In case there was still any doubt in anyone’s mind about where many pet store animals come from, one pet store in Mount Greenwood, Illinois is doing its best to remind us of the effect puppy mill bans can have on the industry.
A ban passed in Chicago earlier this year prohibiting the sale of animals coming from puppy mills. Instead, any sale of an animal in the city must come from shelters and rescues. This was done in the hopes that more homeless animals would be able to find their forever homes and puppy mills would lose business and be forced to shut down.
But Jim Sparks and his son Jim Sparks Jr., owners of Park Pet Shop, Inc., claim this ban only makes backyard breeding and the online sale of puppies more attractive to the customers they’ve lost. Even if they source their dogs from shelters, the usual selling price of upwards of $1500 for a designer breed falls to about $300 for a dog from a city pound. Bad for business, says Sparks.
“You don’t have to like what we do…we are plugging along. Business has not been the best.”
To keep business afloat, Sparks has turned to fundraising to buy him more time, and to fight the ban he feels has unfairly hurt the family business he’s had open since 1959. He and another pet store in the area called Pocket Puppies planned a dinner costing guests $95 per plate at pop-up kitchen Ampersand, expecting to use the proceeds for legal services in a lawsuit against the city.
The plan almost worked, until the restaurant hosting the event got wind of the purpose for the dinner and pulled out. The restaurant released a written statement explaining their actions:
“We were recently approached about what we thought was the chance to help a fellow small business by offering our space to host a fundraiser. As soon as the full purpose of the event was brought to light, we immediately canceled it and ceased any involvement with those companies or their fundraising efforts.”
In addition to canceling the event, Ampersand has paired up with The Puppy Mill Project and One Tail At A Time, both amazing animal advocacy groups, to raise money that will go to a cause they actually support.
Meanwhile, Sparks says he would still “love to have our day in court.”
Featured image via NPR