The ban on the sale of commercially bred cats and dogs in pet stores could be going statewide…at least if Governor Quinn and some Illinois Lawmakers have their way. State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and State Representative Dan Burke (D-Chicago) have introduced legislation that would ban the sale of puppy mill dogs and kitten mill cats in the state pet stores.
The move comes on the heals of the approval of a measure in Chicago in February and Cook County in March outlawing the sale of commercially bred pets in pet stores. Like the city and county law, the new Illinois measure would require pet stores to obtain their dogs and cats from shelters, rescues and animal controls.
“This proposal will help end inhumane puppy mills, protect pet owners and help shelter animals find loving homes,” Governor Quinn said. “Cook County will soon offer this humane protection and together we can build on that momentum for families across Illinois.”
The move today is part of Governor Quinn’s larger agenda to improve animal welfare statewide. It builds on the so-called "puppy lemon law" passed last year that gives consumers protection for pet purchases and holds pet stores more accountable for selling unhealthy pets and misrepresenting the origin of pets sold in pet stores. It is part of a national trend to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs and commercially bred cats in pet stores.
“I would love to see the ban on the sale of cats and dogs go statewide,” says Cari Meyers of The Puppy Mill Project. “We’ve been working for years to educate consumers about the pet store-puppy mill connection and many people still have not connected the dots. Pet store puppies are bred in the cruelest conditions you can imagine with no regard for the health and welfare of the dogs. Also banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in Illinois pet stores will cut off the pipeline to hundreds of Midwest puppy mills."
“This measure ensures safer and more humane treatment of pets and will also guarantee that people will be able to purchase healthy dogs and cats,” Senator Kotowski said in a state issued press release.
“Pets are a part of many families, and this legislation will help when choosing one of these new family members,” Representative Burke said. “It will also reduce the number of shelter animals and bring more healthy pets into Illinois homes.”
Like the measure passed in Chicago and Cook County, the sole aim of the legislation is to prevent the sale of commercially bred dogs (puppy mill dogs) and cats from pet stores. Small scale breeders that sell directly to consumers are exempt. If passed, this would be the first statewide ban of pets in pet stores in the United States. Illinois already has some of the toughest animal welfare laws in the country.
“We would love to work with more stores to help them go humane by offering pets obtained from animal controls, rescue groups and humane societies up for adoption,” adds Meyers. “If you look at the work done by Dog Patch Pet and Feed in Naperville, you’ll see that it can be done. Dog Patch has saved so many lives since it’s stopped selling dogs…it’s a true success story.”
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has already started to stir up opposition to the bill. This is the same group that vouched for the origin of the pets sold in Chicago’s pet stores claiming they came from good breeders when USDA records showed that those dogs and cats came from breeders with massive violations or those not licensed at all. (See previous story - Zero tolerance for bad, out of state breeders.)
Here are some background stories on the Chicago and Cook County measures:
- Chicago moves to ban the sale of pets in pet stores
- Could puppy mill ban extend to Cook County
- Chicago Expected to ban pet store sales
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