Puppy mill ban is a start, but the problem isn’t solved

A new state law that took effect last week prohibits pet stores in Illinois from selling dogs and cats from commercial breeders. It was the culmination of a long effort by animal welfare advocates. They say the new law shuts down a “puppy mill pipeline” that had supplied Illinois pet stores with dogs from large-scale out-of-state breeders whose conditions are not always humane. And it is, although excluding breeders from pet stores poses certain risks that suggest regulators still have work to do.

Under the new law, pet stores must source dogs and cats from animal facilities or shelters.

“Animal shelters, rescues and controls can partner with a pet store and offer dogs and cats for adoption,” said Marc Ayers, Illinois state director for the United States Humane Society. -United.

Puppy mills are often criticized for their inhumane and unsanitary conditions. Many facilities produce hundreds of puppies without properly caring for the parent dogs. Anything the state can do to improve the lives of these animals is a step in the right direction.

Support for the new law is widespread. Nineteen municipalities and three counties in Illinois have passed similar humane pet store ordinances since 2012. This list includes Algonquin, Buffalo Grove, Cook County, Lisle, Naperville, North Aurora, and Vernon Hills.

Local laws helped pave the way for the statewide ban, which Governor JB Pritzker signed into law last August. Pet store owners had 180 days to comply.


Pet store owners say the new law will force many businesses and breeders to close, cut jobs and take away consumer choices.

“It puts a target on pet stores, which are the most regulated entity in the state for buying a dog,” said Ana Soskic, president of Furry Babies pet store.

Soskic acknowledges puppy mills are a problem, but argues the new law is a flawed solution.

A bill supported by Furry Babies would allow pet store operators to sell dogs from “verified” breeders in or out of state.

“The only way to make a difference and shut down puppy mills is to put in place breeding standards that raise the standard of care,” Soskic said.

But Ayers says the proposed legislation would put forward unenforceable requirements. He noted that the Illinois Department of Agriculture does not have jurisdiction to apply the standards to out-of-state breeders.

As for the new law, it does not oblige pet shops to close. They just have to change the source of puppies and kittens in their stores.

Soskic says Furry Babies will try to change its business model and provide rescue dogs to families. We hope she and other pet stores make the transition successfully.

But we also hope that regulators won’t see this as the end of the problem. Other approaches need to be investigated and implemented to help improve the welfare of animals sold to the public and meet consumer demand.

Because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: loving homes for dogs, cats and other pets.