The three Siberian huskies were born Sept. 4, 2017.
They were housed together in a large, metal warehouse in this small farming community that is home to one of north-central Iowa’s most prolific canine dealers.
When the puppies were 59 days old, the local veterinarian inspected the trio and cleared them for travel across state lines. Four days later, the huskies were fed at 3 a.m., packed in a vehicle and driven to Illinois, where records show the dogs’ fates diverged.
One puppy was delivered to a suburban pet shop with her pedigree papers.
The other two — confirmed littermates — were declared “rescue dogs” and sold to a pet shop in Chicago. With that rescue label firmly attached to their cages, the store could sell the dogs for more than $1,000 apiece and still be in compliance with a city ordinance that bans shops from offering commercially bred pets.
The ordinance, which went into effect in 2015 to prevent Chicago businesses from sourcing dogs from puppy mills, limits pet shops to selling dogs obtained primarily from government pounds, humane societies and shelters. At the time of its passage, pet shop owners criticized the law and said that typical rescue groups could never provide the kind of high-end, purebred and designer mix puppies customers wanted.
As it turns out, local stores are still able to sell those upmarket dogs. They just don’t come from typical rescue groups.