New law requires health history of dogs, cats before sale

Flanked by Eddie Spaghetti and a dozen other furry, four-legged friends, Gov. Pat Quinn today signed a law aimed at protecting consumers before they buy a dog or cat that might come from a breeding mill.

As of Jan. 1, pet stores, animal shelters and control facilities must disclose on the cages of dogs and cats the name and location of their breeders, as well as the animal's medical history. The law is the first of its kind nationwide, said Jordan Matyas, Illinois state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Existing state law requires sellers to disclose pet information to consumers, but the law lacks teeth and doesn't say when sellers have to provide the information, Matyas said.

"This is a very important way in Illinois for us to get humane treatment of our animals," Quinn said as the tails and tongues of pets standing near him wagged. "We don't want anybody buying an animal that has been inhumanely treated before its sale, and unfortunately that has existed."

Fines for disobeying the new law can cost up to $1,000 and include mandatory probation.Matyas said the law is key, but he also wants consumers to fight the urge to buy an adorable puppy from a pet shop and research the dog's breeder first.

Chuck Hartke is a consultant for Petland and Happiness Is Pets, a chain of suburban Chicago pet stores, and negotiated hard against what he said were stiff requirements that would put his clients out of business. He said he's happy with the final product.

"No pet shop wants to sell a puppy or a kitten that is not healthy because it's not good for business," Hartke said.

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Well, it's a start, folks. Once you have a name, a little internet searching will tell you more about where that puppy in the window came from. You just have to do the research.

Tags: Illinois, breeders, laws, mills, pet, puppy, stores

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Replies to This Discussion

It is a beginning and more than the rest of us have. The flaw I see is that many times shelter animals were abandoned and their background is unknown.
Yes, I really don't see how they could implement this law with shelter & animal control facilities. So many of the dogs are strays, or abandoned. And even the owner relinquished dogs have often not seen a vet, or the owner doesn't have the paperwork. But it will maybe compel the mills & brokers to at least maintain some standard of veterinary care if the stores have to display it along with the cute puppies.
I'll tell you, though, this law would have meant the world to me if it had been in place when I adopted Jack. Because the shelter had his original paperwork from the pet store, and refused to let me see it or give me the information on the "breeder". I don't even know where he was born, and the information was available.
I know you know what it feels like, Nancy, to wonder about their beginnings.
Disclosure would be wonderful, even if it only helps a small number of dogs in Jack's situation and for all I know, there was info on Clancy. But telling the pet stores and mills to disclose even if there is no teeth for enforcement, is such a huge step. I am so proud of Illinois.
Hooray, someone with some authority is concerned about furpeople, too! With the advent of i-phones, one can easily investigate the breeder at cage-side, before commiting. Now if we can get the other 49 states to follow...

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