SPRINGFIELD – People who unwittingly buy seriously ill dogs or cats from Illinois pet stores would be able to get a full refund, a replacement or some veterinary bills paid, under a measure approved by the Illinois House Monday.
Lawmakers voted 67-49 in favor of an amended version of a so-called “puppy lemon law” that the Illinois Senate approved by a 31-18 vote May 1.
Because the House made changes, the Senate will have to vote whether it accepts the revised language.
To make a claim under the proposal, a new pet owner would have to act within 21 days after the sale and present a written statement from a veterinarian that says the animal, at the time of sale, was unfit for purchase because of illness.
If a claim is successful, the pet owner has three remedies – return the animal for a full refund, exchange the animal for another of comparable value, or keep the animal and be reimbursed for reasonable veterinary fees, not to exceed the purchase price,.
The proposal also has some specific provisions for dogs or cats that have undisclosed congenital or hereditary disorders.
Among those supporting the measure were Democratic state Reps. John Bradley of Marion, Sue Scherer of Decatur, and Mike Smiddy of Hillsdale.
Among those opposing the proposal were state Reps. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro; Dan Brady, R-Bloomington; Adam Brown, R-Champaign; Jerry Costello, D-Smithton; Brad Halbrook, R-Mattoon; Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth; Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg; David Reis, R-Willow Hill; and Pat Verschoore, D-Milan.
During floor debate, opponents questioned whether buyers should have as long as 21 days to act and whether the law should apply to others, including animal shelters, not just pet stores.
If the Senate approves the House’s new language, the measure will then go to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, which has been listed as a proponent.
If approved, the measure would go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
The measure is Senate Bill 1639.