September 8, 2014: A complaint and a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois today challenging the Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance (“Ordinance”) set to become effective October 1, 2014. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of three local pet shops (Petland Hoffman Estates, Petland Chicago Ridge, and Happiness is Pets) and the nation’s largest breeder association–The Missouri Pet Breeders Association. The Ordinance, as it is written, bans pet shops from selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits purchased from almost all breeders, including federally licensed and inspected breeders, devoted to raising animals in a responsible and ethical manner. This Ordinance will put the Pet Shops–which have collectively been in business more than 50 years without ever receiving a violation associated with selling puppies, kittens, or rabbits–out of business and cause many employees to be laid off. The Pet Shops are devoted to animal welfare and care. The two Petland stores names in the lawsuit are independently owned and operated franchises of Petland, Inc. Petland, Inc. is a retail pet industry leader in the area of animal care with ongoing staff training programs, in-store animal husbandry systems and community service programs aimed at placing homeless pets and curbing pet overpopulation in the community. Over the last 47 years, Petland has advanced by developing state-of-the art standards for its retail Pet Shops. Not only do the store owners visit their breeders, Petland’s Director of Animal Welfare Education and the Operations Team visits USDA licensed breeders and distributors to ensure certain standards are maintained. The owner of Happiness is Pets, was elected to the Illinois Joint Task Force on Pet Shops and Breeders as the sole pet store representative selected by the Director of the Department of Agriculture.
This link provides a copy of Cook County’s motion requesting dismissal: Motion to Dismiss the AMENDED Complaint
Here is a link to our brief opposing dismissal of the case.