The Illinois House Consumer Protection Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Monday, March 15, that would limit pet stores to sourcing dogs and cats only from shelters and rescues that have no affiliation with breeders.
Illinois residents and those who purchase dogs in Illinois are strongly encouraged to contact the committee and express your concerns with House Bill 1711. Scroll down for information on how to contact the committee.
Summary and Background:
The current law – the “Illinois Safe Pets Act” – passed in 2017 with support from the American Kennel Club, its state federation, and numerous other animal interest groups. This law required that pet stores source only from USDA-licensed kennels that met specific standards and did not have any direct (animal care) or critical non-compliant citations during an inspection.
House Bill 1711 removes these requirements and allows pet stores to source only from shelters or rescues that have no affiliation with breeders. The shelters must provide documentation to prove the previous ownership of the animal, if known, and that they complied with this provision. Shelters must also provide any information on veterinary treatments or inoculations the animal has received.
The pet store must still provide consumer protection remedies for selling sick puppies or dogs with congenital or hereditary defects.
AKC appreciates that documentation must be provided regarding the dog’s medical history (if known) and the reasons for the dog entering the shelter. However, this bill still significantly limits pet choice. Further, the consumer protection provisions will be extremely difficult for pet stores to comply with, as defects and other medical issues may not be immediately known when a dog is adopted from a rescue or shelter.
Talking Points Against HB 1711:
- There is a belief that these bills will end substandard breeding. However, fewer than 4 percent of pets purchased in the US come from pet shops. Those that are, are subject to animal welfare and consumer protection laws, which this bill removes. Furthermore, these laws limit choice and will do little to address any issues associated with substandard breeders.
- These bills will reduce the average person’s access and ability to choose a pet with the predictable type, mandated care, and substantiated health background that come with purebred pets from regulated sources. This measure is regressive because people who lack the resources or do not have access to private hobby breeders will be the most directly impacted.
- Since the bill does not allow rescues or shelters to source dogs from breeders, it would seem to imply that breeders should not be involved in rescue work. This undermines the dedicated volunteer efforts of breed experts and breeders who are part of AKC clubs and who regularly help dogs in need get appropriate assessments, care, and rehoming.
For additional talking points, visit AKC’s key issue page www.akcgr.org/petchoice
What You Can Do:
- Submit an online witness slip – Comments may be submitted directly to the committee by completing an online witness slip at this link. Select the bill you wish to comment on from the list and follow the online steps. Comments are accepted through the end of the day on March 15; however, the AKC recommends that they be submitted prior to the meeting, which begins at 4:00 pm on March 15.
- Contact the members of the House Consumer Protection Committee:
Jonathan Carroll, Chair
Elizabeth Hernandez, Vice Chair
Eva Dina Delgado
For more information on this bill, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at email@example.com.