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URGENT: Illinois Crop/Dock and Breeder Regulations Bills to Be Heard on March 10 and March 11!

(Tuesday, March 10, 2009)

The AKC urges all responsible dog owners and breeders to call or email your state legislators TODAY regarding two important pieces of legislation that are scheduled for consideration on Tuesday, March 11 and Wednesday, March 12, 2009. It is crucial that constituents communicate their opposition to these measures immediately.

Although we are awaiting amendments for both bills, the draft amendments that we have seen do not adequately address our concerns, protect responsible breeders or preserve the rights of owners and veterinarians to make decisions regarding an animal’s health care.

Senate Bill 139
SB 139 seeks to severely limit the practices of tail docking and ear cropping in the state. Current Illinois statute allows ear cropping and tail docking done for any legitimate purpose. If SB 139 becomes law, ear cropping and tail docking would be considered "animal torture" under Illinois criminal law and would be allowed only for medical purposes. SB 139 seeks to fundamentally change many breeds’ characteristics by severely limiting the valid practices of cropping and docking.

The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.

Although there has been discussion of an amendment that would allow cropping and docking under veterinary supervision for dogs less than 5 days of age (tail docking) or over 14 weeks of age (ear cropping), this amendment has not materialized and the original bill language will move forward.

This measure is scheduled to be heard:
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
1:00 p.m.
Senate Agriculture & Conservation Committee
Illinois State Capitol, Room 409
Springfield, IL

House Bill 198 and Senate Bill 53
These bills are supposedly an attempt to address “puppy mills” and irresponsible dog breeders in Illinois. However, these bills affect many small-scale hobby breeders and create unreasonable standards for commercial breeders who are in compliance with current state and federal laws. Their passage will not improve enforcement or the lives of animals in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture already has a licensing program in place which requires breeders with more than 5 intact females to be licensed. The “puppy mill” that sparked the introduction of this bill was not licensed as current law required and was being investigated by the Department of Agriculture.

Although draft amendments that have been circulating would allow the Department of Agriculture to administer the bill (current bill language establishes a new program in the Department of Financial and Professional Regulations), the provisions continue to be burdensome and will not improve animal welfare.

Enforcement of current laws is the most effective way to address animal care issues in Illinois.

House Bill 198 is scheduled to be heard:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
2:00 p.m.
House Business & Occupational Licenses Committee
Illinois State Capitol, Stratton Building
Room D-1
Springfield, IL

Senate Bill 53 is scheduled to be heard:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
3:00 p.m.
Senate Licensed Activities Committee
Illinois State Capitol, Room 409
Springfield, IL

What You Can Do:

  • Call your Illinois State Representative and State Senator TODAY. Tell them that you are a constituent and ask them to oppose HB 198, SB 53 and SB 139.
  • Personalize sample letters to send to your representatives. Due to the speed at which these items may move, we highly suggest sending your message in an email or by fax. Click here to find out who represents you in the Illinois State Legislature.

    Click here for a sample letter for Senate Bill 139 (crop/dock)

    Click here for a sample letter to send to your Representative regarding House Bill 198 (breeders’ bill)

    Click here for a sample letter to send to your Senator regarding Senate Bill 53 (breeders’ bill)