holmes petloan 072621SPRINGFIELD –There are 17 pet stores in Illinois who offer installment contract loans for the purchase of a cat or dog. House Bill 572, sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) to prohibit the use of these loans, was signed into law Friday.

“This doesn’t just happen in payday loan stores, they’ve been getting away with predatory lending interest rates anywhere from 30 to 150% and higher,” Holmes said. “Most pet stores have issues with their animals coming from unprincipled breeders and puppy mills – some in poor condition – so these consumers can end up thousands in debt and grieving as well.”

If a sales finance agency violates the Sales Finance Agency Act, their financing, contracts or loans will be null and void and they’ll have no right to collect any funds related to the loan. This measure is an initiative of the Humane Society of the United States in line with their campaign to end the sale of puppy mill pets. They are working to encourage pet stores to instead provide adoptable animals from shelters and focus on sales of pet food, toys, training aids and pet apparel.

“The financing of pets is just another way puppy mills and their sales outlets get away with selling puppies for thousands of dollars to unsuspecting consumers, many of whom end up with extremely high interest rates and hidden fees they cannot afford,” said Marc Ayers, Illinois Director for The Humane Society of the U.S. “We applaud Senator Holmes and the vast majority of Illinois lawmakers who supported this bill which helps both animals and families that are looking to acquire a new dog or cat.”

“Changing their practices can keep pet stores in business but avoid ridiculous prices and financing for what may be poorly bred animals,” Holmes said. “This will be even more meaningful if House Bill 1711 outlawing pet stores from sourcing animals from puppy mills also becomes law. There are so many animals in shelters that need good homes, and I see this as a win for animals and their families.”

HB 572 was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.