JOLIET – A final meeting before the City Council votes on a pet store law got testy at times Monday, with accusations of puppy mills and lies.
The council will vote on two options Tuesday: To go along with a state law that requires stores to buy from licensed breeders in good standing, or follow a more restrictive Chicago model that only would allow sales of dogs acquired through animal control centers, rescue groups and shelters.
At stake is the future of the city’s one pet store that sells dogs – Furry Babies, which buys from breeders.
The president of the company showed up at Monday’s workshop meeting of the City Council to make his case for the state law, which he helped put into place.
Roger Trolinger responded to claims by opponents of that law, who said licensing is too lax and allows stores such as Furry Babies to buy from puppy mills.
“It’s hard for me to watch something that I’ve worked on for 12 years be torn apart by lies,” Trolinger told the council.
Advocates of the tougher Chicago model argued that no good breeder would sell to a pet store.
“Our mission is much different than the agenda of pet stores, which is to profit at any cost,” Michelle Adams said.
Morgan Drdak, founder of Safe Pets of Joliet, gave examples of breeders who did business with Furry Babies and ran into licensing trouble, including one who she said lost hundreds of dogs in a fire.
“The federal government is failing to protect animal welfare,” Drdak said.
Council members also will vote Tuesday on an anti-nepotism law that interim City Attorney Chris Regis said would be the first step in dispelling City Hall’s image as “a private club.”
“In some circles, the city of Joliet is seen as a private club that acts for the benefit of a select group of people,” Regis said.
Council members, however, showed some resistance to a rule that would force a city worker to leave a job if a relative is elected.
The proposed law bars relatives of elected officials from working for the city.
Council members Terry Morris and Larry Hug said relatives should not be hired once someone is elected to city office. But they questioned whether city workers should be forced to leave jobs if relatives are elected.
“It seems a little too restrictive,” Hug said.
Crest Hill agreement
Additionally, the council will vote Tuesday on an intergovernmental agreement with Crest Hill for sharing costs on improvements for a border intersection at Division Street and Gaylord Road.
Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman came to Monday’s meeting and asked the council to reconsider an October vote, in which the agreement was turned down.
Soliman said the improvements will “improve the flow of traffic. It’s going to make it safer for everybody.”