Big kudos go out to Freeport's State Representative in the 89th District, Andrew Chesney for getting House Bill 1711 passed out of the Illinois House last Wednesday.

This truly bi-partisan bill (with 40-plus co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle) aims to end the market for puppy mills here in the State of Illinois by putting a stop to the sale of commercially-bred puppies from retail stores.

Maybe you're familiar with puppy mills and how they go about providing dogs for sale through certain retail outlets, but if the term "puppy mill" is something you don't know much about, here's how the American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA) describes it:

A puppy mill is a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Puppies born in a puppy mill are often sold at as young as 8 weeks old, to brokers and/or retailers who then sell the puppies to the consumer. Some puppy mills sell directly to the public through web sites, newspaper classifieds or at flea markets.

There are lots of these operations going on currently in the United States, including here in Illinois. The Humane Society of America estimates that there are around 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, and only about 2,000 of which are USDA licensed. They say that these 10,000 operations are responsible for the sale of 2.15 million puppies in the United States.

Inspired by a dog purchased by his wife, Representative Chesney told me that they didn't even know about their beloved dog's puppy mill background, but subsequent illnesses and other health difficulties have been a constant problem, leading Chesney to look further into puppy mills.

Representative Andrew Chesney:

Once this bill is signed into law, the direct sale of puppies in retail pet stores would end in Illinois and so would much of the abuse towards our companion animals. To meet the demands of providing a constant supply of eight-week-old puppies, most retail pet stores rely on unregulated puppy mills which rear the pets in terribly unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Many of these pets arrive to their forever homes only to tragically, and quickly, die from health conditions acquired in these sickening mills.

Here's our interview with Representative Andrew Chesney. He filled us in on more details about the puppy mills bill, and we also took some time to discuss his efforts to get Illinois to ditch the much-maligned Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card:


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