. Any pet store still selling animals procured from commercial breeders after that point would face a $500 fine for each sale in violation of the ordinance. 

The board is expected to consider the ban on April 9. 

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