Understand That Chicago’s Ban Against Companion Animal Retail Sales Isn’t A Complete Prohibition (Part II)

In our blog of April 15, 2014, we wrote the following:

ISAR’s chairman, Professor Henry Mark Holzer, issued the following statement:

In ISAR’s current E-Newsletter/Blog –“HOW YOU CAN HELP ANIMALS!/Understand that Chicago’s Ban Against Companion Animal Retail Sales Isn’t A Complete Prohibition“– we quoted the core provision of the recently enacted city ordinance:

Section 4-384-015 (b): “A retailer may offer for sale only those dogs, cats or rabbits that the retailer has obtained from (1) an animal control center, animal care facility, kennel, pound or training facility operated by any subdivision of local, state or federal government; or (2) a humane society or rescue organization.” (Our emphasis.)

We deliberately emphasized the word “kennel” because as we then wrote, “. . . please note that the Chicago ordinance still allows sale by kennels. ISAR opposes this breeder exemption.”

Among the responses to that portion of our E-Newsletter/Blog was this polite but uninformed email from an animal protection activist: “I don’t think ISAR’s analysis is correct. There is no exemption for breeders — when the Chicago statutes refer to ‘kennels’ they are referring to any government operated facility, e.g. ‘pound.’ No government entity will be in the business of breeding animals ….”

Sadly, the drafters of the ordinance have made it easy for those like the activist to misunderstand the importance of the law. Please note these three points:

(1) Section (b) specifies five exemptions from the ordinance’s requirements, of which a kennel is one;

(2) According to Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, the primary definition of “kennel” is “a place where dogs are bred or kept,” (our emphasis), meaning, as we said, that use of the word “kennel” in the ordinance acts to create an exemption that can be read to gut the entire ordinance; and

(3) The ordinance’s words “state or federal government” are intended to, and do, plainly refer not to kennels, but rather to the words that precede “state or local government,” namely “pound or training facility operated by any subdivision of local. . . …”

As we said in our previous E-Newsletter/Blog, “ISAR opposes this breeder exception.” Because that’s how we read the ordinance and, if we’re correct, the breeder exception guts the ordinance.


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