With an alderman saying she hoped the new ordinance could be in place before “the Easter rabbit rush,” the Human Services Committee voted Monday to advance rules restricting sales and adoption of cats, dogs and rabbits to the full Evanston City Council next Monday.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said the quick action was needed for Evanston to be a progressive community that takes a humane stance on the sale and adoption of the pets.

Judy Fiske.

However Fiske asked the city’s legal staff to revise the ordinance to make it clear that it would not prohibit individuals from turning over a pet to a family member or friend if the owner became ill or had to move out of town.

The ordinance would only permit the sale or adoption of cats, dogs and rabbits by animal shelters and federally licensed breeders, and animals from shelters would have to be spayed or neutered before adoption.

“This is a good step to take,” Fiske said, “a step in the right direction.”

Fiske said volunteers from the Red Door Animal Shelter in Rogers Park had urged adoption of the new ordinance. Evanston’s animal shelter is not equipped to handle rabbits, so the Red Door shelter, which does care for rabbits, ends up receiving abandoned rabbits from Evanston.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, asked for staff to also reach out to the owners of the Looking Glass Pet Shop, located the space at 600 Dempster St. formerly known as Not Just Thee Fish Bowl, to make sure the new ordinance wouldn’t harm their business.

Rabbit photo above from Wikipedia.

Related story

Ordinance would ban private sale of pets (3/1/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Ban on pet sales

    I’ve purchased all of my past six dogs from breeders of purebred dogs, or as we’re now forced to say, “purpose bred” dogs.  These dogs come with guarantees from the breeders, and I know the pedigrees and health clearances of my dogs parents, siblings and grandparents and even great grandparents.  My last four have been from breeders out of state where those states have not tried to implement punitive laws like this one, that seem to be making it some sort of holy cause for people to adopt dogs of questionable parentage and temperament from shelters, or even purchasing dogs from puppy mills simply because they supposedly are licensed.    

    Evanston’s political correctness needs to be informed by some education about purebreds.  If more people bought purpose-bred dogs from reputable breeders, perhaps so many dogs would not end up in shelters.  You can find a reputable breeder by checking out national and regional breed clubs.  For example, want a Sheltie?  Go to https://www.americanshetlandsheepdogassociation.org/  Someone there can help you find the perfect Sheltie for you, if a Sheltie is, in fact, right for your family.  Purebreds were bred for different purposes, and the high energy, demanding Border Collie will not be the right dog for someone who is looking only for companionship and doesn’t have the time or inclination to train and engage that breed the way it should be.

    Make sure you ask the breeder for the health history of the breed and his or her lines.  Make sure you ask if she or he breeds for temperament first.  Read the breed standard.  Then you’ll be likely to get a healthy dog with many years ahead of him.  Ask the breeder if she will take the dog back if for some reason you are no longer able to keep it.  Breed clubs have “rehoming” and “rescue” services, too, if there’s some reason why the breeder can’t take a dog back.  The LAST thing a reputable breeder wants to have happen is for a puppy or dog she bred to end up in a shelter.  In fact, more and more breeders are specifying in contracts that you MUST notify the breeder if you can’t keep a puppy. 

    But don’t pass knee jerk legislation like this, which penalizes people like me while encouraging shelter populations to continue increasing.  AND it encourages people to buy “purebreds” from outfits that represent themselves as breeders, even though they might be nothing more than an extremely INhumane puppy mill.  If someone’s buying a puppy from a pet store, I can guarantee you that puppy is from a puppy mill–and how are you going to prevent someone from buying a puppy from a pet store that’s not located in Evanston?  

    Thank you,

    Kathy Kovacic

    1. Scope of Problem

      This seems to be driven by Red Door Animal Shelter, a Chicago organization.  And I am wondering about statistics from Evanston. And the actual scope of the problem.  

      It seems that our city employees have lots of solutions for problems that just don’t exist!

  2. Ban on private pet sales

    We should be aware of unintended consequences.  If a family pet has kittens/puppies and the family isn’t allowed to find homes for the kittens/puppies, they will end up at a shelter increasing the burden on pet shelters.  Are they ready for extra adoptions?

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