Target: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Goal: Commend governor for signing new law to protect people who buy sick animals from pet stores
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law during a ceremony at Wiggly Field dog park recently, which makes pet stores that sell sick animals more accountable. This makes Illinois the 21st state to pass a pet lemon law.
Kristen Strawbridge, Illinois state director for The Humane Society of the United States said: “This long awaited law is a great victory for Illinois consumers. It will prevent people from suffering the heartbreak of having to bear the financial cost of acquiring a sick pet. Pet stores that sell sick puppies to consumers will now be held accountable.”
This bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski, allows consumers to receive reimbursement for veterinary costs up to 21 days after purchasing a puppy or kitten if the animal was sick at the time of the sale. If the animal has a significant genetic condition, the consumer has up to a year to receive reimbursement for veterinary costs.
This new legislation also requires pet stores to report outbreaks of animal diseases to the Department of Agriculture, and requires that they notify consumers who bought an animal from the store in the last two weeks of the outbreak. A distemper outbreak that resulted in the deaths of several puppies in at least two Chicago area pet stores last year was partial inspiration for the law.
Unfortunately, because most pet stores sell puppy mill puppies, pets may often be ill or have a genetic condition due to inbreeding. In puppy mills, animals are kept in cramped, often unsanitary conditions, forced to breed frequently and without discretion for the owner’s maximum profit. According to a report by the Humane Society of the United States, at least a dozen or more pet stores in the Chicago area sell puppy mill puppies. The pet stores investigated denied they sold puppies from puppy mills, and most did not comply with a law passed in 2010 by the State requiring pet shops to “post in a conspicuous place in writing on or near the cage of any dog or cat available for sale the information required by subsection (a) of this section.”1 The information required includes the price, age, health and immunization history, and the name and address of the animal’s breeder. Many pet stores, like most of the ones investigated by the Humane Society of the United States, lie about where the puppies come from as well, making it hard to discern whether or not the puppy is a puppy mill puppy and prone to health issues.
Clearly, this law is necessary in Chicago and other places in Illinois, as well as the rest of the country. Commend Governor Pat Quinn for looking out for animals in pet stores and the people who rescue them.
Dear Governor Quinn,
Thank you for signing the law to make pet stores more accountable for the health of the animals they sell, especially puppies and kittens. Since these animals often come from places like puppy mills where conditions and animals’ health are deplorable, the consumer who purchases these animals need protection, which this law does.
Pet stores in Illinois, especially in the Chicago area, need to be more accountable. Making them report sickness in the pets they sell is a great step towards healthier animals and a consumer who can enjoy their new pet. Thank you for signing this law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: wsilver via Flickr