holmes 052021SPRINGFIELD –There are 17 pet stores in Illinois that offer predatory installment contract loans for the purchase of a cat or dog. House Bill 572, sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) to prohibit these loans, passed the Senate Commerce Committee today.

“This is predatory lending with interest rates anywhere from 30 to 150 percent and higher,” Holmes said. “Most pet stores have issues with their animals coming from unprincipled breeders and puppy mills, which means many of their customers buy a pet for thousands of dollars that could be in poor health and may possibly die. Those consumers can end up thousands in debt and grieving as well.”

This measure amends the Sales Finance Agency Act. If a sales finance agency violates the 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 offer adoptable animals from shelters instead, and to focus on sales of pet food, toys, training aids and pet apparel.

“Pet stores can stay in business without charging ridiculous prices and high-interest financing for what may be poorly bred animals,” Holmes said. “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 passed in the House unanimously on April 16 and, with today’s unanimous passage in the Senate Commerce Committee, it now goes to the full Senate for consideration.