Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Favorable Rulings for Anti Puppy Mill Ordinances

Four of the five federal courts considering retail pet sale bans have now issued favorable rulings upholding retail pet sale ordinances. In May of 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed an attempt by the Missouri Pet Breeders Association to strike down the ordinance passed last year by Cook County Commissioners. Although the ruling is not yet final, we anticipate that when the Court enters its final order pet stores in Cook County, Illinois, will not be allowed to sell puppies produced in inhumane, commercial, large-scale dog breeding facilities known as puppy mills. This is the second ruling upholding state and local government authority to restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores. In a similar case in East Providence, RI, the Court upheld a retail pet sale ordinance on summary judgment in March 2015. In his ruling, Chief Judge William E. Smith, Federal District Court for the District of Rhode Island said:

“A government’s interest in preventing the evils associated with ‘puppy mills’ that both parties cite to, including inhumane treatment of animals and overpopulation, are plainly legitimate ends.”

Most recently, two more U.S. District Courts upheld retail pet sale ordinances including Sunrise, Florida and the Phoenix, Arizona. There is only one remaining federal lawsuit in ChicagoIllinois, as well as one in state court in Palm Beach GardensFlorida
There is no way to predict how long the remaining lawsuits and their appeals will take. Corporate counsel in each municipality recommended passage of retail bans to protect the interest of the local community and support animal welfare. Municipalities across the country started restricting retail sales in 2006 and there are now over 70 cities, two counties and one state with restrictions in place. Virginia was the first state to implement restrictions in March of 2015.

Learn how to pass Michigan's model pet retail ordinance.