The Illinois Department of Agriculture is seeking to revoke the licenses of three pet stores, including one in Aurora.
The state agency has sent petitions alleging that Furry Babies, which has a location at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, is operating as a pet store without a pet store operator’s license, as required by animal welfare law .
He also sent petitions to Furry Babies sites in Rockford and Lombard. Furry Babies has a fourth location in Portage, Indiana.
The agency said Furry Babies “engages in business as the operator(s) of pet stores without a license to do so.”
According to the Department of Agriculture, under Illinois law, only pet store operators are permitted to sell or offer to sell dogs at retail to the public, and all dogs sold at retail must come from animal control center or animal shelter.
Furry Babies locations were found to “offer for sale and/or retail dogs to the public,” the department said.
Businesses were advised of applicable licensing requirements and restrictions when issuing their dog dealer licenses, the department added.
“This is the result of routine investigations conducted by the department to ensure compliance with laws that keep animals safe,” the department said.
A pre-hearing conference before an administrative judge is scheduled for August 31.
The Department of Agriculture acts pursuant to House Bill 1711, a new state law regulating the retail sale of animals, particularly dogs and cats.
“This new state law prohibits the sale of pets from unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills and instead requires these stores to help connect shelters or rescue animals with potential adopters” , said State Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora. “Some store owners have attempted to circumvent the new regulations, but the Illinois Department of Agriculture has investigated and is taking action to potentially revoke their licenses.”
Holmes said the department is trying to ensure compliance and protect animals, “and I commend their efforts in this area.”
Holmes, a supporter of the new legislation as well as a number of measures related to animal health and welfare, said the business model for supplying pets to shelters and shelters is growing through the country,” and stores following this trend continue to succeed without selling ill-bred pets with myriad health issues and at exorbitant prices.
Furry Babies has been in business in Aurora for about 10 years. The Beacon-News contacted the company for comment and received no response.
But the company has numerous posts on its website and Facebook page touting the support of its customers. A post on the website also derided HB 1171 as “deeply flawed legislation aimed at shutting down small businesses.”
“While we believe there is a place for rescue and support the mission, we also strongly believe that with 520 licensed animal shelters and rescues in the state of Illinois, consumers should have access to a well-behaved pup of their choice,” the website said.