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On Tuesday, March 9, the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that provides court-appointed advocates to represent the “interests of justice” in a case involving health, safety or injury to a dog or cat.

Senate Bill 153 is similar to bills being 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.

AKC abhors animal cruelty and strongly believes that those who harm animals should be held accountable.  However, bills such as SB 153 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.  Senate Bill 153 is unnecessary, and will create confusion about who is responsible for a pet, unnecessarily clog court dockets, and harm pets and their owners by undermining the rights and responsibilities of pet owners to freely choose the most appropriate course of care and treatment for their pets.

For more information on these issues, visit the AKC Legislative Action Center key issue page regarding the legal status of animals.

What You Can Do:

Senate Bill 153 is scheduled to be hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 9  Please take the following actions to express your concerns:

  • Submit a witness slip in opposition – Visit the hearing notification page, and click the icon next to Senate Bill 153 to submit a witness slip in opposition. This will not require you to testify, but will put you on record to the committee as opposed to the bill.
  • Contact the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee: If you are a constituent of a committee member, use the form provided to directly contact your State Senator. Otherwise, use the information below to contact the committee:
  • Rachelle Crowe, Chair (Madison County)
    info@senatorcrowe.com
  • John Connor, Vice Chair (Crest Hill)
    (217) 782-8800
  • Jil Tracy, Minority Spokesperson (Quincy)
    (217) 782-2479
  • Scott M. Bennett (Champaign)
    (217) 782-2507
  • Michael E. Hastings (Frankfort)
    outreach@senatorhastings.com
  • Robert F. Martwick (Chicago)
    info@senatormartwick.com
  • Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (Chicago)
    info@senatorelgiesims.com
  • Jason A. Barickman (Bloomington)
    jason@jasonbarickman.org
  • Brian W. Stewart (Freeport)
    (217) 782-0180

AKC Government Relations and the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners continue to closely monitor all legislation in Illinois impacting dogs and dog owners.  For more information, visit the AKC Legislative Action Center at www.akcgr.org or email doglaw@akc.org.

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