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Current Replies for Illinois Dog Owners - Urgent Alert
8/24/2009 5:44:39 AM
Posts: 36
Proposed Illinois Legislation Puts Dog
And Cat Owners In ‘Catch 22’ Situations

Task Force Will Discuss Legislation On Tuesday

American Sporting Dog Alliance

This article is archived at

SPRINGFIELD, IL (August 23, 2009) – Proposed changes in the Illinois Animal Welfare Act would have several frightening and authoritarian ramifications for people who raise dogs or cats:

ü Anyone in Illinois who owns more than five female dogs or cats capable of reproduction currently must have a state license and be inspected. The proposed legislation requires these people to get rid of all of their animals if they choose to scale back and voluntarily relinquish their state license. The proposed legislation would not allow them to keep any of their dogs or cats, including household pets.

ü The draft legislation requires license holders to relinquish all of their dogs and cats if they are placed under license suspension, even if the problems do not involve the care or welfare of their animals in any way. Licenses can be suspended for purely technical violations, such as for failing to post required disclosure statements in the correct place, or for unrelated issues, such as failing to pay state taxes on income that does not involve dogs or cats.

ü A license suspension is only a euphemism under the draft bill. In reality it is a de facto revocation, as it requires a kennel or cattery to dispose of all of its animals within two weeks and prior to a possible court review of the decision of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which is cop, judge, jury and hangman under this proposal. In most kinds of laws, a suspension means that a licensee has the opportunity to correct problems. In this bill, a suspension lasts for 12 months, which means that a kennel is out of business or the lifetime work of a dedicated hobby breeder would be destroyed. Also, a suspension is mandatory for three violations within a three-year period, even if they have nothing to do with the care or welfare of dogs or cats. This is a blatant attempt to destroy many good kennels and catteries.

ü When a license is relinquished voluntarily, suspended, revoked or denied, all animals must be turned over to a state-or-federally-licensed kennel, which means animal shelters will get a steady supply of easily adoptable purebred dogs to fund their activities, and animal rights groups will get their wish of removing high quality puppies from American life because shelters will spay or neuter the dogs before they are adopted. Although the bill gives the state the option of allowing other placements, people will lose the right to choose the best homes for their own animals.

ü Pet stores will be allowed to purchase puppies or kittens only from kennels or catteries that are licensed by Illinois or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This means that private individuals who have surplus kittens or puppies will be forbidden to sell them to pet stores. This will result in higher animal shelter admissions and euthanasia rates, and also deny people who patronize pet stores the chance to buy a family-raised puppy or kitten.

ü A series of disclosures must be made to people before they buy a dog or cat, and also posted by the animal’s cage and on the Internet, if a kennel or cattery advertises online. This is totally unworkable in a kennel environment, because moisture and chemicals used for sanitation would destroy the disclosure sheets (as would rainfall and snow in outdoor facilities). The required disclosures would include names and addresses of the breeder and anyone else who has owned the animal, thus exposing them to potential danger on the Internet by exposure to thieves, threats from animal rights groups, and the collection of identifying information from spammers and telemarketers. It also could lead to identity theft. For an online classified ad, the required disclosures would many times more lengthy than the ad itself, and websites would require frequent and expensive redesigns – for no valid purpose!

ü Current law gives the Illinois Department of Agriculture the power to write regulations to implement and enforce the law. This is a broad power for the Department to do anything it wishes, and the law gives them the additional power of destroying a home or business kennel for failing to follow impossible or irrational regulations. Under no circumstances should this draft legislation be considered without also unveiling the new regulations it would be used to enforce. To do otherwise is to require dog and cat owners to swallow a pig in a poke.

ü The legislation also would appear to prohibit or destroy private rescue operations. Only recognized humane societies, animal welfare societies or licensed nonprofit corporations would be allowed to get a state license. Foster homes would be permitted only under the auspices of a state-licensed facility. There is no provision for private individuals who want to help homeless animals, if they disagree with the beliefs and practices of licensed organizations (such as about no-kill, for example), or if they simply choose to work independently. It also would be illegal for Illinois residents to act as foster homes for rescue organizations headquartered in other states, which applies to many breed rescues. This would have a significant impact on shelter admissions and euthanasia rates.

Those problems make the proposed legislation unfair, unworkable and repressive to dog and cat owners. We urge dog and cat owners to vigorously oppose it, and do everything possible to make sure it is not passed into law.

The Illinois Task Force for Dogs will meet to discuss the proposed legislation this coming Tuesday, August 25, 2009, at 9 a.m. at the Illinois Department of Agriculture Auditorium, 801 E. Sangamon Avenue (enter through Gate 11 at Sangamon Avenue and 8th Street), Springfield, Illinois. We urge all dog and cat owners to attend this meeting if at all possible and voice strong opposition to this horrible proposed legislation.

Because the meeting and agenda were announced with little advance notice, we also urge dog and cat owners to immediately make their concerns known to the sporting dog delegate on the Task Force, Mary Jo Trimble. Ms. Trimble is a strong supporter of the rights of dog and cat owners, and we are asking her to make our concerns known at the meeting. We also urge cat owners to respond, as they do not have a representative of their own on the Task Force. Ms. Trimble’s email is

In addition, we are asking dog owners to urge changes in the current law that would raise the current threshold for state licensure higher than the current standard of more than five female dogs or cats capable of reproduction. This number includes elderly and retired dogs, as well as older puppies that are being evaluated for their potential. It has nothing to do with actual breeding for the vast majority of hobbyists.

This is an absurdly low threshold, as it ensnares many hobbyists who do very little breeding, but are active in shows, field trials and other events. There is no reason for the state to forcibly intrude into the lives of these private citizens. At the bare minimum, the threshold should be doubled to more than 12 female dogs or cats capable of reproduction.

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