Chicago, IL— The proposed Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection ordinance is scheduled for a hearing by the Commissioners at 10am on April 9, 2014. This proposed ordinance has an impact on the pets, the pet owners, and the small businesses in the community.

Veterinarians and veterinary hospitals routinely provide the adoption of animals through their own facilities. Veterinarians passionately support the adoption of healthy, well socialized animals to loving, responsible individuals and families from private, charitable, nonprofit humane society or animal rescue organizations. However, consumers typically do not look to rescue or shelter adoption for purebred puppies and kittens.

While the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association understands the issue of an overburdened shelter system and supports any action that promotes compassionate care of animals, including responsible breeding practices, the proposed Companion Animal and Consumer Protection ordinance under consideration by Cook County has a direct impact on the pets, the pet owners, consumers, and the small businesses in Cook County. ­

The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association strongly believes that ongoing education of the public is a much more effective method to increase pet owner awareness and bring about the desired positive change necessary to address valid concerns regarding unethical, unscrupulous breeders who are the ultimate problem. Such breeders are likely to find a way to circumvent the letter of the law and still maintain their pet sales via other avenues.

Regarding the protection of the consumer, we base our concerns on the following facts:

  • Veterinarians and veterinary hospitals must be excluded from the definition of a pet retailer, since they routinely facilitate the adoption of animals;
  • IL Public Act 098-0509 exists to protect the pet owners in Cook County and State of Illinois. The Act provides for pet retailer penalties and remedies for consumers that purchase pets with medical problems;
  • The “whereas” clause that banning retail sales of dogs and cats will automatically address the overpopulation excess animal problem is a challengeable assumption. In fact, some consumers will not purchase shelter animals as they are looking for a specific type of animal or breed, which may not be available in the shelter;
  • Shelters often do not know the source of their animals, or the socialization and behavioral history and complete medical problems of these animals;
  • By banning the sales of purebred pets in the pet shops, the public will be denied consumer protection in IL Public Act 098-0509;
    A pet sold in a pet store has the greatest chance of receiving the highest quality veterinary care should it become ill within the first year of life as a result of IL Public Act 098-0509; and
  • The elimination of consumer choice through banning puppy and kitten sales in reputable pet stores can result in consumers and pets suffering from a lack of regulation when seeking alternative, unregulated sources outside Cook County limits and/or outside the State of Illinois.

Veterinarians are specifically trained in addressing the well-being of animals, and are the best resource for educating individuals and families on responsible pet ownership from birth to death.

We strongly believe our professional judgment and insights are inherently requisite in the creation of the best possible, most sound laws for the long term good and protection of the pet owning population and welfare of all animals in Cook County and throughout the State of Illinois.

The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association welcomes the opportunity to work with the Cook County President and Commissioners on a proactive public education campaign and as advisors in any future legislation about pet health and animal welfare for the long term good of all pet owners and residents.

For more information about the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, please visit www.Chicagovma.org.

The CVMA is an association of over 1000 veterinarians and 4000 support staff who lovingly assist more than one million Chicago area pets and their families.

The membership of the CVMA is dedicated to the health and well-being of animals through its nurturing of the human animal bond. The CVMA will strive to fulfill the diversified needs of its members by providing nationally recognized CE programs, cultivating membership involvement, and offering innovative member services and exemplary public awareness.

Since 1896, the CVMA has continued a proud tradition of providing its members with vital services and programs which have expanded dramatically over a century to meet the ever-changing needs of the veterinary profession and its diverse patients and clients.

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