The Illinois state legislature passed unanimously a bill at the beginning of summer which requires pet store owners and other pet sellers to disclose more detailed information about the origins of the animals for sale. The bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act and Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act to require the disclosure of the name and address of the breeder, a record of all veterinary conditions and treatments, and information about congenital or hereditary defects of the animals’ parents. Consumers likewise need to sign a consent form, acknowledging that they have been given this information. You can track the bill’s status and content through the Illinois State Legislature.
Likewise, this information is required to be posted near the cat (or dog) itself so that a customer can see the disclosures as they are looking at potential new pets. The purpose of the bill is to provide consumers with the information necessary to make an educated and informed purchasing decision before making the commitment to buy. All too often, as bill co-sponsor Rep. Susana Mendoza (Chicago) laments, “too many Illinois citizens have purchased puppies from pet stores only to find that their new best friend is terribly ill or even dying due to substandard breeding conditions and that they have inadvertently supported the cruel puppy mill industry.” The same is true for kittens and kitten mills.
The law applies not only to pet stores, but to any sale, including adoptions as well as sales over the internet. Animal shelters usually follow these guidelines anyway, which is why news coverage focuses so heavily on pet stores, particularly those that use mills (unlicensed dog and cat breeding facilities with substandard living and medical conditions) to obtain their animals. Still, this bill does not discriminate — it applies to shelters and stores alike.
Encyclopedia Britannica’s Advocacy for Animals spells out the details of what information would need to be disclosed: “(1) The total retail price of the dog or cat, including any additional fees or charges; (2) Basic information about the dog or cat, including, if known: the breed, age, date of birth, sex, and color; (3) Information regarding any inoculations or medical treatments provided to the dog or cat; (4) Information about the breeder, and any middleman or broker; (5) Information about the dog or cat’s parents’ health history to the extent either the parents or other offspring had any known congenital or hereditary diseases; (6) If the dog or cat is eligible for registration with a pedigree registry (such as the AKC), information regarding such eligibility; (7) If the dog or cat was previously returned by a customer, information regarding such return; (8) Information regarding the pet store’s return policy, and any warranties or guarantees.”
Passed unanimously by the state legislatures, the bill was sent for signature to Governor Pat Quinn on June 24, 2010. If passed, this law would go into effect January 1, 2011. Contact Governor Quinn and let him know you support HB5772/SB3633! No fancy, long message is needed, but if you would like a form letter or help with writing, please feel free to email me.
For more resources, check out information from the following organizations:
PAWS Chicago The News-Gazette Humane Society of the United States
UPDATE: Governor Quinn did sign the bill into law on August 20th. Check out the news article at Chicago Breaking News.