Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Humane Society Backtracks on Quinn-Backed Puppy Mill Ban

The dog-loving Illinois governor hits an obstacle in his campaign to end animal cruelty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Pat Quinn has hit a road bump in his campaign to end poor treatment of dogs in Illinois, a favorite issue of his -- expecially during election season.

    Earlier this month, Quinn announced support for Humane Society-backed legislation boycotting "puppy mill" sales in Illinois pet stores and permitting only the sale of shelter animals. It was a reflection of his 2010 attack ad blasting then-GOP gubernatorial rival Bill Grady for backing a bill to mass euthanize sheltered dogs and cats. At the time, Quinn called being canine-friendly "a pretty good way to win an election."

    Now embroiled in a bitter face-off against Bruce Rauner, the Democrat incumbent might not be able to score a victory for animal rights activists come Nov. 4: The Humane Society, responding to criticism of its puppy mill bill, amended the proposal to allow only "reputable" breeders to sell dogs and cats to pet shops. Sellers would need a license from the United States Department of Agriculture and be required to have a clean track record showing no "serious violation of USDA pet-dealer regulations."

    Opponents of the initial measure include the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which called for the bill to be killed. In a posting on its website, the group said Quinn was "on the warpath" to putting local pet shops out of business and declared that Illinoisians will have "limited choice in where they obtain a healthy, happy pet as there will be no pet stores to sell them."

    Back in February, Quinn debuted his new rescue dog, a Yorkshire terrier mix named Rosie, at an event promoting pet adoption from "no-kill" shelters.

    If a dog is "man's best friend," then the embattled governor -- currently fending off a seemingly never-ending cycle of bad press (and multiple corruption-related investigations) -- needs all the unconditional love he can get.