Fanciers have worked hard and have made significant progress in the Illinois State Legislature,...
Fanciers have worked hard and have made significant progress in the Illinois State Legislature, which is considering several dangerous dog and breed-specific bills. Fanciers are also working to oppose breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Chicago. Below is an update on current "hot" initiatives facing Illinois residents.
In the General Assembly:
As Illinois dog owners may recall, several breed-specific bills were introduced in Illinois this year, including H4213 by Rep. Tryon. This bill would have automatically deemed "pit bulls" (American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers) and Rottweilers vicious. Thanks to the efforts of the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association, Illinois fanciers, and the AKC, Rep. Tryon has backed away from this measure and is instead sponsoring HR866. This resolution will create a task force to study the issue of dangerous and vicious dogs and subsequently recommend changes to help protect the public. Rep. Boland is sponsoring a similar measure, HJ101, a joint resolution to establish the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Task Force. AKC and the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association strongly support these measures, provided that purebred dog owners have representation on the task force. Currently only HJ101 contains this provision.
H4238, by Rep. Boland, originally punished only owners of intact dogs who allowed their animals to run loose and seriously injure or kill someone. The bill has been amended to provide that any owner, regardless of their dog's reproductive status, will be guilty of a Class 4 felony for committing this crime. The AKC, the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association and concerned dog owners successfully argued that stronger penalties for dangerous dog violations should apply to all owners, not just those who own unaltered animals.
Congratulations to Illinois fanciers whose hard work is resulting in stronger, more reasonable dangerous dog proposals in the state. Dog owners are encouraged to continue monitoring these and other canine legislation bills vigilantly.
Several months ago, Chicago Alderwoman Rugai proposed an ordinance to ban new "pit bulls" and place severe restrictions on "pit bulls" already residing in the city. "Pit Bulls" are defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any mixed breed containing these breeds. The measure was referred to the License and Consumer Protection Committee some time ago but to date has not been scheduled for a hearing.
Although Illinois state law prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific legislation, the Chicago City Attorney believes that home rule will allow Chicago to adopt such a measure. Illinois dog owners are encouraged to contact their representative on the Board of Aldermen.