Small pet stores to be put out of business 

Animal welfare organizations unite say HB 1711 bad for dogs 

Springfield, Ill. — A diverse group of small business owners and animal welfare groups says the Illinois General Assembly is poised to pass a bill that will kill hundreds of jobs and small businesses around the state without achieving its stated goal of improving the health of animals.

“If Illinois lawmakers pass HB 1711 into law and the Governor signs it, Illinois government will do to small business people like me and hundreds of others what the global pandemic failed to do, put us all out of business,” said Ana Soskic, owner of Furry Babies pet stores. “This bill will not do one thing to help improve the welfare of dogs, but it does put pet stores out of business, while taking away consumer choice from families.”

Furry Babies says HB 1711 jeopardizes animal welfare in a few key ways:

  • While pet stores would be shut down, rescue operations could continue to purchase from any breeder or from a dog auction thus perpetuating puppy mills.
  • It fails to raise any animal standards or protections.
  • It severely limits customer choice on where to get their pet next.
  • Creates a monopoly for rescues by imposing a “double standard.” It requires a state warranty for commercially bred dogs to now cover rescue dogs, but only those sold by pet stores. Rescues would not be required to provide a similar warranty, making it more dangerous for animals.
  • It does not address the issue of substandard breeders across the state and penalizes responsible breeders.
  • This bill will drive consumers to shop online for their next pet, where they won’t be able to verify the quality or standards of care for the animals, putting consumers at risk to fall prey to internet scams.

“If we are truly interested in the welfare of our family pets and not in advancing the extreme agenda of special interest activist groups, implementing breeder standards ensures that the highest quality care for the dogs and puppies entering our communities,” said Soskic. “We want to see regulation that brings transparency to sourcing and consistent accountability measures across pet stores, rescues and shelters.”

The following diverse animal welfare organizations are opposed to HB 1711 as introduced: the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Happiness is Pets, Furry Babies, Citizens for Responsible Pet Ownership, American Kennel Club,  Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners,  Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and Protect the Harvest.

May 28, 2021
Anel Ruiz