Aldermen pass Chicago puppy mill ban, consider ban on Russia flights

An alleged puppy mill, provided by the Humane Society of the United States (Humane Society of the United States)

March 5, 2014 6:58:37 PM PST
A ban on pets from puppy mills, a call to cut off flights connecting Chicago with Russia, and an alderman turning his back on our reporter when we ask about bribery allegations. It was a busy day at the Chicago's city council.

We begin with the empty seat at City Council. It belongs to Alderman Howard Brookins, whose chief of staff was just charged with taking a bribe. When the late alderman finally arrived. . .

ABC7's Ben Bradley: "Alderman, do you have to have a message for your constituents about claims you were in the room when a bribe was offered?"

Eyewitness News' question was answered with silence.

Puppies were the council's next pet project. All but one alderman voted to stop pet stores from selling dogs from breeders.

"This is specifically about pet stores that source 99 percent of all of their puppies from puppy mills. Those are horrendous conditions, referred to as 'puppy hell'," said Susana Mendoza, Chicago City Clerk.

"We hope these stores will definitely try and go humane or not adopt out dogs at all," said Cari Meyers, The Puppy Mill Project.

Lest you think all politics are local, several aldermen signed on to a resolution calling for airlines to stop flying between Chicago and Russia until Putin pulls out of Ukraine. There is only one problem.

Bradley: "Currently there are no flights between Chicago and Russia. Why does this matter?"
1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno: "You're talking about commercial flights. We have many cargo flights that go there."

Actually, no. An airport spokesperson says the only cargo flight to Russia stops in Amsterdam first.

More realistically, powerful Ald. Ed Burke wants to rip up Chicago's sister city agreement with Moscow.

"Can't we express the opinion of 2.9 million people of the City of Chicago?" said Ald. Burke.

There's big support in the council to require many employers to pay for sick leave. One alderman's bout with chicken pox while working at a grocery story convinced her.

"For three days I was at work and my fever so so bad that water ran down my leg," said 15th Ward Ald. Toni Foulkes.

Strip clubs are also earning aldermanic attention. Specifically, new rules that would ban what some say are little more than travelling road shows.

"Under the old ordinance an adult bookstore or any place like that could instantly turn into a strip club. The new ordinance prevents that by forcing them to go through zoning," said 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waugespack.

All that in under two hours.

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