LOMBARD – In an effort to better protect animals, Lombard trustees last week approved an ordinance amending the village code pertaining to animal sale regulations.
The Lombard Village Board of Trustees at its Jan. 16 regular board meeting voted unanimously to approve the amendment, which restricts the sale of animals in temporary business endeavors such as flea markets, farmer’s markets and parking lots.
The amendment also establishes that the commercial sale of animals can only occur within a permanent building with a business that has had an existing lease for one year.
Violating the law is punishable by a fine between $50 and $750.
“The idea that you could purchase a dog from some person – not necessarily in any sophisticated manor – certainly was something to think about,” said Lombard Village Trustee Laura Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is chairperson of the village’s Economic and Community Development Committee, which reviewed the amendments and recommended approval to the village board.
The new restrictions do not apply to recognized nonprofit humane associations that may have animals at a temporary event, if the animals are associated with the outreach effort of the organization, according to the ordinance.
It also does not apply to private homeowners who wish to sell or give away puppies, said William Heniff, Lombard director of community development.
“The idea was to address concerns being raised by CAPS to help ensure animals that are being put up for sale or adoption are being properly cared for,” Heniff said.
The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills, approached Lombard village officials this past fall and requested that they consider the amendments.
“What they said made sense, so we moved it along,” Fitzpatrick said.
According to society organizers, there is evidence that puppy mill owners from Missouri have tried to sell their puppies in the old Kmart parking lot, as well as outside McDonald’s on Roosevelt Road.
“It’s a good thing,” Ida McCarthy, CAPS Chicago campaign coordinator, said of the amendments. “Now we can call the police and they will be fined.”
There have been no complaint reports filed in the past regarding any animal sales in parking lots, but moving forward, police will respond to any calls related to the newly deemed illegal activity, said Lombard Police Chief Ray Byrne
The society began in Hollywood, Calif. roughly six years ago, and has since moved east, McCarthy said. Their investigators have been to more than 1,000 puppy mills, and organizers have convinced about 40 home-rule municipalities to ban the sale of animals in pet shops – including Highland Park, the first city in Illinois to pass such a ban, she said.
“The idea was to address concerns being raised by CAPS to help ensure animals that are being put up for sale or adoption are being properly cared for,” said William Heniff, Lombard director of community development.
The Village of Lombard is a non-home rule municipality, meaning there is only so much that local government can do because the state regulates pet shop sales. Neighboring Villa Park, also a non-home rule town, adopted similar pet sale restrictions in 2012.
Rich Keehner, Villa Park village manager, said CAPS raised concerns regarding sale of puppies in an open area in town.
“We put policy into action that prevented the sale of puppies like that,” said Keehner.
A reputable breeder would never put their puppies in a store to be sold by anyone with a credit card, McCarthy said.
“Adopt, don’t shop,” she said.