Immediate help is needed to stop two poorly written bills that would hurt responsible dog owners in...
Immediate help is needed to stop two poorly written bills that would hurt responsible dog owners in Illinois !
Introduced by Rep. Michael Tryon on December 1st, 2005, HB4213 automatically deems American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, "pit bulls," Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Staffordshire Terriers vicious and requires owners of these and other dangerous dogs to maintain liability insurance . As AKC reported last month, the bill further restricts the regulations for keeping these dogs, including requiring them to be muzzled and leashed whenever outside their owners' residence, even in a fenced back-yard. Fines for violations will increase to a minimum of $1001.
HB4213 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Conservation. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 th at 2 p.m. in Room D-1 of the Stratton Building . Dog owners are strongly encouraged to attend the hearing to express your opposition to breed-specific laws. If you cannot attend, please contact the committee members below with your concerns today. Your voice is particularly important if your representative sits on the committee. To find out who represents you in Illinois, click here.
House Committee on Agriculture and Conservation
Stratton Office Bldg #200-9S
Springfield , IL 62701
- Rep. Kurt M. Granberg (D) [Chair] Phone: 217/782-0066, Email: email@example.com
- Rep. Brandon Phelps (D) [Vice Chair] Phone:217/782-5131
- Rep. Mike Boland (D) Phone:217/782-3992, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Shane Cultra (R) Phone:217/558-1039
- Rep. Lisa Dugan (D) Phone:217/782-5981
- Rep. Robert Flider (D) Phone:217/782-8398
- Rep. John C. "Jack" McGuire (D) Phone:217/782-8090, Email: email@example.com
- Rep. Donald L. Moffitt (R) Phone:217/782-8032, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Richard Myers (R) Phone:217/782-0416
- Rep. Robert W. Pritchard (R) Phone:217/782-0425
- Rep. David B. Reis (R) Phone:217/782-2087
- Rep. Dan Reitz (D) Phone:217/782-1018, Email: email@example.com
- Rep. Jim Sacia (R) Phone:217/782-8186
- Rep. Keith Sommer (R) Phone:217/782-0221
- Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D) Phone:217/782-5970
Sponsored by Rep. William Black, HB4367 is an overly broad bill that would allow cities and counties to regulate (though not ban) ownership by breed, thus opening the door for mandatory spay/neuter, muzzling, or any other type of restrictions targeted at certain types of dogs. HB4367 contains a host of other troubling provisions, including:
- Expands the definition of "dangerous animal" such that a dog who injures a cat that came into its own yard, or barked at a person walking on the other side of its fenced yard, could be considered dangerous.
- Expands the definition of "vicious animal" to include one that causes any physical injury to a person, even a nip, and even on the owner's property.
- Deletes "without justification" from both the definitions of "dangerous" and "vicious," thus subjecting the animal to punishment for defending itself or its owner.
- Imposes a Class 4 felony punishment on every owner of a vicious dog, and on an owner of a dangerous dog that allows his or her animal to in any way injure another animal or person.
- Provides that dangerous and vicious determinations can be applied to all companion animals, including cats, ferrets and horses.
- Allows Administrative Hearing Officers, rather than Circuit Courts, to make determinations, and gives them more leeway to do so.
- Establishes a Vicious Dog Attack Relief Fund that allows victims to collect compensation even if they were the owner of the dog.
- Deletes an existing requirement that animal control facilities offer animals for adoption or be made available to rescue groups.
HB4367 has not yet been assigned to a committee. Concerned dog owners should contact their own representative, as well as the bill sponsor, to convey your opposition to this ill-written bill.
Rep. William Black
Capitol Bldg #314
Springfield , IL 62706
The American Kennel Club's Position:
The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.
AKC strongly agrees with the need for laws that keep both people and pets safe in their communities. However, we do not believe that breed specific dangerous dog laws accomplish this. Breed-specific legislation does not hold all dog owners accountable for their behavior, but rather only places restrictions on owners of certain breeds, regardless of the dog's behavior. In order to protect public safety, laws must address owners who are intent on being irresponsible or even malicious with their dogs, regardless of what breed they keep. Strong enforcement of reasonable dangerous dog laws and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all positive ways to prevent future dog attacks.
For more information please contact:
Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association
AKC's Canine Legislation department