A proposed Puppy Lemon Law has moved out of the Illinois Senate executive committee and is a step closer to consideration. The proposed legislation passed committee yesterday and has been placed on a hearing calendar for a public reading for Tuesday, April 30.
The Puppy Lemon Law would allow consumers to seek a refund, replacement and/or reimbursement of necessary veterinary costs if they purchased an animal with an undisclosed disease or illness while allowing sellers to contest the remedy. The puppy lemon law would also require pet shops to notify customers and the state veterinarian of any significant outbreak of contagious diseases.
The Puppy Lemon Law will help give consumers more recourse if they purchase sick dogs from pet stores that may have come from puppy mills. You can show your support and help move the bill forward by calling your senator and asking for his or her support for the bill. You may also sign up to stay updated on the status of the Animal Welfare - Puppy Lemon Law by registering your email and password under "Follow this Bill" at this link.
There are currently 17 states that have pet lemon laws. This new law would add Illinois to the list. About 99 percent of the dogs sold in pet stores come from large-scale commercial breeding operations known as puppy mills. Some of the documented problems include overbreeding, inbreeding, minimum veterinary care and the lack of monitoring of other health issues.
“Because of these poor breeding situations, pets sold in pet stores are often sick and have other long-term health issues,” according to The Puppy Mill Project, an advocacy group that educates consumer about puppy mills and their connection to dogs sold in pet stores and online. Consumers often don’t find out about serious problems until after they’re facing large veterinary bills to correct the problem or worse.
Just last year, an outbreak of canine distemper was traced directly to the Chicago-area pet chain Happiness is Pets. The stores continued to sell puppies to the public during the outbreak without warning buyers that their puppies may have been exposed to the disease.
Over a two month period, around 12 confirmed cases of canine distemper were discovered in puppies purchased from the Happiness is Pets chain of stores. All but one of the dogs either died or were euthanized.
While distemper is not contagious to humans, it is highly contagious among dogs. Prior to this outbreak, canine distemper had nearly been eradicated in most parts of Illinois. Happiness is Pets is currently the subject of consumer fraud lawsuit connected to the distemper outbreak.
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