There was a time not that long ago, when Naperville city officials would take some bold positions and prided themselves for being on the cutting edge of doing what’s right. This surely was not the case at the last Naperville city council meeting when the hot topic on the agenda for the evening was discussion about Naperville’s Animal Control Ordinance, and specifically the sale of commercially bred animals ( primarily puppies) by pet stores.
City council members now and previously have been moving forward at the speed of pouring cold honey in resolving the issue. City officials have been hoping someone else would make the decision for them, including State of Illinois officials (not happening), Federal Law by creating the 28th amendment to the Constitution (not happening), or possibly with the 11th Commandment being found on a mountain top.
The scenario is always the same. The topic finally makes the agenda, many loving pet owners attend expressing their passion for pet protection, pet store owners present their position for making a huge profit in order to stay in business, council members mention the tough position they are in for making a decision, a few little tweaks are made to the ordinance, a vote is taken usually resulting in a unanimous decision (to appear in agreement), the meeting adjourns, the lights are turned out, and some members of the council head downtown to tip a few brews at their favorite establishment. The only thing different this time, it was too late for brews because the meeting lasted 5.5 hours finishing at about 12:30am.
When the dust settled after the discussion, a few ordinance tweaks resulted including:
- Requiring pet stores to promote microchipping
- Reducing allowable barking time after 10PM from ten minutes to two minutes maximum
- Increasing fines for breaking existing ordinance rules
- Dogs can’t look out the window (OK, that one is not real…..yet)
Left out were the sourcing of dogs (puppies and cats) for sale by pet stores, and requiring a four-year warranty on the health of dogs and cats. In essence, pet stores will not need to change their business model and will continue, for the most part, doing business as usual. If this topic would have been a heavy-weight boxing match, pet stores would have defeated pet lovers by a TKO (technical knock out) with the help of the referee (city council).
More than four years of talking by the Naperville city council, and that’s the best they could do. Shameful, considering many other cities (including Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, etc.) and entire States (California, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington) have taken bold positions to protect puppies, cats, etc.
Here’s an idea for pet stores to stay in business, rather than making huge profits on the backs of puppies, how about selling more fish.