Governor Pat Quinn today announced his support for legislation to end "puppy mill" sales at pet stores in Illinois. The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and State Representative Dan Burke (D-Chicago), would prohibit Illinois pet shops from selling dogs and cats they have acquired from commercial "breeders" -- often large facilities that mass-produce animals for sale. Today's announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to improve animal welfare in Illinois and protect pets and their owners.
"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."
Senate Amendment 1 to House Bill 4056 would require pet shops to sell only those dogs and cats they have acquired from an animal shelter or animal control facility. Pet shops could no longer sell dogs or cats they have acquired from a breeder, but the bill allows responsible breeders to sell directly to individuals. The legislation is supported by the Humane Society of the United States.
"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.
"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."
Many pet stores do not disclose the true origins of the animals they obtain from commercial breeding operations. The animals are often produced in unhealthy or inhumane environments that could result in heartache or large veterinary bills for unsuspecting buyers. Responsible breeders usually want to meet their buyers in person to ensure their puppies or kittens find a good home and that pet owners' questions about the animals can be fully answered.
"This legislation would help end the euthanasia of thousands of adoptable dogs and cats every year in the state, and will drive the market toward responsible breeders and adoptions of homeless animals from shelters and rescues instead of puppies produced in puppy mills," Kristen Strawbridge, Illinois State Director of the Humane Society of the United States said.
"This legislation is about both animal welfare and consumer protection," Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey said. "I commend Governor Quinn for his leadership on this issue that will make healthier pets and happier owners throughout Illinois."
"The filthy and abusive conditions found in puppy mills are beyond inhumane," said Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, who helped enact the city ordinance that inspired this proposed state legislation. "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."
Governor Quinn is the proud owner of a rescue dog named Rosie, a Yorkshire Terrier mix who he recently adopted from PAWS. The Governor has long been a pet lover and advocate for the humane treatment of animals. Last year he signed the "Puppy Lemon Law" to give buyers protection for pet purchases and to help reduce the possibility of emotional trauma that comes from losing a pet. He also signed new laws to help ensure that all dogs in Illinois are treated humanely when tethered outside and to provide humane options for stray farm animals such as adoption or placement in a sanctuary.