A massive blow to puppy mill industry: Illinois ends the sale of puppies in pet stores

By on September 8, 2021 with 43 Comments

In a major win in the fight against cruel puppy mills, Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed the Humane Pet Store Bill (HB 1711) into law. The state’s 21 puppy-selling pet stores have 180 days from August 27, the date the bill was signed, to stop selling commercially raised puppies and kittens. This effectively closes out a profitable sales channel for puppy mills and will drive the Illinois pet market towards more humane sources like shelters, rescues and responsible breeders.

Illinois pet stores sell thousands of puppies each year from large-scale commercial breeders and brokers who treat mother dogs as little more than breeding machines and puppies as mere products to be shipped to pet stores and sold. Many of these operations have terrible animal welfare records, impacting the health of the puppies. When families acquire ill puppies, this can lead to high veterinary bills and the puppies can even die within weeks of purchase, leaving families heartbroken. The new law sends a clear message: The days when pet stores can showcase the cute puppy or kitten in the window while puppy and kitten mills hide their horrors are coming to an end. Despite the vast resources the pet stores put into fighting this legislation, it passed both the state House and Senate by strong bipartisan majorities. And Gov. Pritzker did not cave to the veto campaign that followed its passage. Instead, lawmakers, led by Republican Rep. Andrew Chesney and Democratic Sen. Cristina Castro, sided with the people of Illinois who called and emailed by the thousands to urge support for this important law.

Illinois now joins California, Maryland, Maine, Washington and nearly 400 localities across 30 states in prohibiting the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. The writing is on the wall for puppy-selling pet stores: It’s time to cut ties with puppy mills and, rather than add to the pet overpopulation crisis that is currently gripping large parts of the nation, pet stores should look to join with shelters and rescues to increase adoptions of animals who would otherwise be left homeless.

Petland, the largest retailer of puppy mill puppies and a company we’ve criticized for mistreating animals, selling sick animals and sourcing from some of the worst breeders in the nation, will be affected by the Illinois law. Eight Petland stores in the state will have to stop selling puppies in the coming months, and the recent passage of pet store ordinances in Florida counties adds four more elsewhere in the country. As a dominant force in the industry, Petland should take a good look at where things are moving and shift all its stores away from selling puppies.

The strong stand by Illinois lawmakers against puppy mill cruelty this session did not stop with the pet store bill. The state also became the first in the nation to prohibit the financing of dog and cat purchases with the enactment of HB 572. Because puppy mill puppies are often sold for thousands of dollars to those who may not be able to afford them outright, some stores offer financing as an incentive to close the sale. Pet stores and large internet brokers often promise low-interest financing through third-party lenders that end up charging exorbitantly high-interest rates and hidden fees. Petland customers have complained of interest rates as high as 188%, and in some cases, customers must make payments for years after their pets died. HB 572 passed unanimously in both chambers, showing zero tolerance for these predatory practices.

With the momentum of public opinion and bipartisan lawmakers on our side, we will continue full steam ahead until puppy mills no longer exist. New York, with more than 60 puppy-selling stores, is in the middle of a two-year legislative session in which a humane pet store bill has already passed the state Senate. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts also have active bills, and there are several key local ordinance votes coming up. We are campaigning for the passage of these laws in communities around the country that are affected by the impacts of puppy mills, leading the charge for a more humane future for puppies and kittens.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Ya no podemos permitir más y injusticia esto tiene que aplicarse en todo el mundo ya no mas abuso ni crueldad

  2. Jeane Camargo da Silva says:

    Parabéns!!! Que notícia excelente!!! Deus seja louvado!

  3. Karen Pope says:

    Thank you Gov Pritzer!

  4. Karen Hudson says:

    Thank you for this blog.

  5. Debbie says:

    North Carolina needs to adopt a bill

  6. Patty Ramirez says:

    Banned puppy mills

    • Cecilia Damian says:

      No puppy mills will still be in Illinois BUT those puppies and any other animal Can NOT be sold in pet stores nor online. Puppy mills can still sell directly to a person meaning the buyer will see just how sick the animals are as well as where they’re kept and in turn will not buy as it will have to be done only in cash as there will be no more financial help like there is in stores. There’s also the fact the all bordering states to Illinois still have pet stores that sell puppy mill puppies

      • Lili says:

        True, but this law is a start and it makes it more difficult for puppy mills to sell their puppies. Also, the puppy mills are going to have to clean up where they keep their dogs because no one would want to buy a dog who may be sick from living under those conditions. Plus, people are going to get an idea of how badly the dog mom and dad are kept and hopefully won’t support those businesses.

  7. Jean Kopecky says:

    Thank you for your important work!

  8. Kay Connelly says:

    Fantastic news and a huge win for animal welfare! Hopefully other states will wake up and follow this lead. God bless you for fighting for humane treatment of these fur babies ❤ ❤

  9. Michéle says:

    Congrats!!! May humane treatment of all animals come into reality sooner than later!!

  10. Karen Zegiel says:

    Please stop this abuse of animals. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  11. Cheri says:


  12. J says:

    We’ve had that in our city for years.

    They try to sneak onto craigslist and other sites like that as an innocent Ma and Pa puppy selling business with fake pictures!

  13. Astrid says:

    Yeahhhhh!!!! Super congratulations on this ongoing victory after all the hard work to speak up for these voiceless, captive sentient beings!!

  14. Ana Lígia Silva says:

    Não à crueldade com os animais

  15. Dominique says:


  16. Margie Tillich says:

    Happy to hear

  17. Brenda says:

    Yay !! They need to stop all sales of puppies everywhere!! Because there are fur babies nationwide that need homes that they could adopt !!

  18. Tracey G Stephenson says:

    So happy this happening. I hope Ohio and the rest of the states follow suit. Petsmart and Petco work with local rescues and shelters, so Petland can as well.

    • Ann S says:

      So glad they are starting work on puppy mills. They have to become more aggressive about it too… I see where most of the states supporting this is Democrat states… Where are the Republican states on this??!! Come on republicans …Ohio, Fl, and the rest of you! Stand up and fight! DeSantis in Fl ! Speak up!

  19. Elizabeth Henches says:

    We need to do more these puppy mills need to be shut down now or the dogs that are in them will suffer and agonizing death. The people who operate them will just leave them to die. They need to send people to these puppy mills and confiscate the dogs before it is to late.

  20. CS says:

    This is great news! Just wondering what happens to the puppies that aren’t sold by then? Are they seized? Destroyed by owner? Is there a plan for this? Are they protected somehow?

    • Blog Editor says:

      Thank you for your comment. There is a phase-in period that gives stores time to sell any puppies they currently have before the law goes into effect. Local shelters are standing by to find homes for any puppies the stores can’t sell, but that is not likely to happen as the stores generally mark them down in price until they sell.

  21. Marie Meyers says:

    I’m glad . ALL PUPPY MILLS. Need to be shut down. All they care about is the money.

  22. Karin Anderson says:

    Warms my heart THANK YOU

  23. Sue says:

    It’s about time! That’s just about the only good thing Pritzker has done, but at least it’s an important one.

  24. HC says:

    Awesome news! Keep up the good work!!

  25. Crystal says:

    Close puppy mill for forever. Dogs need medical n taking care of them

  26. Cindy Savoroski says:

    Thank God. Making lots of progress. Thank u for all the hard work in getting these laws passed.

  27. Diane Young says:

    This is HUGE and WELCOME NEWS that Illinois’s Gov. Pritzker has banned the sale of puppies and kittens from pet stores!! Even the puppy mills aren’t the only greedy culprits–some pet stores are equally guilty of abuse, neglect, and selling illegal endangered exotic birds! If you want a pet, there are many to choose from at shelters all across the U.S.! Offer a loving home to one of those little guys!

  28. Joan Shipley says:

    I hope anyone selling these precious animals now is fined really high and spends alot of time in jail l thank God for all the people who made this law possible

  29. Diana Lewis says:

    Hundreds of healthy dogs are available at shelters throughout the country. The breeding and selling of puppies for financial gain is inhumane and promotes health risks to animals and humans!

  30. Marcia says:

    The entire country need to mandate this!
    No more puppy mills anywhere!!!!
    Adopt and save the one that are here!!

  31. Reg says:

    I recently saw an ad in the grocery store, taped to a window, “Puppies for sale”. I was interested and called to schedule a time to visit. Upon arriving at the house I was greeted by a stern looking mennonite woman, no emotion crossed her face when asked to see the puppies. I thought they would be in the house and very happy to see visitors with the hope of being petted and picked up to be cuddled. Instead I was brought to a small shed in the back yard, far away from the house. No windows. Looked like a tractor type storage shed. She opened the door to barking puppies of many varieties in different metal cages. I was APPALLED!!! I felt much sadness for these adorable babies. I wanted to save all of them! This is located in Hummelstown, PA. Apparently the puppies were checked and given a clean bill of health by a Vet, whose office is “down the road”. The woman didn’t care.

  32. Cathy says:

    How is there only 21 pet stores that puppies and kittens from mills?? There is Petland, Happiness is pets, and then countless others within Chicago that are mom and pop stores. Is new law only targeting big corporations or are the little stores effected too?? I also think anyone that decides to breed a dog need to have some kind of license. There are too many backyard breeders that just breed bc they can.

  33. Paula Stanczik says:


  34. patriot says:

    thank you for sharing and loving animals

  35. Judy says:

    So what will happen to all these puppies?

  36. Celine Hughes says:

    Thank you for all that you do for this cause.

  37. Alice Wainwright says:

    Puppy mills are still strong in Illinois. They are sending the puppies out of state to be sold. We need to take their property where they have the mills and their vehicles that are used to transport the puppies. Dogs and cats should not be listed as agriculture and raised and farmed as such. People that pose as owner of the puppies and sell out of their homes are committing fraud. They should have judgements put against their property too. This is a felony! Puppies are being sold for thousands of dollars. Do volunteer work for a rescue in Illinois . A family I interviewed paid $2,000 for a golden retriever puppy. Farmer selling the puppy said he would meet them halfway to sell them the puppy. Purchased the puppy and on the way home they realized puppy was sick. Went to an emergency vet hospital and was informed puppy had parvovirus and spent several thousands of dollars and still lost the puppy. Vet told them to contact breeder because all the dogs probably had parvovirus because it is very contagious. Called the phone number and it was shut off burner phone. Address of farmer didn’t exist. No listing on internet. Goldens usually have large litters so all those puppies and mother probably died. How many other dogs and families were affected by this mill? I volunteer as a trainer for the poor mother dogs that are rescued from these mills. Do you know what a dog that doesn’t have a name or normal contact with people acts? I get a shell of a dog. It would break your heart to see them. They don’t know how to eat or drink out of a dog dish. No knowledge of toys or balls. Not housebroken. Doesn’t know a name because they never give them one. You can’t pet them because they run and hide from you. Sometimes they cower because they have a fear of being hit. Totally untrained and no knowledge of being petted and loved. Terrified over everything. Going through a doorway is one of their biggest stresses. They usually have a rabies shot and that is it! A lot of them test positive for heart worm which could easily been prevented with a tablet once a month. Sorry that this is so long…I could go on and on. We have so many problems in the United States now. The Governor of Illinois could eliminate this problem by not allowing puppy mills be zoned as agriculture but as illegal. Let Illinois be the leader in eliminating this cruel treatment of man’s best friend. We depend on our dogs to be beloved pets, service dogs,police dogs,therapy dogs,military dogs, tracking dogs for illegal drugs, bombs and people. That list goes on too. Thanks for reading….

  38. L D says:

    I have a question, why are puppies still being sold in pet stores in Illinois? I went to Petland yesterday and they still have puppies???

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