Puppy Lemon Bill Passes Senate

Consumers who unwittingly buy a diseased animal from a pet store could get their money back under a measure approved by the Illinois Senate.

It’s similar to someone who buys a jalopy under false pretenses … but in this case, the “lemon” isn’t a car.

It’s a puppy. Or a kitten.

Someone who buys a dog or cat could get a refund, exchange their pet for a new one, or seek reimbursement for veterinarians’ fees.

But only if the pet came from a pet shop.  That bothers Republican Senator Dale Righter of Mattoon, as those dogs can cost $1,000.

RIGHTER: “We’re going to protect the consumers who have the money to pay $1,000 for a dog as a pet, but what about all of those consumers who can’t afford that, so they are getting their dog from the animal shelter?”

The measure’s sponsor, Park Ridge Democrat Dan Kotowski, says shelter dogs can come from anywhere, so it’s different.

KOTOWSKI: “You’re not a consumer, you’re someone who’s made a philosophical decision to be in partnership with the animal shelter because you want the dog or cat to have a home.”

The measure stems from an outbreak of “canine distemper” in a chain of Chicago pet shops last year. Animal rights activists say pet stores frequently get their dogs from commercial breeding operations known as “puppy mills,” where conditions are ripe for contagious canine diseases.

– Amanda Vinicky

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5 Responses to Puppy Lemon Bill Passes Senate

  1. Cherie says:

    If you get a dog from a shelter, you are indeed a consumer. Shelter dogs do not get given away for free. You can call it an adoption if you want, but it’s a financial transaction when you hand over money to that shelter for that dog–that is just as likely, perhaps even more so, to bring home a communicable disease, have a genetic issue, or have temperament problems…

    What this story doesn’t tell is that this bill will apply to ALL breeders, not just pet shops. Anybody who sells a puppy will be liable, even small-time hobby breeders of purebred dogs. These people should NOT be lumped into the same category as commercial facilities who sell to pet stores.

    Ultimately, this whole problem would end if people would just STOP buying puppies from pet shops… If you want to adopt, fine. If you want to buy, fine. But do it from a reputable, responsible breeder that you’ve researched.

  2. Brian Mackey says:

    Cherie, thanks for your comment. Where are you hearing that “even small-time hobby breeders” would be affected?

    The legislation specifies that it applies to “pet shops,” which Illinois law defines as “any person who sells, offers to sell, exchange, or offers for adoption with or without charge or donation dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, or other animals customarily obtained as pets.” I can see where you’d think even individual breeders would be counted here, but there is also an exception to the definition of “pet shop operators”: “A person who sells only such animals that he has produced and raised shall not be considered a pet shop operator under this Act.”

  3. Pingback: PetPooch.com » Puppy lemon law clears Senate – The Capitol Fax Blog (blog)

  4. Cherie says:

    From here: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09800SB1639sam001&GA=98&SessionId=85&DocTypeId=SB&LegID=72505&DocNum=1639&GAID=12&Session=
    There is a lot of language here defining a pet shop, dog seller, kennel, etc., but it appears to me that the only people totally removed from coverage under this bill are animal shelters…

  5. Pingback: PetPooch.com » Illinois Senate Passes ‘Puppy Lemon’ Legislation – CBS2 Chicago

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