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The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) recently published proposed amendments to the regulations that carry out the state’s Animal Welfare Act.  These regulations would apply to all state licensed breeders, which in current law is anyone who raises and sells dogs they have bred, and have more than five females “capable of reproduction.”

The proposed amendments add: (1) sanitation and safety requirements; (2) requirements for enclosures to be safely constructed, be large enough for the animals, and have adequate lighting and ventilation; (3) provisions to protect animals from dangerous weather conditions; and (4) requirements for providing animals with proper exercise, hygiene, and physical examinations.

Breeders licensed under the state’s Animal Welfare Act and other interested Illinois residents are encouraged to review the proposed amendments, and to contact IDOA with comments or concerns.

Specifically, the proposed amendments:

  • Define “physical examination” by a licensed veterinarian, to include, at minimum, a hands-on examination, including a comprehensive physical exam, dental assessment, body conditioning score, and pain assessment.
  • Define “enclosure” as an area where a dog is confined, to include cages, whelping boxes, and runs.  Additionally, the proposal replaces the current regulations’ use of the term “cages” with “enclosures”.
  • Require floors of enclosures to be constructed of a material that does not sag, bend, or bounce; and that enclosures must be of a sufficient size to allow the animal to turn in a complete circle.
  • Mandate that by December 31, 2022, all enclosures containing dogs shall have solid surface, slatted, or PVC/vinyl coated wire flooring.  If slatted flooring is used, slats shall be appropriately spaced for the size of the dog and constructed in a manner which prevents the animal’s feed from getting trapped or injured.  Additionally, enclosures will be permitted to be stacked only if they were commercially designed and constructed to be a multi-level enclosure/kennel; and if enclosures are located indoors, they must be placed in facilities with adequate light and ventilation.
  • Mandate that by January 1, 2023, licensees are not permitted to keep a dog in an outdoor enclosure if it is unable to tolerate the prevalent temperatures, based on the animal’s own characteristics (i.e., breed, body identification, and environmental acclimation).  Moreover, those using outdoor enclosures must take effective measures to ensure that climatic or ambient temperature threats to the health and welfare of dogs are eliminated.
  • Clarify that surface runs must be both cleaned and disinfected.
  • Require licensees to provide grooming, as necessary, to prevent matting of coat and accumulation of fecal, urine, or other material in an animal’s coat; and shall include nail trimming to ensure that nails do not injure the dog.
  • Direct licensees to provide animals an opportunity for daily exercise, and require licenses to maintain a daily exercise log.
  • Require licensees have a working relationship with a veterinarian who will provide recommendations on vaccinations and deworming.  Additionally, each dog must receive a complete physical exam by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of intake or prior to sale/adoption, whichever occurs first, and thereafter on an annual basis if the animal has not been sold/adopted.  Breeding animals shall receive an annual physical examination by a licensed veterinarian as long as the dog is part of the facility’s breeding population.  Licensees must maintain a record of all completed physical exams, which shall be made available for inspection.
  • Expand the requirement for annual testing for canine brucellosis from sires to all breeding animals.

Click here to view the proposed amendments in full (pages 8-20).

Licensees, potential licensees, and Illinois residents are encouraged to review the proposed amendments.  Written comments may be made to:

Pamela Harmon
Illinois Department of Agriculture
State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19821
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9281
Phone: 217-524-6905
Fax: 217-785-4505

Comments will be accepted through August 20, 2021.

For more information, contact:
AKC Government Relations – or email