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March 20, 2019

The Illinois Senate Agriculture Committee is considering bills tomorrow (Thursday, March 21) that would significantly increase kennel and other license fees in the state, and also regulate foster homes and transport groups.
This bill was originally scheduled to be considered last week but was deferred.  Now, there are three versions of Senate Bill 61, and it is unclear which one will be voted on by the committee.

Illinois residents that have a kennel operator license (for boarding, training, etc) or state breeder license, or those that are involved in rescue in the state, may provide comments to the committee on these bills prior to the hearing on Thursday, March 21 (Scroll down for committee contact information, or you can submit an online witness slip here).

Summary:

The introduced version on Senate Bill 61, as well as Amendment 1 and Amendment 2, all include the following provisions:

  • Increased license fees from $25 to either $250 or $350, depending on the version of the bill (this includes breeders who have more than 5 females capable of reproduction and sell, offer to sell, or exchange dogs they have bred and raised). Renewal fees will also be increased from $25 to up to $100, depending on the bill version.Some of the amendments would also now require a separate license fee (for example, a breeder that also has boarding or training facilities on their property), with the new license fee applying to each license.
  • New definition and requirements for foster homes, including changes to the number of animals that may be housed in a foster home at one time (4 animals, and 2-4 litters under 8 weeks of age, depending on the bill version).In the definition, it says that a written agreement may be contracted between a shelter/animal control facility and a foster home, yet other places in the bill require a formal written agreement.  It is unclear what is actually required or how regulations (such as the number of animals a foster home is permitted to have at one time) would be enforced if foster homes do not have a formal agreement with a shelter or animal control facility.

    Some versions would also require inspections of a foster home if there is a complaint.

  • New definition and requirements for “rescue group” or “transport group” – This new regulated group is defined as a non-profit organization that does not have a building or facility and transports or transfers animals among shelters or animal control facilities for adoption, release, return, or transfer. Those who meet this definition would need to be licensed and comply with state regulations.  Some amendments clarify that this must be an entity located in Illinois.AKC clubs involved in rescue activities in Illinois are encouraged to review the bill versions to see how the bills would impact operations in the state.

What You Can Do:

Those who wish to comment on these bills may do so in one of the following manners:

  • Submit an online witness slip – Comments may be submitted directly to the committee by completing an online witness slip at this link. Select the bill you wish to comment on from the list and follow the online steps.  Comments are accepted through the end of the day on March 21; however, the AKC recommends that they be submitted prior to the meeting, which begins at 8:00 am.
  • Contact the members of the committee: 

    Scott Bennett, Chair – (217) 782-2507Sen. Linda Holmes, Vice Chair (and sponsor of SB 61 and SB 2131) – (217) 782-0422

    Sen. Bill Cunningham – (217) 782-5145

    Sen. Laura Ellman – (217) 782-8192

    Sen. David Koehler – (217) 782-8250

    Sen. Andy Manar – (217) 782-0228

    Sen. Julie Morrison – (217) 782-3650

    Sen. Patricia Van Pelt – (217) 782-6252

    Sen. Craig Wilcox – (217) 782-8000

    Sen. Steve McClure – (217) 782-8206

    Sen. Paul Schimpf – (217) 782-8137

    Sen. Jil Tracy – (217) 782-2479

For additional information on this bill, contact the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners at schipnut58@yahoo.com or AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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