The Illinois General Assembly has wrapped up the majority of its work for the year and remains in recess until an agreement is reached on some non-dog-related policy issues. This has been a very active year for canine legislation in the state, and AKC worked with the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners (IFDCO) on several bills, including:
- Senate Bill 153 – “Lawyers for Dogs”
Status: Held on the House floor, continues to not be scheduled for a vote
This bill, opposed by AKC and IFDCO, passed the Senate but continues to be held on the House floor and has not been scheduled for a vote. This bill is similar to bills introduced in other states in an effort to alter the legal status of animals and provide them with rights, including individual representation, traditionally reserved for children and other people lacking legal capacity. These bills implicitly establish rights for animals, but do nothing to improve the wellbeing of animals or enforce laws to protect animals. Illinois already has numerous state laws regarding animal cruelty and neglect, and an adequate judicial process in place to handle these situations.
AKC thanks IFDCO and the many club members who took the time to fill out witness slips, educate lawmakers, and express your opposition to this legislation. Should the status of this bill change, we will provide updates on how to contact your State Representative.
- House Bill 1711 – Restrictions on Pet Choice and Breed Rescue
Status: Passed House and Senate, likely being sent to governor soon
This bill limits pet stores to sourcing dogs and cats only from shelters and rescues that have no affiliation with breeders. House Bill 1711 would restrict pet choice and consumer protection, and also implies that breeders should not be involved in rescue efforts. AKC and IFDCO joined a broad coalition including veterinarians, the state chamber of commerce, and pet store owners in opposition, but the bill ultimately passed late yesterday with legislators falsely believing the bill will put irreputable breeders around the country out of business.
AKC will be providing more information on next steps and potential actions clubs can take in the coming days.
The final status of other bills monitored by AKC include:
- Senate Bill 1672- Reports on Dog-Related Insurance Claims
Status: Passed both chambers with multiple amendments
This bill originally sought to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against policyholders based on the breed of dog they own, however this met significant opposition. As passed by the General Assembly, it has been amended to instead require companies offering liability insurance for renter’s or homeowner’s insurance to report dog-related claims to the state for the next two years. If there is a dog-related claim on a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, many items must be reported, including:
- The breed involved and how the breed was identified (and if it was a visual identification, who made the identification and a list of their qualifications), as well as the dog’s gender and whether it has been sterilized.
- Where the dog was sourced (a pet store, breeder, shelter, rescue, friend, stray, etc.)
- Whether the dog was being teased or harassed, or otherwise provoked
- Where the incident took place and the type of injury that occurred
- Any training, previous behavior issues, dangerous dog status, etc. applied to the dog.
- House Bill 3971 – New Regulations for Licensed Breeders
Status: Held in committee.
This bill was introduced at the request of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and establishes further requirements for those licensed as commercial breeders (currently defined as those who more than five intact females). While AKC believes most of the requirements are reasonable, we are working with the sponsor to develop some amendments to ensure that home-based breeders are not negatively impacted.
This bill was held in committee and did not advance. AKC and IFDCO will continue to work with the Department and the sponsor on these issues before next session.
For questions or more information on Illinois canine legislation issues, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.