Welcome to Bailing Out Benji’s new blog, “Tails and Truths”. My name is Becky Monroe and it is my intention to cover a few things here. One will always be the truth about puppy mills and pet stores and any stories that go along with that. Two, we would like to showcase puppy mill survivors. We would like to show their before and after and share their stories.
If you are interested in having your mill survivor featured, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
For the Love of Lucy’s Law – HB 1711
A miraculous thing happened a few weeks ago in the state of Illinois. A bi-partisan bill HB 1711, fondly called Lucy’s Law, initially sailed through the House introduced by Rep. Andrew Chesney and then after some stalling, was passed in the Senate with the lead of Senator Castro and Senator Holmes. It now sits waiting for the Governor’s signature.
HB 1711 will make it illegal for pet stores to sell mass bred puppies and kittens. When it becomes law, Illinois will be the 5th state to have passed this type of humane legislation. HB 1711 will help to suppress the puppy mills by stopping the sale of puppies.
As someone who once advocated in the state of IL, I am so grateful and so amazed at the work of so many to make this happen. Of course, Bailing Out Benji was one of the organizations helping to lead the charge, with two people, specifically tied to BoB, who worked tirelessly in the state to keep the legislation moving forward: Peggy Grandahl and Raquel Melendez.
I “sat down” with them to gather their thoughts on the bill and what they felt was important for people to understand. Lucy’s Law is in honor of an Anatolian Shepherd mix who was purchased at a Petland and who became very sick. Lucy became blind and will have lifelong autoimmune challenges. While too often Petland and other pet stores find a way to keep buyers quiet, so they don’t share their story, Misty, Lucy’s mom, knew the best thing she could do was to make sure Lucy’s tragic story was told and that something was done to keep this from happening to another puppy and another family.
Peggy said that Misty’s testimony was so moving, so heartfelt, so genuine and that having Lucy be the poster child for the bill was key. One of the most powerful statements was that of Misty’s young daughter who when the pet store offered to replace Lucy said to her mom,”If I get sick, will you just replace me?”
A combination of heart wrenching facts and the face of Lucy to represent them plus a dream team of animal welfare advocates: Bailing Out Benji, Marc Ayers at HSUS, and Best Friends propelled the bill into state legislation rather quickly.
Add to that, the passing of the Predatory Lending bill HB 572 where pet stores can no longer use third part lenders and sky high interest rates as an option for consumers who cannot afford the already high priced, often sick and ill-bred puppies and it would appear that the fight against puppy mills is showing success.
As a puppy mill advocate who started in 2008, these two bills represent so much to me. Thirteen years ago, they would have been impossible. The work these advocates have done and the bravery of the families who were willing to speak out about the sick puppies they have bought is nothing short of astonishing.
But let us not forget the opponents because while it would be wonderful to sit back and celebrate a victory for the dogs, that is exactly what we cannot do.
As Peggy explained, the pet store industry has already hired numerous lobbyists to get a veto from the Governor. They have sent out action alerts to all their supporters. And it isn’t just the pet stores who want the bill vetoed. It is also the AKC, PIJAC, Illinois Federation of Dog Owners and the ISVMA. These are the usual opponents, but they are putting a lot of effort and money into this.
Both Peggy and Raquel expressed how important it is for anyone who loves animals and supports the better treatment of mass bred animals to write the governor or call his office and ask that he sign the bill. We are so very close, but we cannot take anything for granted.
Raquel pointed out something that resonated with me. It is hard to feel confident when talking with your political leaders, but it is important to remember they work for us. We are their customer. They want to know where their constituents stand on the issues and you need to tell them, especially when they are issues where we are the only voice. The dogs would tell them if they could. We all know that.
If you are here reading this, you obviously not only love dogs, but have a passion for mill dogs. Please take a few minutes TODAY (not tomorrow) and send an email to Governor Pritzker asking him to sign Lucy’s Law – HB 1711. Or, call his office and show your support for the bill.
So many people just write or shout the words, “Shut down puppy mills!” However, once you understand the difficulty in doing that, it becomes not only easier to understand why laws needed to start with the consumerism of puppies and kittens. Peggy suggested that anyone who wants to understand why starting with consumer laws will help shut down puppy mills should watch the documentary, Dog by Dog. It does an excellent job spelling out the connection between the supply and demand of the puppy mill industry.
Illinois is on the brink of crucial change. Change that will critically impact puppy mills in the midwest and help to end the perpetual cruelty puppy mill dogs face each and every day. If you have wanted to “shut down puppy mills,” this is your chance to help do it. One voice alone is just a message. Hundreds of voices together become a movement. Thousands of voices become real change.
Help change the world for the helpless mill dogs TODAY!
Call or email Governor Pritzker.
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