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Highland Park resident spurs ban on kennel breeding

Dawn LoCascio shown with her boxer Macie Beans persuaded City HighlPark tighten its rules breeding prevent puppy mill operations.| Submitted

Dawn LoCascio, shown with her boxer Macie Beans, persuaded the City of Highland Park to tighten its rules on breeding to prevent puppy mill operations.| Submitted photo

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Updated: January 28, 2014 3:16AM

At the urging of a local activist, Highland Park has tightened some zoning language to prevent kennels from breeding animals for sale.

Dawn LoCascio, a local liaison to The Puppy Mill Project, initially asked to city in February to ban the sale of dogs and cats within city limits to prevent “puppy mill” enterprises that breed animals for sale. The Puppy Mill Project is a nonprofit organization that raises awareness to animal cruelty and neglect in mills that breed solely for profit.

A city review of its zoning ordinance revealed the city had authority to place conditions on the operation of pet stores but did not have the same authority over kennels. The city’s zoning code defined a kennel as a place where more than four dogs, four cats or other domestic animals are boarded or kept for sale.

Late last month, the city council voted to delete the words “for sale” from the definition of a kennel.

Andrea West, city planner, said the change does not prevent “at-home breeders” or pet stores from keeping less than four dogs, cats, or other domestic animals for sale, but prohibits kennels from doing so.

“I was not going to give up,” said LoCascio, who first learned about puppy mills when she adopted her boxer, Macie Beans, from Boxer Rebound, a rescue organization.

“I followed up for months providing ordinance language from other cities across the county that have successfully prohibited the sale of companion animals,” LoCascio said. “Reputable breeders don’t sell their dogs to pet stores, so where do people think the pet stores get their dogs? The answer is puppy mills.”

Prairieland Anti Cruelty in Champaign had received Macie Beans after she’d been used as a female breeding animal for five years. The organization turned her over to Boxer Rebound.

LoCascio believes she was used to produce 60 to 80 puppies.

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