The protesters plan to gather from noon-2 p.m. Saturday outside of the pet store at 10429 S. Kedzie Ave. They believe the store has found a way to continue to sell dogs from puppy mills despite a city ordinance banning such sales.
Jim Sparks Jr. owns the store that dates to 1958 with his father, Jim Sr. They point to being in full compliance of the mandate that only pets from "shelters and other humane adoption centers," such as rescue operations, can be sold within city limits.
Investigators with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection last visited the store July 24 and signed off on Park Pet Shop's operation, according to Lilia Chacon, a spokeswoman for the agency.
In the context of today's storms and the interest of safety, we've rescheduled this event to next Sat Oct 21. Please join us then! https://t.co/KpcsPq7zVQ— ThePuppyMillProject (@PuppyMillProj) October 14, 2017
Sparks Jr. said he, too, is strongly opposed to puppy mills. He said the dogs in the store come via "advocates in the industry."
More specifically, city inspectors found, the puppies were bought from Dog Mother Rescue — a nonprofit rescue organization licensed in Missouri.
In an email to supporters last week, Cari Meyers, founder of The Puppy Mill Project, claimed this supplier is really "a puppy mill in Missouri fronting as a rescue."
She said the store continues to advertise designer breeds, including a "puggle" as well as more traditional varieties such as a Pomeranian and a French bulldog. Meyers said such dogs rarely find their way into shelters — particularly as puppies.
"Everybody knows that those aren't rescue dogs, and he is breaking the law," Meyers said in an interview last week. She declined to specify how the business owners are skirting the law.
Sparks vehemently denies such claims. But he would prefer that the city change its regulations to align with Illinois' Safe Pets, a law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August, which would allow Sparks to return to the business of selling purebed dogs under strict sourcing guidelines, he said.
"Part of me wants to say, 'It's OK to have a different opinion,' and put that out on the marquee," Sparks said last week.