Chicago has a city bylaw banning pet stores from sourcing dogs from puppy mills (i.e. selling commercially-bred pets).

So, what’s an enterprise puppy mill owner to do?  Apparently they start a rescue as a way to get their dogs sold instead.

No, they didn’t see the light and decide to get out of the puppy mill business. Rather, they took advantage of a loophole that allows dogs sourced from nonprofit rescues to be sold, even if the dogs are “rescued” from a puppy mill. All they have to do is register a rescue, transfer all their mass produced dogs to the rescue, and then sell them.

It’s creative, I’ll give them that.  It also requires a few pet stores with questionable ethics since they clearly know what’s going on, as they’re getting the dogs from the same source at the same price but under a different name.

This shows how well-intentioned exemptions can create unfortunate loopholes that can utterly undermine the spirit of the original ban.  It also puts a new twist on the whole “rescue” label. It’s no longer enough to say “this puppy is from a rescue.” People need to do some due diligence to make sure the dog really is a rescue and not from a commercial breeder. (Hint: if you’re paying $1000+ for a purebred “rescue” puppy, think twice since someone’s likely making money off that deal.)

From a disease standpoint (I have to get back to that somehow given the nature of the blog), puppy mill dogs imported as puppy mill dogs or rescues carry the same disease risks. If people are worried about the health and welfare aspects of puppy mills, they should be equally concerned about those issues in rescues from puppy mills, especially when purchasing such dogs may be finance puppy mill operations.