Will a Puppy Lemon Law in Illinois Protect Either Puppies or Buyers?


I doubt it will be acted on in this Illinois legislative session, but that’s what  lawmakers have proposed in Illinois. Rather than  fund the Ill Dept of Ag & demand they do their jobs—& inspect pet related businesses….it  is up to consumers to not be stupid, as though that has ever worked.  So, the gist of the law is that if you buy a puppy from a pet shop, you must get information on the breeder, and you have the right to return the pup within 30 days if it is not healthy.

How do you determine if a puppy is healthy?  Genetically sound?  A veterinarian can quickly determine if a  dog has parasites or a skin disorder, but the other genetic maladies a puppy may have take much more time to  show up.  A  pet buyer  won’t see evidence of liver shunt, luxated  patellas, hip or elbow dysplasia,  juvenile cataracts or eyelid entropy often until a puppy is at least  6 months old, and then only after expensive tests.

No, the law just  protects the unethical commercial breeders and brokers selling ‘love’.  Several things make this complicated:  some hobby breeders having no integrity, making excuses for genetic defects, the many backyard breeders who don’t consider themselves breeders, dog brokers who don’t take possession of a dog until a client ‘orders’ it and puts down a payment for it, and  the many shelters and rescues that pull from  pounds (open admissions government entities).  You,the public, looking for a healthy puppy, are not protected from them.  You are not protected from a hobby breeder who is breeding for the betterment of the breed, either, but this kind of breeder is much more concerned with his reputation, and his standing among his fellow hobbyists and fanciers, and  as they  are the ones who help  him sell his puppies.  You’ll have trouble finding a hobby breeder, however, as the irony is that both the economy—& the American kennel Club have made it difficult for them to even break even on breeding  genetically sound dogs!

Among the dog showing (and breeding) fancy, there is concern about the lack of market for well bred dogs.  People want dogs of certain breeds, but are unwilling to pay the costs or raising healthy  purebred puppies, or they’ve heard rumors about show dogs, and can’t tell  the difference between a  commercial breeder and  a hobby breeder.  People still trust the Amish, yet they are among the worst offenders  of breeding  pets like livestock.

No, the only option is for fanciers and real dog lovers to get better organized and  become more sophisticated about marketing, and also show our legislators where all the dogs in shelters are coming from….as they are generally not coming from hobby breeders breeding for the betterment of their breeds, but from people who are raising pets as livestock.

One excellent essay that might help people understand how complicated this is,  is Malcolm Gladwell’s article which appeared in the New Yorker magazine called “Troublemakers.” This is the link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/02/06/060206fa_fact .  He addresses breed bans and breed specific legislation due to the many injured by pit bulls, what really needs to be done, but what actually is done regarding enforcement.  Simply brilliant.

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