Numerous bills impacting dog owners, breeders, and trainers have been introduced this year in Illinois, and AKC Government Relations and the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners have been working diligently to fight on your behalf.
We thank all those who have taken the time to file witness slips and contact legislators. Together we are making a difference for dogs in Illinois.
Below are the latest updates on several key bills of interest. At this time, no specific actions are needed, but be sure to watch for updates as session continues so you can be ready to act quickly if necessary. To do this, we recommend the following:
1) Make sure your club has a Legislative Liaison and that AKC GR has the most up to date contact information. Emailing alerts to your club officers and Legislative Liaisons is the primary way we communicate the latest information to you so you can quickly take action. Please contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org to update your information.
2) If you have not yet done so, consider joining the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners as a club or individual. They are sending out information and updates in addition to those provided by AKC, and also paying for a lobbyist who has been instrumental this session in ensuring access to key members. For more information contact IFDCO at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://ifdco.org.
Updates on Illinois Bills of Interest:
- House Bill 3200 – Genetic Testing and Mandatory Sterilization
Status: This bill was held on the agenda in the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee on March 7. AKC and IFDCO are reaching out to the sponsor to discuss concerns.
Summary: House Bill 3200 would require genetic testing for all dogs owned by dog breeders. If any “genetic defect or mutation that causes early death or physical impairments” is found, the dog must be immediately sterilized. AKC and IFDCO have provided extensive information to the sponsor on this issue and continue to work with her.
- House Bill 1049 – “Lawyers for Dogs”
Status: This bill was held on the agenda in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee on March 9.
Summary: House Bill 1169 would provide a separate legal advocate (lawyer) for dogs or cats in court cases involving its health, safety, or an injury. AKC opposes providing rights traditionally reserved for humans to animals, as is proposed here. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee. At the request of AKC, an amendment was added clarifying that the section does not change the legal status of animals as property, but concerns still remain and AKC and IFDCO continue to communicate with the sponsor.
- Senate Bill 1372 – Regulation of All Dog Trainers
Status: The sponsor has committed to not allowing the bill to advance as written, and the Chair of the Senate Licensed Activities Committee has indicated that she will not be hearing the bill at this time. AKC and IFDCO thank those clubs who reached out prior to session to express concerns. We continue to work with national training organizations to oppose the bill as introduced and work with the sponsor.
Summary:Senate Bill 1372 as introduced seeks to require licensing for all dog trainers in the state. This would include handling, agility, CGC, performance events, and other training classes. AKC GR, the Illinois federation, and multiple national dog training organizations are expressing significant concerns with this bill, which would only allow for one training philosophy and could result in severely limiting training options in the state. AKC GR and the Illinois federation, along with other national training organizations and local trainers, have been in multiple meetings with the sponsor and committee where the bill was assigned. The sponsor has committed to continuing to work with us.
- Senate Bill 1499- Expanding Laws Regarding Seizure of Animals
Status: This bill has been amended at AKC’s request. It is pending in the Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety.
Summary: Senate Bill 1499 would allow for a person to face forfeiture of their animals for virtually any violation of state law regarding the care of animals. AKC and IFDCO expressed concerns about the one-size-fits- all nature of this punishment that could include minor, correctable infractions that do not rise to the level of a serious offense. After meeting with the sponsor and county and state attorneys, an amendment has been added that it must be demonstrated that there was an arrest/seizure because the animals’ health and safety were at risk. In addition, the sponsor and stakeholders have agreed to meet again to discuss to the underlying law and additional concerns.
- House Bill 3695 – Expansion of “exotic animal” law to potentially include dogs
Status: This bill was held on the House Judiciary-Criminal agenda on March 9.
Summary: House Bill 3695 seeks to expand the laws prohibiting exotic animals from being used for exhibition in the state. However, as introduced, the bill defines “exotic animal” as any animal that does not originate in the United States. AKC GR and IFDCO reached out to the sponsor asking for an amendment to clarify that this definition does not apply to domesticated animals, including dogs. The sponsor committed to holding the bill at this time.
- House Bill 1049- Preventing Breed Discrimination in Insurance
Status: Passed the House Insurance Committee on March 7
Summary: House Bill 1049 would prohibit homeowners’ and renters’ insurers from canceling, refusing, or raising premiums for coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the insured. AKC supports this bill, which is a good first step in protecting resident Illinois dog owners.
AKC and IFDCO continue to closely monitor all bills impacting dogs and dog owners/breeders/trainers in the state and meet with key legislators. Updates will be provided as necessary. For questions or more information contact AKC GR at email@example.com or IFDCO at the information provided above.