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August 17, 2013

Illinois Protects Consumers from Buying Sick Pets

Pet stores in Illinois that sell sick puppies will now be held more accountable under a new law.  Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 1639 during a ceremony at Wiggly Field, making Illinois the 21st state to pass a pet lemon law.

Sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, SB 1639 allows consumers to receive reimbursement for veterinary costs up to 21 days after purchasing a puppy or kitten if the animal was sick at the time of the sale. If the dog or cat has a significant genetic condition, the consumer has up to a year to receive reimbursement for veterinary costs. The legislation also requires pet stores to report outbreaks of animal diseases to the Department of Agriculture, and requires that they notify consumers who bought a cat or dog from the store in the last two weeks if outbreaks occur. The law was sparked, in part, by a distemper outbreak that resulted in the deaths of several puppies in at least two Chicagoland pet stores last year.   

Kristen Strawbridge, Illinois state director for The Humane Society of the United States said: “This long awaited law is a great victory for Illinois consumers. It will prevent people from suffering the heartbreak of having to bear the financial cost of acquiring a sick pet. Pet stores that sell sick puppies to consumers will now be held accountable.”

Pet store puppies are often sick because the majority of them come from puppy mills, large commercial breeding facilities where conditions are often overcrowded, unsanitary and inhumane. A report released by The HSUS last year linked dozens of Chicagoland pet stores to puppy mills.

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