(June 24, 2016)— An Illinois state court has largely rejected a second request by the Chicago pet store chain Furry Babies, Inc., to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Illinois consumers. The lawsuit alleges that the chain sold sick puppies from puppy mills to unsuspecting customers in violation of consumer protection laws. The court’s ruling found that the plaintiffs have presented enough evidence of deceptive conduct to allow the case to proceed to trial.
Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement: “Well-intentioned dog lovers are often duped into buying puppy mill dogs that were raised in the most horrific conditions. As a result, their families bear the great expense of veterinary treatment for sick dogs or the terrible anguish of losing a beloved family pet. It’s time to stop this shameless industry from abusing consumers and dogs alike.”
Due to concerns about puppies coming from disreputable sources, many local jurisdictions have passed measures to ban or restrict the sale of commercially-bred dogs in pet stores, including several Illinois jurisdictions. The HSUS urges pet stores to transition to a humane model in which stores work with rescues and shelters to offer homeless dogs, or expand their services and products instead of selling puppies.
The consumers in this lawsuit are represented pro bono by the international law firm Locke Lord LLP, along with attorneys from The HSUS and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.