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Pet safety Legislation moves from county to statehouse

2/14/2018, 8:06 a.m.
Public urged to voice support.

Pet Safety Legislation Moves from County to Statehouse

County board member urges public to voice support

JOLIET – Will County Board Member Suzanne Hart is calling on county residents to support animal safety bills as they make their way through Springfield. Senate Bill 2280, dubbed the Animal Welfare - Pet Shops bill, would put restrictions on the retail sale of dogs and cats by pet shop owners in Will and DuPage counties. It is awaiting committee assignment.

“Now is the time for citizens to step up and tell their lawmakers to vote for these bills,” said Legislative & Policy Committee Chair Suzanne Hart (Naperville). “I'm asking residents to make their voices heard so we can eradicate puppy mills and animal cruelty here for good. We need to provide a voice for these animals because they can't speak for themselves.”

SB2280 would require stores to only sell dogs and cats from a 501©3 organization. Consumers will also still have the option to purchase puppies from breeders; reputable, responsible breeders do not sell animals to pet stores, brokers, or online. The hope is that the legislation will curb the operation of unscrupulous breeders that often house many animals in poor conditions. The animals are often poorly bred leading to myriad health problems that can cost owners large sums of money.

The bill also requires animals to be at least eight weeks old before put up for sale, and for stores to keep specific records for each animal. State Sen. Michael Connelly (Naperville) originally sponsored the bill, with Sen. Bill Cunningham (Chicago) and Sen. Linda Holmes (Aurora) joining as co-sponsors.

“The DuPage and Will county boards have given me clear direction to move this legislation,” said Connelly. “Louie’s law will improve animal welfare standards, encourage pet adoption and responsible breeding. I will work closely with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make this happen.”

A second bill, HB4191, would allow individuals to rescue animals from motor vehicles without civil and criminal liability. This bill is sponsored by State Rep. David Olsen (Downers Grove) and awaiting committee assignment.

"As leader of the majority party, I'm proud that our entire caucus stands strongly in support of this legislation," said Chuck Maher (Naperville), Republican majority leader. "These are important changes we can make to protect a number of animals and pets in Illinois."

Both bills were part of the legislative agenda set by Will County and sent to Springfield in December.

"For many people, pets almost become members of the family," said Democratic Minority Leader, Herb Brooks Jr. (Joliet). "I'm sure residents of Will County will put their full support behind these bills in order to keep these animals safe."