Humane Pet Store Bill Passes in Illinois
In the late hours of May 31st, the Illinois Senate passed HB1711 and marked a historic moment in Illinois animal-welfare history. This bipartisan-supported bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives by a resounding 76 to 24 vote in April and then passed the Senate by a 38 to 12 vote. When signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, HB1711 will amend the Illinois Animal Welfare Act to stop the sale of commercially-bred puppies and kittens in Illinois pet stores. Pet stores can continue to sell puppies and kittens that were obtained from in-state or out-of-state animal control facilities and shelters. With Governor Pritizker’s signature, Illinois would become the 5th state to adopt a humane pet store law-Maryland, Maine, California and Washington state have also adopted similar pieces of legislation.
The intent of this bill is to cut off the puppy, and kitten, mill pipeline into Illinois pet stores and protect Illinois consumers from purchasing puppies and kittens that were born in commercial-breeding facilities. It is a well-accepted fact that puppies and kittens born in commercial-breeding facilities are oftentimes behaviorally and medically unhealthy. Consumers that purchase these animals are frequently burdened with the financial and emotional implications of having an unhealthy pet. In addition, by cutting off the demand for these animals at the pet store level, there will be a reduced need for puppy and kitten mills to exist, thus decreasing the animal cruelty that is prevalent in commercial-breeding facilities.
An important component of HB 1711 is that is does not call for the closure of existing pet stores-it asks that pet stores convert to a humane business model. Many successful pet stores already use this business model such as Petco, PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus and Dog Patch in Naperville, Illinois. In addition, this bill will not affect small, hobby and responsible breeders that do not sell their puppies and kittens to pet stores.
Passing a bill of this magnitude took a massive effort, from many parties, to rally advocates from across the state, and nation, into action. Stop Online Puppy Mills; The Humane Society of the United States; Go Humane Illinois; Best Friends Animal Society; and Bailing Out Benji were all instrumental in firing up grass-root advocates to call their Senators and Representatives asking for their support of HB1711. The overwhelming bipartisan support for this piece of legislation demonstrates that Illinois law makers and constituents’ value humane treatment of animals and consumer protection over party lines and over greedy business practices. A special debt of gratitude is extended to the legislators that championed this bill in Springfield-State Representative Andrew Chesney, Senator Cristina Castro and Senator Linda Holmes were critical in the successful journey of HB1711 through the Illinois General Assembly.
It is with great anticipation that we await the Governor’s signature that will transition this bill into law. We urge Governor Pritzker to sign this bill without hesitation-it is the right thing to do and it’s what Illinois citizens want. SOPM wishes to thank all those individuals that provided leadership in getting the bill passed, and we wish to thank every individual that took a stand and became a voice for the animals. Our fight is not over, and we will continue to educate the community about the horrors of puppy mills and educate the consumer about humane sources from which to obtain a dog. We will not stop until this industry is eradicated. But for now, we will take pride in our accomplishment and sleep well tonight knowing we all made a difference-together.
Stop Online Puppy Mills