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Legislation in Illinois would ban puppy mill sales at pet stores

5 months, 2 weeks ago Rachel Stella, NewsTribune Reporter

Would require pet stores to sell dogs and cats acquired from an animal shelter or animal control facility

From Rachel Stella, NewsTribune Reporter:

Could dogs and cats be moving from shelters to pet stores?


Proposed legislation would require pet stores in Illinois to sell only those dogs and cats they have acquired from an animal shelter or animal control facility, according to a Thursday news release from Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.
The would-be law is meant to oppose commercial breeding facilities, also known as “puppy mills,” which “mass-produce” animals “in unhealthy or inhumane environments that could result in heartache or large veterinary bills for unsuspecting buyers,” the release said.


But Chris Ellberg, executive director of the Illinois Valley Animal Rescue shelter in La Salle, called the policy “a double-edged sword.”


Selling animals from animal control would give them a chance to live, and pulling animals from shelters would relieve shelter overcrowding, Ellberg said. But she said pet shops wouldn’t screen their customers the way IVAR screens people interested in pet adoption.


IVAR kennel manager Jeremy McIntosh agreed.
“We want to make sure that all these dogs have homes,” McIntosh said. “But at the same time, we spend a of time, effort and the public’s money to make sure they go to good homes.”
McIntosh has misgivings about sending any of the IVAR animals to pet stores, even though they may be trying to abide by the laws.


“In theory, it sounds great,” he said about the proposed legislation. “As an animal rescuer, we put our heart into this, and we need to make sure they go to good homes.”


The policy would allow “responsible” breeders to sell directly to individuals, the release said. These 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,” according to the release.
Andy Arnold, owner of Andy’s Pet Shop in Peru, said he supported the policy.


“I’m all for pushing for the ban,” Arnold said. “I think it’s better to buy a dog from the breeder yourself, so you know where it’s coming from.”
Arnold said he believed in “adoption first,” and that he took The Humane Society’s pledge to not sell puppies in his store.

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