A new law will go into effect in January ensuring the protection of customers who buy cats or dogs at pet shops.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law earlier this month which will requires pet shops to make an animal’s medical history available to the buyer.
The shop must also let the Illinois Department of Agriculture know immediately when they become aware of any diseases among their animals.
Those who will be buying a cat or dog will now have the choice of a full refund, exchange or veterinarian bill reimbursement if a veterinarian concludes the animal was either sick or diseased when bought.
The law also offers the same options if a veterinarian discovers the animal had an ailment that needs hospitalization, surgery or has caused its death. In addition, it will give buyers protection for pet purchases and will help to decrease the possibility of the emotional distress that comes from losing a pet.
This law will also encourage pet stores to do business with safer breeders instead of puppy mills.
Puppy mills have somewhat of a factory-like environment — large-scale dog breeding operations take place in them and the profit is given more concern over the well-being of the dogs.
Dogs are treated more like products rather than living beings, and are typically kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
“Puppy mills are high volume dealers,” Stacey Bell, keeper at the Humane Society of Central Illinois said. “They do a lot of things to stay in business. Basically, when you go to a pet store, you know they’re from mills.”
The problem with puppy mills is that they disregard the health of animals and often are breeding health issues for them, she explained.
It is easy for puppy mills to get someone to buy an animal by putting up pictures on the Internet — when people really need to think long-term and work with safer breeders who use their business responsibly, Bell added.
This new law is a part of the governor’s vow to protect pets and their owners, while making sure that all animals in the state are treated properly and with care.
As far as Quinn is concerned, pets are a part of families and need to be taken care of.
The law will be effective and enforced in the state starting Jan. 1, 2014.