Pet store owners claim Illinois bill to ban puppy mills would bankrupt them

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FREEPORT, Illinois – Local pet store owners say they feel under attack by new Illinois legislation that they say could put hundreds of employees out of work.

Austin, director of Furry Babies at CherryVale Shopping Center in Rockford, said he was protesting, along with other pet store workers from across the region, against a new bill to ban the direct sale of puppies in retail stores.

“House Bill 1711 takes away not only this job, but also [Furry Babies owner Ana Soskic], and that’s all she knows, ”Austin said. “One of the main lessons to take away is the number of lives we positively impact on a daily basis. “

The group stood outside the office of Representative Andrew Chesney (R-89th), holding signs of protest. Chesney sponsored the bill to try to stop stores from selling puppy mill pets.

“We are not opposed to creating solutions to this problem, but depriving people of livelihoods is not the solution. Creating opportunities for online crooks and small-scale puppy mills isn’t the answer, ”Austin said.

“We are here to ask him to reconsider because he will put more than 300 people out of work and he will not close a puppy mill with this legislation,” Soskic said.

Soskic says she gets her dogs from a breeder, not a puppy mill. She said she felt her voice was not being heard and that she feared passing the bill would mean the end of her business.

“We contacted him regularly, and the response was very bad,” she said.

Chesney spoke to Eyewitness News on Thursday, saying: “We have met several times, certainly more than once. We have heard hours of debate on the issue, and we just see the issue differently. They want to profit from hurting animals, and they are wrong.

“This bill does not bankrupt her. This bill just asked him, and now, frankly, bans him from buying from cruelty-free sources, ”Chesney said.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t help the animals,” Soskic said. “So to put people out of business and miss a goal just doesn’t make sense. “

House Bill 1711 only needs to be signed by Governor JB Pritzker to become law.


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