Legislation was passed this past year in the Illinois state government in regards to transparency and disclosure for animal shelters, animal care and control agencies, and pet stores. The legislation amends the Animal Welfare Act to strengthen disclosure requirements on all dogs or cats made available for adoption or sale in the state.
Pet stores will now be accountable for providing the following information for each animal: the breed, age, date of birth, sex, color, the medical history, all fees and charges, the name/address of the breeder, the breeder’s license number, any known congenital diseases or hereditary diseases of the parents or offspring, and the sire and dam information along with their department of agriculture license number. The purchaser needs to sign a disclosure that states the above information was disclosed.
Sadly, many people purchase their pets from breeders through pet stores, often unknowingly, resulting in a lack of knowledge about how or where their beloved pet originated. Not only do pet stores acquire their puppies from puppy mills, but often breeders do as well — the same goes for cats. This legislation will help shed light on the inhumane practices of large breeding mills, and likewise put pressure on pet stores to make more humane decisions about the animals they acquire and put up for sale.
Pet stores, however, are not the only problem when it comes to inhumane breeding practices. Animal control facilities, and even animal shelters, do not always follow the best policies in the interest of the animals they house. Thankfully, this bill does not just affect pet stores and breeders; it also affects humane societies, animal control facilities, and animal shelters. Each of these places must likewise keep up-to-date medical records on animals, where they come from, why they ended up there (such as found stray), the breed, age, date of birth, sex, color, the adoption fee and charges, and their department of agriculture license number. The adopter needs to sign a disclosure that states the above information was disclosed. In a day and age where too many facilities like puppy mills and animal shelters improperly use the terminology of no-kill, this legislation takes an incredibly progressive step within animal welfare to help keep our companion friends safe.
This legislation does indeed put more responsibility on the breeder and seller, but the adopters/buyers have an integral role to make sure this legislation has its intended effect. If pet owners look the other way and do not speak up about these inhumane practices, they will only continue. The consumers that purchase cats and dogs that came from these breeders fuel the business — knowingly or unknowingly — so become informed; effective Jan. 1, it will be much easier to do so.