MURPHYSBORO (WSIL) -- A moment animal shelters and caretakers have long been waiting for finally happened this past Friday. Illinois is taking a step toward ending puppy mills.
Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new bill into law Friday, one that will help puppy mills become a thing of the past.
"A puppy mill is first, an unlicensed facility and they just breed dogs. There's also a cat versions of that as well and they breed for profit," explains Kay Creese, Executive Director and Veterinarian at St. Francis CARE animal rescue.
House Bill 1711 bans the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. "They're often difficult to find because they are unlicensed entities. Their pipeline for income has always been sales to pet stores and so this bill cuts off that supply line," adds Creese.
Illinois is now the fifth state in the U.S. to ban puppy mills which advocates say is a step toward animal welfare. "We've all seen the pictures of the horrible conditions that these dogs are kept in. They're never allowed on grass. They're on wires so their stool falls through so they don't have to be cleaned. Dogs that need to be groomed are generally not groomed and they're so matted. Then a lot of times when they're done breeding they abandon them," says Creese.
Creese says the mistreated pets often end up in shelters. "We get them and I think everybody does or has over time and they're usually not socialized. I mean, you put them down on concrete and they haven't a clue how to walk on it, grass is just terrifying. They require a lot of clean up work before you just can even get basic medical care for them."
Creese says she is relieved the bill has been signed and that it's a big step in the right direction. "This is good news because it really does shut down a whole segment of abuse."
Pet stores will be able to sell cats and dogs from animal control and rescues. The law goes into effect February 24th, 2022.