Local Animal Advocates Weigh In On Illinois 'Puppy Mill' Bill - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Animal Advocates Weigh In On Illinois 'Puppy Mill' Bill

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     A bill making its way through the Illinois legislature aims to putting a stop to puppy mills help find a home for more shelter animals. There are mixed opinions from animal lovers.
     Lawmakers say the bill is about both animal welfare and consumer protection. It would require pet shops to sell only dogs and cats coming from an animal shelter or animal control facility. Illinois would be the first state in the nation to make the change, which also bans pet shops from selling dogs or cats acquired from a breeder.
     Lawmakers are trying to crack down on commercial breeders, often large facilities that mass-produce animals in poor conditions for profit. Many agree the so called "puppy mills" are a problem, but some think this isn't really addressing the source of the issue.
     "I think these people are idiots. If you want to get rid of puppy mills go after the puppy mills. don't go after the individual who's doing it as a hobby. Don't go after the store that actually checks things out," said George Bingham, General Manager at Teskes Pet and Garden in Moline.
     Bingham says distributors are worried there will be less demand for pet products. He also says his business is already being impacted by other new restrictions on breeders. They'd normally have dogs and cats for sale right now but all the cages are empty. "For the most part we deal with people who deal with this as a hobby and things like that," added Bingham.
     Shelter officials think every breeder should go through the same inspections and requirements as they do to ensure the animals are healthy and coming from a good place.
     "Have to have certain shots, things done to the animals, micro-chipped, spayed of neutered before they leave our facility," said Samantha DeYoung, Operations Manager for the Rock Island County Animal Care and Control.
      Some stores like Petco and PetSmart already give local animal shelters the opportunity to showcase their animals there to help find them a home. Having that as the only option for pet shops could save more animals from being put down and instead find them a home.
     "Anytime we're going to get our animals into a place they're going to be adopted we're definitely happy with it," said DeYoung.
     The bill allows responsible breeders to continue selling dogs or cats directly to individuals. Meantime, a humane society report calls Iowa the fourth worst state for puppy mills. The director of Iowa's Animal Rescue League says because of lax enforcement and mild penalties puppy mills continue to thrive in the state. 
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