Elk Grove Village couple Cindy and Kent Weik say Shih Tzu breeding is more of a hobby than a business.
It’s about providing dog lovers with healthy, purebred puppies and finding loving homes for their “children,” they say.
Village officials see it differently and are suing the Weiks, claiming they are breaking the village ordinance by organizing a dog-breeding operation outside their home.
The couple own 12 dogs, including eight Shih Tzu females and two males, which they have been raising since 2009, and four puppies. Initially, the couple had never intended to reproduce them, said Cindy Weik.
âWe had such a bad experience (with breeders),â she said of getting a puppy with health issues from a breeder.
To make sure this wouldn’t happen again, the Weiks decided to go into breeding.
âI loved the experience,â she said. “I loved having the puppies around and we never spayed or neutered the dogs.”
Weik said she called the village to ask if there was an order against the breeding of dogs.
“I never thought of (asking) can I sell them from home?” She added.
Although animal breeding is allowed in the village of Elk Grove as long as the animal does not produce more than two litters per year, when the Weiks decided to sell their puppies, it caused them problems with the village.
Selling puppies at home, depending on the village, violates ordinances prohibiting any kind of commercial, commercial or industrial activity or home occupation in a residential area. The village’s complaint was originally filed in the housing court for nuisance and zoning violations, but the couple are now fighting in Cook County Circuit Court.
Last week, a judge dismissed the Weiks’ request for summary judgment without having to stand trial. A status hearing on the civil case is scheduled for September 4 at the Cook County Courthouse in Rolling Meadows.
If the village ordinance is violated, the Weiks could be required to pay a minimum of $ 25 and a maximum of $ 500 for each day a violation has occurred since the initial complaint was filed, the district attorney said. George Knickerbocker village.
The problems started over a year ago when a neighbor complained of excessive barking in the courtyard of the Weiks in the early hours of the morning and of many people coming and going from the house.
The village followed up with a survey conducted by its environmental health division. At the time, the Weiks had seven female and two male Shih Tzu, as well as two other dogs, Knickerbocker said.
âAll the dogs were out at 4:30 am to do their business, and they barked,â Knickerbocker said. âEvery morning for 18 months, they woke up their neighbor. For two and a half hours each morning, she was woken up.â
Knickerbocker said the neighbor asked the Weiks on three occasions to do something about the barking of their dogs before filing a complaint with the village in February 2012. The couple received a warning in April 2012 to reduce the nuisance, said he added.
The Weiks deny their dogs were barking at this time and say they responded to the neighbor’s concerns, even erecting a 6-foot-high wooden fence between their properties at the request of the village.
The biggest problem now is their home breeding business, Knickerbocker said.
“You are not allowed to occupy housing in a residential area,” he said. âThey had litters and litters of puppies, selling them anywhere for about $ 1,000 per puppy. Their dogs would have litters once or twice a year, every seven. They pointed it out to one. of our inspectors at one point they made in one year only $ 30,000. People came on Saturdays and Sundays to see the litters. “
Knickerbocker said the couple also had a website for their business, Chi-town Shih Tzu LLC, and openly advertised the dog boarding they previously sold.
âWe are not naive that (other) people are using their homes for their occupation,â Knickerbocker said. âUnless someone complains, we won’t know. We’re not going to go into every house and do these inspections.
The Weiks say they stopped selling the puppies from their home after the village filed its complaint. Since then, they have been selling the puppies off-site and on the Internet for âless than market valueâ.
âI meet people at the pet store, groomers, vets,â said Cindy Weik. “No one is allowed to come here to see them. They have to wait until they are old enough (6 weeks to 8 weeks) to be seen outside the house.”
Kent Weik said the couple spend more money on raising and breeding the dogs than they earn by selling the puppies, which cost between $ 600 and $ 1,000.
âIf I want to put a pen in there with everything it takes to raise these guys at eight weeks, the vet, the foodâ¦ we’re not doing this to make money,â he said. “If I took advantage of it, I would have a boat, a lot of things. It’s not a viable business.”
âWe live for dogs,â he added. âThese are our children. They are our family.
Weik said he was not sure they will continue to breed dogs, but added, “I am not going to see an incident dictate my life.”
Elk Grove Village does not have an ordinance limiting the number of dogs or pets in a home. But that too could change after the Weiks case is revealed.
âIt was reviewed by the board of health several years ago,â Knickerbocker said. âIf you have a large number of dogs but have taken care of them meticulously and they haven’t become a nuisance to the neighbors, then the village didn’t want to be Big Brother. We have other miscellaneous orders which we have. can regulate actual use in a home. “
The village’s judicial, planning and zoning committee met again last month on the matter and remains undecided.