I’m not sure when the first time was that I heard about the horrors of puppy mills, but I’m sure my feelings were a mixture of anger, sadness, and frustration, with a good bit of crying thrown in. When these three girls discovered them, they took a slightly different approach.
And by slightly different I mean they rolled up their sleeves and dove headfirst into state politics, completely changing the game for neglected animals and their abusers.
Maddie O’Dell, Brooke Martin and Claire Hackmann read a book about puppy mills and immediately decided they had to take action to help all those with paws. They collected signatures, contacted their local representative, and testified in front of the Illinois House and Agriculture and Conversation Committee. Basically, they did what most adults often say can’t be done: they made a difference. A HUGE one.
The end result was House Bill 44100, which was signed into immediate effect in early August 2014. The law substantially raises the bar on penalties for all those who violate the Animal Welfare Act, including raised fines for 1st and 2nd violations and additional probationary statuses for 3rd violations. In the news release announcing the changes, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn stated a truth that is universal but too often ignored:
Our pets are a part of the family, and we must always treat them with care and respect. Three students from Arlington Heights created this new law because they wanted to make a difference and protect animals across Illinois.
Every pup deserves super heroes like these who fight to end animal cruelty. Watch them and Gov. Quinn sign the bill into law at awesome animal rescue PAWS Chicago.
For more ways on how to lend a helping paw in your zip code, check out your local chapters of the ASPCA or The Humane Society.