Animal advocates are stepping up big time in Illinois to do something about the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills. First Chicago passed a ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs, which was followed by a ban covering all of Cook County. Now lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban the sale of commercially bred dogs at pet stores throughout the entire state.
The bill, HB 4025, is being sponsored by Senator Dan Kotowski and State Representative Dan Burke and will require that pet stores only sell cats and dogs who are from shelters or animal control facilities and would stop pet stores from obtaining animals from other states to sell.
“This proposal will help end inhumane puppy mills, protect pet owners and help shelter animals find loving homes,” said Governor Quinn in a statement. “Cook County will soon offer this humane protection and together we can build on that momentum for families across Illinois.”
The move is part of a larger effort to improve animal welfare in the state and protect both people and pets from unscrupulous breeders. Supporters hope that it will not only shut down outlets for selling mill dogs and save families from the heartache of getting a sick dog, but that it will also save thousands of animals from being killed in shelters every year.
If the bill passes, Illinois would become the first state in the U.S. to enact a statewide ban on the retail sale of animals from commercial breeders.
Lawmakers point out that stores don’t always tell people the truth about where their dogs are coming from, or just say they’re from breeders who are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, having a license doesn’t mean much when it comes to providing even basic care for dogs.
As part of Puppy Mill Awareness Week, the Humane Society of the United States just released its annual list of 101 Problem Puppy Mills and two of them are in Illinois – Christianson Kennels in Poplar Grove and Lettier Kennel in Caledonia.
One featured on last year’s list, the Puppy Parlor, wasn’t just a pet store peddling puppy mills puppies, it was an actual mill with dogs being kept and bred in a backroom. Fortunately, following regular protests it closed its doors for good this spring, and 35 dogs were rescued by the Almost Home Foundation.
Animal advocates are sure that if pet stores told the truth about where they got their animals, people would stop shopping there for pets.
“The filthy and abusive conditions found in puppy mills are beyond inhumane,” said Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, who helped lead efforts to stop the sale of mill dogs in Chicago. “This legislation is about protecting not only the pets we love, but also the consumers who want to provide a loving home to an animal that needs one. I’m very proud that the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are national leaders when it comes to humane animal laws.”
For opponents of laws that stop pet stores from selling puppies and kittens from commercial breeders, they’re not going to stop anyone from getting a dog or cat. There are plenty of breed-specific rescues around, and people can still turn to responsible breeders, none of who would ever let their dogs go to pet stores in the first place.
Please sign and share the petition urging lawmakers in Illinois to take a stand for both animals and consumers by supporting this historic piece of legislation.
For more info on the problems with puppy mills in Illinois, visit the Puppy Mill Project.
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