Dec 30, 2014 - Animal Policy    6 Comments

(Puppy) Theft Under Color of Law

If what we are hearing is true, the family that had eight puppies confiscated after being arrested for “illegally breeding Bulldogs” will be getting them back. Reaction to this “theft-under-color-of-law” has ranged from incredulous to outraged, though many of us familiar with the politics of animal extremism were sadly unsurprised.

But at the end of the day, reason may indeed win in Waukegan.

The family at the center of this story is a young couple, who by all accounts were taking proper care of their puppies. There is no evidence of cruelty to animals or that they were deceiving their buyers. Their sin was not obtaining a $25 breeding license and offending the sensibilities of somebody who saw they had puppies for sale on the internet.

For the family, we are heartened, and hope for a happy ending to this ordeal. We are also delighted (and thankful) at the education, pressure, and shaming that has come forth from so many quarters of the responsible animal community (check out some of the comments here!). But at the same time, the setup of these dog owners and confiscation of their puppies shines a searing light on those whose zeal causes them to see any and all sorts of animal breeding as a sort of “puppy mill.”

This is major story for anybody who keeps animals, who breeds animals, who cares about animals — or simply anybody with a lick of common sense and belief in the rights of their fellow citizens. We will keep you updated as the story develops!



  • YankeeShelties

    FYI, there was a chihuahua breeder that was “hit” the same day by the police. He says he was told if he didn’t give up the singleton puppy they would also take the parents away.

    • Emily Sieger

      and yet, I also read a quote from Lt Kelly that there was no authority to take the bulldog pup’s mom. The impoundment law provides authority to seize a breeding dog if there’s a violation AND if there’s a legal process (which sounds like it means a cruelty situation and needs a court order) but not the puppies… and there’s no provision to give dogs seized in this situation to a private rescue. These “law” officers don’t know their own laws and typically chose to claim they mean whatever they want them to mean. Separating 6 week old puppies from their mother is inherently a cruel thing to do…

    • Vicki Eckstein

      That means they were taken “Under Duress” and that is not legal

  • Ricka Smith

    Remember two things regarding this story – Chicago recently passed the “no puppy sales in pet stores unless the puppies are from the animal shelter” and this animal shelter/rescue is no asking for donations to build a “wall of cages” in what appears to be a pet shop. Seems like a massive coincidence doesn’t it?

  • DC

    I am not an attorney and you should have legal advice on your rights before you need them. Many pet owners have signed their pets over in response to being told they “have no choice” or they will go to jail for animal cruelty. Officers of the law are not empowered to make those deals. After you are charged with a crime, you may very well make a deal with a prosecuting attorney or a judge but an officer who offers to deal is guilty of coercion. If you sign under duress a claim can be made that your signature is not valid, however once your animals leave your possession you lose a great deal of control over what happens next.

  • Timbreblue

    This case underscores the importance of people watching their local lawmakers carefully. This ordinance should never have been passed.