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Illinois BSL Update

(Wednesday, March 09, 2005)

Update! Sen. Sandoval’s office has told AKC and the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association that the Senator has reconsidered his position on SB1790 and will no longer support it. Many thanks to the countless dog owners who responded swiftly to our initial alert with calls and e-mails—your efforts made all the difference!

With breed-specific legislation still a hot topic in Illinois and many other animal-related bills yet to be considered, dog owners still have much work ahead of them. However, the defeat of SB1790 represents a second important legislative victory in Illinois already this year. Congratulations!


[Thursday, March 03, 2005]

Less than one week after concerned dog owners successfully convinced Illinois legislators to oppose an ineffective breed-specific bill, an even more onerous measure was introduced in the Senate. SB1790, sponsored by Sen. Martin Sandoval, would automatically deem the following breeds dangerous dogs, regardless of any prior aggressive behavior:

  • “Pit bull”
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Great Dane
  • St. Bernard
  • Akita

Owners will be required to:

  • Spay or neuter their dogs. There is no exemption for those who participate in conformation dog shows or other events.

  • License their animals with the state for a yet-to-be-determined amount.

  • Affix an orange dangerous dog tag to animals’ collars.

  • Obtain “canine liability insurance” through a program to be developed by the Division of Insurance.

The American Kennel Club strongly opposes legislation that targets specific breeds of dogs. Instead, we support reasonable, enforceable dangerous dog regulations designed to protect both people and their pets.

Points to Consider:

  • Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.

  • Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.

  • Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.

  • Breed-specific laws increase costs for the community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds, and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds would be euthanized at the shelter.

  • In some instances, breed-specific laws have been overturned on constitutional grounds. Because proper identification of what dogs would be included is difficult or impossible, the law may be deemed unconstitutionally vague. It may also be found to involve the taking of property without due process.

  • Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.

  • Since dogs must be unaltered to participate in conformation dog show and other performance events, many responsible dog owners will be forced to give up a sport that both they and their canine companions enjoy.

  • Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Interest Alliance, National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.

What You Can Do:

  • SB1790 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Please contact the Members and ask them to oppose the bill!

    Committee Members
    Chairperson : John M. Sulivan (217) 782-2479
    Vice-Chairperson : Arthur J. Wilhelmi (217) 782-8800
    Member: Deanna Demuzio (217) 782-8206
    Member: Gary Forby (217) 782-5509
    Member: Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson (217) 782-7419
    Minority Spokesperson : Gary G. Dahl (217) 782-3840
    Member: John O. Jones 217) 782-0471
    Member: David Luechtefeld (217) 782-8137
    Member: Richard J. Winkel Jr. (217) 782-2507

  • Contact the bill sponsor to express your opposition to SB1790:
    Sen. Martin Sandoval
    118 Capitol Building
    Springfield, IL 62706
    (217) 782-5304

For more information, contact:
Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association
Lotzadots101@aol.com
773-763-5773

AKC Canine Legislation Department
doglaw@akc.org