Drama in Illinois: So Far Anyway, Law Stands – No Dogs or Cats Sold at Pet Stores


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In September, 2021 Illinois became the fifth state to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet stores. Despite bipartisan votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Governor J. B. Pritzker enthusiastically signing the bill; an opposition has created a new bill, HB4643, to overturn what was previously passed into law and therefore to support puppy mills and large warehouse facilities where pet stores get their dogs and/ cats for sale from.

The new proposal (HB4643) was supposed to have been called Tuesday (February 15) by John Carroll (D), chair of the Illinois Committee on Consumer Protection. But that never happened because HB4643 sponsor Rep. William Davis (D) never showed up for the meeting.

Here’s the backstory – such as it is: Rep. Davis didn’t show for this committee – which he actually isn’t even on – but managed to wrangle himself into. Rep. Davis was a no show because he didn’t have the needed four votes to get HB4643 passed out of Committee and on to the House floor.

As desperation ensued on Tuesday, a game of political hopscotch ensued. Davis was able to substitute a member on to the committee who would vote his way and booted off someone who wouldn’t. “It’s legal, highly unusual and definitely demonstrates desperation,” says Marc Ayers, Illinois Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

After wrangling all day, by the time the Committee met late Tuesday afternoon, Davis realized he didn’t have the votes, so he simply didn’t show. And HB4643 wasn’t called. That’s important to note because there was no “no” vote

Between now and this Friday at 5 p.m., should Rep. Davis decide he has the votes, he could ask for the Committee to be hastily called to vote, and it will be.

HB4643 is a product of Petland and Furry Babies, who reportedly employed six lobbyists to work the bill. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars spent to support their business model and in the process puppy mills.

Should HB4643 be called before Friday and passed, the bill will be heard next week by the House of Representatives, where a 60 percent plus one vote is required to pass. That’s somewhat unlikely. And even if that happens, the Senate will then have to call the bill and ultimately pass it before it could go to Gov. Pritzker for a signature and become law. Likely, though, HB4643 would be dead-on-arrival at the Senate. Still, who would have thought a bill to dismantle the humane law passed law year to end the puppy mill pipeline into Illinois could ever be pushed so hard?

Even if this ends Friday – it won’t. Lawsuits will likely be filed in an attempt dismantle the law to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet stores, as has occurred elsewhere in the country. And the Courts have upheld the laws banning sales of dogs and cats.

Meanwhile, the Illinois law to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet stores is set to go into effect February 23.