An open letter to the Illinois General Assembly: Oppose SB 1882 & HB 2824

Dear General Assembly:

Legislation that threatens home rule and protects animal abusers has been introduced in the Illinois House and Senate. The national and local animal welfare community, local governments, and the pet-loving population of Illinois have come together to oppose these bills (SB 1882 and HB 2824), and we ask you to join us. Here’s why:

The bills would make it easier for puppy mills to sell dogs in Illinois. In puppy mills, breeding dogs can spend their entire lives in small, filthy wire cages and may be denied basic veterinary care, exercise and socialization. Puppy mills depend on pet stores to sell their puppies because pet stores allow this cruelty to remain hidden. The bills would secure the puppy mill – pet store supply chain by ensuring that no city, town or county in Illinois could prevent pet stores from sourcing from mills, not even those that already have such a law in place.

The bills would strip citizens of their right to address local issues with local elected officials. The people of Chicago, Cook County, Waukegan, and Warrenville’s voices were heard when each of these localities enacted ordinances restricting the sale of commercially bred puppies in pet stores. Contrary to the will of the people, these bills would void those ordinances. They would also rob local governments of their home rule authority. Local officials would no longer be able to protect citizens or animals from inhumane puppy mills that supply the retail pet trade nor would they be able to adequately manage pet overpopulation.

The bills would protect those who profit from cruel puppy mills, at the expense of consumers and animals. Over 200 localities across the nation have passed ordinances to restrict the sale of puppies in pet stores as a reasonable and effective means of preventing the importation of poorly bred puppies from mostly out-of-state breeding facilities. These ordinances also protect consumers from a deceptive sales model, predatory lending schemes, and the likelihood of ending up with sick and behaviorally challenged puppies that can add to the local shelter population when the cost of treating these pets becomes unmanageable. Instead of cleaning up its act, the industry is responding to these ordinances by asking state legislatures to shield it from local regulation. States who give in to this request are protecting the abusers.

The bills would result in a weak and unenforceable law that would allow puppy-selling pet stores to operate without any consequences. Compared to other state pet store sourcing laws, Illinois’ would be the weakest. The bills contain massive loopholes that would allow Illinois pet stores to source from some of the worst puppy mills in the country—those that are completely unregulated and those with egregious and numerous USDA violations. Perhaps most alarming, the bills would give consumers a completely false sense that the state requires pet stores to only source from quality, humane breeders.

We urge you to oppose SB 1882 and HB 2824. It’s the right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, The Puppy Mill Project and

Adopt A Pet, All Herding Breed Rescue, Angels on Wheels Animal Rescue, Animal Heartline, Animal Protective
League (Springfield, Illinois), Barriers Against Repeated Cruelty (BARC Chicago), Barrington Area Animal
Rescue & Kennels (B.A.A.R.K. Dog Rescue), Be Fido’s Friend Rescue, Belly Up For Adoptions, Blackdog All Breed
Rescue, Chi Town Pitties, Chicago Alliance for Animals, Chicagoland Eskie Rescue, Community Animal Rescue
Effort (CARE), Crest Hill Cat & DogEvanston Animal Shelter, Faith, Hope and Charity for Animals, Forever Home
Feline Ranch, Forget Me Not Animal Rescue, Foster 2 Home, Foster Pet Outreach, Friends of Oak Forest Animal
Control, Furrever Friends Rescue, Green Pup Shelter, Hopeful Tails Animal Rescue, Humane Society of Aurora,
Illinois Animal Welfare Federation, Illinois Saint Bernard Rescue, K9 Enrichment Initiative, Inc., Lucky Dog
Rescue, Magnificent Mutts, Making a Difference Rescue, Naperville Area Humane Society, National
Association of Veterinarians in America, North Chicago Animal Control, One Tail at a Time, Operation SAFE,
PAWS Chicago, Paws Crossed Rescue Resource, Perfect Pooches Adoption Agency, Perry County Humane
Society, Quincy Humane Society, Realtors to the Rescue, Rescue ME Clifford, Roll Over Animal Rescue, Roscoe
Village Animal Hospital, SAFE Now Animal Rescue & Foster, Safe Pets for Joliet, Second Nature Wildlife
Rehabilitation, Shiba Ina Rescue Association, Streetside Paws Veterinary Care (Dr. Suma Raju), The First Step
Rescue, Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills (VPAPM)

 

Download a PDF of this letter from March 14, 2017