Illinois Now Set to Be Fifth State to Ban Sales of Dogs and Cats at Pet Stores


The vote was bipartisan, 38 to 12 on May 31, the Illinois Senate voted to support HB 1711 to ban the retail sales of dogs and cats at pet stores.

The reason: No Responsible Breeder Ever Sells to a Pet Store!

This follows the April 15 route in the House of Representatives with a  76 to 24 in favor of the bill HB 1711. “It’s just awesome for a humane ordinance that reached across the aisle and brought people together from the entire state,” Illinois Rep. R-Andrew Chesney (89th District), who sponsored the bill, told me at the time.

The Senate was supposed to be a heavy lift, and it was to an extent. However, clearly the public is in favor of blocking the puppy mill pipeline into Illinois. Also, right is right and puppies and kitties can reach beyond the scope of politics, or pressure from the lobbyists. And there was what some might have predicted to be insurmountable pressure from the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and the pet store industry. They even organized a website filled with misinformation, which I rebuked. However, Senator Linda Holmes and others (on both sides of the aisle) stood up for what’s right.

It’s not a done deal yet, as Governor J.B. Pritzker needs to ink the bill. No harm in contacting his office. However, in all likelihood, with his humane track record, the bill will be signed.

In April, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State signed a Humane Pet Sales Bill, making Washington state the fourth in the nation to prohibit the sales of dogs and cats at pet stores, joining California, Maryland, Maine. That’s not to mention nearly 400 cities and many counties that have also stood up to puppy mills that supply these stores with their dogs and cats.

Chicago was an early adopter to ban sales of dogs, cats and rabbits at retail pet stores, but a loophole in the ordinance prevented enforcement and allowed the puppy mills and stores to defraud consumers. That loophole was finally closed in the Windy City in late April. Due to one obstinate alderman, it almost didn’t happen. No matter, Chicago – as it turns out – would have fallen under this state-wide ban.

In Illinois, currently 22 cities already ban retail stores sales of dogs and cats (and in some places rabbits also). Joliet, IL and their residents and advocates had been fighting hard to support a humane  ordinance, now they’ve got one – or at least once the Governor signs this into law. And six months later (hopefully before Christmas sales) the law goes into effect.

While many worked one way or another on this bill (yours truly included),  most noteworthy and savvy is Marc Ayers, Illinois Director of the Humane Society of the United States. Having said that, countless thousands of residents have expressed their views overwhelmingly by reaching out to public officials. The momentum is clear as other states have similar laws in their cues and ready to go.