After no action for almost 10 months, Senate Bill 153, which would provide an animal a court advocate in cases involving the health, safety, or an injury of a dog or cat, is again on the move.
The bill passed the Senate in 2021, and was just placed on the House Calendar where it can be voted on at any time. It is essential that Illinois dog owners call TODAY and ask the sponsor and their State Representative to oppose Senate Bill 153. (Scroll down for contact information)
SB 153 is similar to bills introduced in other states, and is part of an effort to alter the legal status of animals by providing them with rights, including individual representation. Such rights and privileges are 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. Moreover, changing the legal status of animals as property would ultimately hamstring the ability of owners, veterinarians, and government agencies to protect and care for dogs.
Illinois already has numerous state laws regarding animal cruelty and neglect. In fact, animal rights organizations again in 2022 ranked Illinois among the top 3 in the country for strong animal protection laws. As part of these laws, an appropriate judicial process in place to handle these situations.
At the very least, AKC is asking for an amendment stating that nothing in the bill changes the legal status of animals as property under Illinois law.
For talking points and more information:
- View one-pager Laws That Provide Court- Appointed Animal Advocates Could Undermine Animal Welfare
- Visit AKC GR’s Legal Status of Animals Key Issues Page
- Read AKC’s previous alert
What You Can Do:
Since the bill could move at any time, please both call and email the following:
Contact the House sponsor – Respectfully express your opposition. Ask him to not advance the bill. In addition, ask if he would at least consider an amendment protecting the legal status of animals as property.
Rep. Daniel Didech (Buffalo Grove)
Contact Your Illinois State Representative and respectfully ask them to oppose Senate Bill 153 if it comes up for a vote.
Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center at www.akcgr.org and scroll down to the “Find Officials” box on the right side to type in your address and get the name and contact information for your State Representative.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.