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On Tuesday, February 14, an Illinois House Committee will consider a bill that would provide a legal advocate in court for a dog or cat in legal cases involving the health, safety, or an injury of a dog or cat.

House Bill 1169 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.

AKC abhors animal cruelty and strongly believes that those who harm animals should be held accountable.  However, bills such as HB 1169 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.

For talking points and more information:

What You Can do:

Illinois residents are strongly encouraged to do the following prior to the hearing on Tuesday, February 14:

  • Create a Witness Slip in opposition. Visit the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee hearing page and click on the “create witness slip” icon next to HB 1169 to register your opposition.
  • Contact the members of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee and express your opposition to HB 1169. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them:

Justin Slaughter (Chair- Chicago)

Kelly Cassidy (Vice-Chairperson – Chicago)

Patrick Windhorst (Harrisburg)

Kambium Buckner (Chicago)

Rep. John Cabello (Freeport)
(217) 782-8186

David Friess (Red Bud)
(217) 782-1018

Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (Glenview)
(217) 782-4194

Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (Summit)

Amy Grant (Wheaton)

Will Guzzardi (Chicago)

Bob Morgan (Highwood)
(217) 782-0902

Kevin Olickal (Chicago)
(217) 782-1252

Anne Stava-Murray (Downers Grove)

Dennis Tipsword, Jr. (Pontiac)
(217) 782-0044

Dave Vella (Loves Park)
(217) 782-0455

AKC Government Relations and the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners continue to monitor this and all Illinois legislation impacting dog owners.  For more information, visit the AKC Legislative Action Center or email