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AKC Illinois Federation Works with State Senate to Support Retired Police Dogs

German Shepherd Dog with policeman

A bill is moving through the Illinois Senate that will allow retired police dogs to be adopted by the officer or employee who had custody of the dog during its service.

“As a dog owner myself, I recognize there is a special connection formed between an officer and their dog,” bill sponsor Senator Tom Cullerton said in a press release. “It’s important that we honor this relationship and give retiring police dogs a loving home.”

This bill was presented to Senator Cullerton by the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners, AKC’s official state federation for Illinois, who worked together last year on a bill that created new requirements for shelters to help lost dogs get home more quickly.

“IFDCO was very happy to bring the police dog retirement bill to Senator Tom Cullerton after our combined success last year with our microchip scanning bill for shelters and rescues, which is now law,” explained IFDCO Vice President Michele Kasten. “Presenting this bill for consideration was a natural progression to continue the protection of our valued canine officers and allow them the chance to stay with their partners and their families who know these dogs the best.  As dog professionals, the members of IFDCO also realize that having the ability to retire in the home the dogs are used to is the best outcome for canine officers who have faithfully served their handlers and our communities.”

The American Kennel Club is pleased to join IFDCO in support of Senate Bill 3129, which helps ensure the lifelong care of these animals that, along with their handlers, provide invaluable services to local communities.  A similar bill passed last year in North Carolina that allows officers in Wake and Mecklenburg Counties the opportunity to adopt retired law enforcement service dogs.

In addition, AKC clubs across the country often support local K9 programs, including those in Illinois.

“Hundreds of AKC clubs in Illinois are required to do community service as part of their commitment to responsible dog ownership,” Kasten said.  “In the past, Illinois Capitol Kennel Club has purchased a K9 officer and covered the maintenance of another canine officer.  Belle City Kennel Club has purchased multiple canine bullet proof vests, hot-n-pop units for police cruisers and other protective gear to keep our canine police officers safe.”

Senate Bill 3129 unanimously passed the Senate State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee on March 17 and goes to the full Senate for a vote on April 5.

Illinois State Senator Tom Cullerton, Illinois State Capitol Police Investigator Steven Speaks, and his police dog Quinn at the March 17 committee hearing.  Photo copyright: Illinois Senate Democrat Staff.  Used with permission.