“We’re working really hard with the community to find animals that have been lost, abandoned, dumped on the side of the road, and thrown out of a car.”
ROCK FALLS, Illinois – New Illinois law could soon ban puppy factory dogs from being sold in pet stores. Instead, businesses need to get their dogs from animal shelters or humane societies. The bill went through both the State House and the Senate and is now awaiting the signature of Governor JB Pritzker.
Local humane societies like Happy Tails in Rock Falls, Illinois are excited about the new law. Operations director Donald Szyzyk says it could help get pets they bring to be adopted faster.
All of their animals are rescues, says Szyzyk: “We work really hard with the community to find animals that have been lost, abandoned, dumped on the side of the road and thrown from a car.”
The shelter currently has 15 dogs available for adoption. Szyzyk says the number often fluctuates. “We had five yesterday, but we went to the animal control and cleared them out.”
Szyzyk says there is such a thing as a reputable breeder. “In my eyes, a puppy mill is actually something with cages like this one, but only half the size, sometimes even with less space. They offer no enrichment, no real food and no water, excrement is piling up everywhere. ”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals defines puppy mill dogs as victims of a large-scale puppy industry that are bred for profit and kept in tiny, filthy cages, while dog breeders typically offer larger cages, more freedom, and specialization in just one breed of dog.
Szyzyk says the current Illinois animal shelters partner is Pet Smart. The shelters work with the pet stores to showcase their animals and then the animals are adopted from there. “We are allowed to accommodate animals in your building. We have to go in every day and clean them. We go in and do all the paperwork when they’re adopted. The animal is 100 percent in our care when it is in your facility. “
When animal shelters near pet stores are in high demand for animals, Happy Tails brings pets for adoption in places like the Chicago countryside, Rockford, and Dekalb. Szyzyk says it helps to have the pets adopted.
Now that pet animals are one of the only options for business, he hopes it will increase the odds for Happy Tails pets. “In return, we help our area, because our partners in the cities will turn to us and leave.
Szyzyk also hopes for greater collaboration between pet shops and animal shelters. It’s something he’s seen a lot more of in his last 12 years in the industry, and something he hopes to see even more of with the addition of this law.