City plans to ban sale of dogs by breeders


A Portage Park pet shop owner plans to close her store if a new city ordinance banning the sale of dogs from commercial breeders takes effect.

"We’ve been in business since 1978 and never had a problem," Susan Nawrocki, the owner of Hug A Pup, 4950 W. Irving Park Road, said. "I think this is wrong. We pay taxes. Everyone is afraid of the animal activists."

The ordinance restricts the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from animal shelters and nonprofit humane and animal rescue societies.

Chicago is one of a number of cities which have passed laws aimed at curtailing the sale of pets from what are referred to as "puppy mills" because of concerns that animals at the facilities are treated poorly, including being kept in small cages. Some animal rights groups also claim that the mills have led to an overpopulation dogs, leading to more neglect of dogs.

The ordinance was supposed to take effect earlier this month, but enforcement was delayed after a lawsuit was filed by a commercial breeder and several pet shops. Cook County has a similar law that affects suburbs that do not have a ban, but the county law also is facing a court challenge.

Nawrocki’s business, which she once operated with her sister, has been at its current location on Irving Park Road for 4 years. She plans to transfer operations to her other shop, which she opened last year in Indiana, if the lawsuit is unsuccessful.

Nawrocki said that she gets the puppies that she sells from reputable breeders in Indiana. "I go and pick up every day," she said. "It is not like they are shipped in a box."

Nawrocki said that there are about 10 stores in the city which sell dogs from commercial breeders.