Geneva Pet Store Owner Fights For Change In Ordinance To Allow People To Shop With Pets

Andy Dahn
June 20, 2018 - 1:22 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A city ordinance enacted over 40 years ago has created a hairy situation for a Geneva business owner, and she's barking back.

Sheila Spitza and her husband opened Wet Nose pet supplies boutique in Geneva Commons back in 2002.

"We're a pet boutique, so we expect that dogs are going to come into our store," Spitza said. "Geneva Commons was one of the first lifestyle centers, open air facilities in the Chicago area, which I think lends itself to being pet friendly. I thought it would be really cool if people that came to our store were able to pop in some of the other stores and do shopping."

With the green light from mall management, word spread and about 20 stores in the mall got on board.

"Over the years, that's grown quite a bit," Spitza said. "It's been going well, with less than four complaints in 16 years."

But a recent complaint turned the system upside down: a woman came to mall management with the ordinance.

"It states that animals are not allowed in public buildings, including stores, unless they are a veterinarian, groomer or kennel."

Meaning animals aren't even allowed in Sptitza's animal shop.

At a city council meeting this week, she called on aldermen to change the law, which was enacted in 1975.

"The ordinance is severely out of date, and that's okay," she said. "I feel that what we do is if we think that it needs to be changed, we go through the proper steps and change it."

Aldermen have since approved the use of resources to investigate how the ordinance can be changed.