Two weeks ago, Gov. Quinn announced he would support a proposed bill that would make Illinois the first state in the United States to require pet shops to sell dogs and cats acquired only from an animal shelter or animal control facility, according to a press release.
When buying a pet some people may not know where the cat or dog from the pet store may have come from. They do not know where or how the animal was bred or if they were kept properly before arriving to the pet store, according to Veterinary Technician Valerie Papuga.
Papuga, who volunteers at the Treehouse Humane Society giving cats their medication, said that she fell victim to puppy mills in both her professional and personal life. She said she worked at a pet store that got their puppies from puppy mills.
“I would see them come in on trucks in little cages,” said Papuga, who describe it as disgusting. Papuga said that she rescued her dog from being euthanized after it had been scratched in the eye at the puppy mill.
“He was not deemed good enough to sell, [he was] a perfectly healthy dog,” said Papuga.
Papuga said she got her dogs in terrible ways. She said she quit her pet store job because of its practice of getting dogs from puppy mills.
The state bill is like ordinances passed in Chicago and Cook County.
Patrick Corcoran, spokesman for Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, said that the city clerk is happy that the Governor has decided to support the bill.
Mendoza, along with some of the city’s aldermen, backed The Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance for the city, which as of March 5, 2015, will require retail pet stores to sell animals from only shelters and other humane not-for-profit organizations, according to the city clerk website.
The Cook County Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Ordinance goes into effect in October and would affect suburban area pet stores.
Kady Walker, adoption counselor, humane educator and volunteer assistant at the Tree House Humane Society, located at 1212 W Carmen Ave., shared Jacobs excitement on the possibility of the bill’s passage. The Tree House Humane Society is a cageless no-kill humane society for cats.
But she also said, the United States is behind in animal rights compared to other countries. She mentioned the declawing of cats as an example, stating that some countries, such as the four that make up the United Kingdom, have outlawed the practice altogether.
Various cities in California have also banned declawing cats.
Walker said she is proud of what Illinois is doing so far and that she interested to see how it will progress. But she said she hopes that the bill will slow breeders down and force them to be more humane to animals.
“Just making it illegal could be better for animals,” Walker said.
She said that this would help prevent the overpopulation of cats which is at 50,000 to 75,000 strays in the city of Chicago.
“We see a lot of dogs who come from puppy mills who are poorly bred,” said Dr. Kjerstin Jacbos, a veterinarian at the Metropolitan Veterinary Center, located at 1556 S Michigan Ave.
Jacobs, a veterinarian for 15 years, 12 of those years in Chicago, said the bill would be a step in the right direction and she is excited.
Not all are on board with bills such as these. The Chicago Veterinary Association released a statement on its website, that reads: The group “strongly believes that ongoing education of the public is a much more effective method to increase pet owner awareness and bring about the desired positive change necessary to address valid concerns regarding unethical, unscrupulous breeders who are the ultimate problem.”
The association also said that the ban will impact the legitimate adoptions through veterinarian’s offices, while puppy mill breeders would find alternative ways to sell the animals they breed.
Walker and Jacobs both mentioned that pet owners are often shocked when bringing home pets they bought from pet stores to find out that they were sick.
“They feel like they’re rescuing this little puppy from the pet store, but really that’s just promoting the practice,” said Jacobs.