Editor’s Note: (Sept. 12, 2016) the Humane Society of the United States has announced that a settlement agreement has been reached in the consumer protection lawsuit against the Furry Babies pet store chain. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Furry Babies may only sell puppies from breeders with no serious Animal Welfare Act violations on their most recent USDA inspection reports and the pet store chain must also provide each customer with a copy of the breeder’s most recent USDA inspection report.

Kimberly Ockene, senior attorney for companion animal issues at the HSUS said: “Well-intentioned dog lovers are often duped into buying sick puppy mill puppies that were bred in horribly inhumane conditions. The Animal Welfare Act regulations are only minimal care standards, so blocking the sale of puppies from breeders who don’t comply with even these standards is a basic step toward protecting puppies and consumers from the worst animal welfare offenders.”

An Illinois state court has largely rejected a second request by the Chicago pet store chain Furry Babies, Inc., to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Illinois consumers. The lawsuit alleges that the chain sold sick puppies from puppy mills to unsuspecting customers in violation of consumer protection laws. The court’s ruling found that the plaintiffs have presented enough evidence of deceptive conduct to allow the case to proceed to trial. Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement:

“Well-intentioned dog lovers are often duped into buying puppy mill dogs that were raised in the most horrific conditions. As a result, their families bear the great expense of veterinary treatment for sick dogs or the terrible anguish of losing a beloved family pet. It’s time to stop this shameless industry from abusing consumers and dogs alike.”

Due to concerns about puppies coming from disreputable sources, many local jurisdictions have passed measures to ban or restrict the sale of commercially-bred dogs in pet stores, including several Illinois jurisdictions. The HSUS urges pet stores to transition to a humane model in which stores work with rescues and shelters to offer homeless dogs, or expand their services and products instead of selling puppies.

The consumers in this lawsuit are represented pro bono by the international law firm Locke Lord LLP, along with attorneys from the HSUS and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

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