Dogs & Laws

Illinois to Become 5th State to Ban Retail Sale of Puppies, Kittens in Pet Stores

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Under a newly passed Senate bill, Illinois may join 4 other states and hundreds of localities across the nation to ban the sale of puppies and kittens at retail pet stores.


On May 31, 2021, the Illinois State Senate passed a bill to shut down the puppy mill pipeline and end the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores across the state. With Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature, the bill will become state law.

Once signed into law, all dogs and cats sold through retail stores across the state will need to be sourced from rescues, shelters, or humane societies instead of commercial breeders.

It’s hard to imagine when you see an adorable, healthy-looking puppy peering back at you through the glass of your local pet store, where that four-legged furball came from. The truth is, almost all puppies – 99% of them – sold in retail pet stores around the country are the product of puppy mills.

Retail Sales

Puppy mills are essentially a factory for pumping out the most amount of puppies, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal expense. Meaning, the breeders that run these puppy mills have their females in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. The dogs are given almost no medical care. Living conditions are deplorable. These dogs are usually found crammed into tiny cages with other dogs, standing and sleeping in feces and urine, their hair matted, skin painfully itchy from fleas or ticks, starving and malnourished. Many dogs are suffering from respiratory infections, blindness, joint issues, even life-threatening illnesses that are passed on to their puppies. Sometimes, these poor dogs are left for weeks in cages with fellow dogs that have died.

But the puppy mill’s only concern is profit. They don’t care for the health of their breeding stock. They don’t care for the health of the puppies that are produced. They don’t care where their puppies end up – as long as they make a profit.

To help put an end to the inhumane treatment of animals by large-scale commercial puppy and kitten breeders, Illinois will join California, Maryland, Maine, and New York and hundreds of municipalities in banning the retail sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. (Note: The ruling in Maine only applies to new businesses, allowing those retailers already selling retail puppies and kittens to be “grandfathered in.”

The law, and others like it around the nation, is a huge step in the right direction toward eventually putting an end to commercial mass breeding operations, also known as puppy and kitten mills, and ultimately saving countless lives.

Would you support similar legislation in your own state? Weigh in with a comment below!

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