Help Stop Illinois Chole’s Bill

Posted on 02/16/2009


Illinois

 

House Bill 198 targets even the smallest hobby kennels with a legal designation as a commercial kennel. Anyone who sells a single puppy would be classified as a “puppy mill,” if they own more than three sexually intact female dogs.

 

In addition, no one would be able to own or possess more than 20 sexually intact dogs, if they also have three intact females and sell at least one puppy. This would destroy some of the best breeding programs in Illinois, because serious dog fanciers routinely keep older and retired dogs for their entire lives, keep several puppies for evaluation, and have several dogs actively engaged in competition. This provision also would effectively prohibit most professional handlers and trainers from raising even a single litter of puppies.

 

HB 198 was scheduled for a hearing last week before the House Business/Occupational License Committee. The committee met as scheduled and the bill remained on the agenda. However, it wasn’t discussed and several supporters of dog owners made a long drive to Springfield, IL, for nothing.

 

The committee has again scheduled this legislation for a hearing, on Thursday February 19, 2009, at 2 p.m., in Room C-1 Stratton Building at the Capitol in Springfield.

 

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is strongly urging Illinois dog owners to attend this hearing and show your opposition to HB 198. Please also consider asking to formally testify about this legislation by contact the Chairperson, Rep. Robert Rita, at (217) 558-1000.

 

Last week, only about 30 people attended the hearing. Quite frankly, this was not a strong showing by Illinois dog owners, and the low number of people in attendance delivers the wrong message to the representatives. Please attend this week’s hearing, if at all possible.

 

Please also sign the American Sporting Dog Alliance petition in opposition to this legislation. In it’s first week, 1,670 Illinois residents have signed, as have 874 residents of other states who visit Illinois with dogs, for a total of 2,544 voices in opposition. Please add your name to this petition.

 

For residents, sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/asda1/petition.html . Nonresidents, please sign at http://www.petitiononline.com/asda2/petition.html. These petitions will be hand-delivered to the committee.

 

Prompt and aggressive action is required from all Illinois dog owners. If you do not act, there is a strong potential for irreparable damage to be done to everyone who owns a dog in Illinois, and to the dogs themselves.

 

HB 198 says that:

 

  • Anyone who owns more than three intact females and sells puppies would be classified as a commercial breeding kennel, subject to high fees for licensure, rigorous inspections, the forfeiture of several constitutional protections, mandatory fingerprinting and criminal background checks by the state police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, forfeiture of the right to redress in a court of law, heavy loads of paperwork, unworkable standards of care, and the forcible invasion of personal and financial records.

 

  • In addition, no one would be permitted to keep or own more than 20 dogs that are not spayed or neutered. No dog could be bred unless it is examined by a veterinarian. Also, people would not be able to raise a litter of puppies inside their home if other adult dogs are present. It would be illegal to keep more than three dogs together, which would apply to the number of dogs kept inside a home, ban the common practice of kenneling a pack of hounds together and eliminate large fenced lots to allow young dogs to get plenty of exercise.

 

  • There also is an ambiguous provision that requires the state to pass judgment on the “qualifications” of a kennel license applicant before issuing a license. This would be an entirely subjective judgment by the kennel inspector, as the legislation does not define adequate qualifications.

 

  • Only veterinarians could euthanize a dog, which causes terrible suffering and agony if a veterinarian cannot be located quickly.

 

  • Dog owners also could face heavy fines and loss of licenses for irrelevant violations, such as surface rust on wires, a few cobwebs, a knocked over water bowl or chipped paint. Temperature requirements would make it impossible for people to acclimate hunting, herding and performance dogs to weather conditions, thus creating danger for the dogs. Fines and civil penalties would multiply exponentially, and even minor offenses would have the potential to destroy a dog owner financially and cause the loss of her or his home and lifetime savings.

 

  • The legislation also contains numerous powers to seize dogs, or to require their owners to turn them over to an animal shelter within seven days of license revocation, or if a dog owner is incorrectly licensed.

 

The bill’s formal name is the Dog Breeders License Act. HSUS and other animal rights groups are nicknaming it “Chloe’s Bill,” for a dog allegedly rescued from an Illinois “puppy mill.” It is sponsored by State Rep. John A. Fritchey (D-Chicago). Its Senate counterpart, SB 53, is sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D- Mt. Prospect). Joint introduction is another sign that this bill is being pushed hard and fast.

 

Here is a link to the actual legislation: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=76&GA=96&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=198&GAID=10&LegID=40220&SpecSess=&Session=

 

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges Illinois dog owners to immediately contact every member of the House Business/Occupational Licenses Committee.

 

This page lists the committee members, with links to their home pages and contact information: http://www.ilga.gov/house/committees/members.asp?committeeID=773. This page lists all of the House members contact information: http://www.ilga.gov/reports/rptMemberList.asp?gaid=10&ChamberId=H .

 

Please note that the Illinois Legislature does not provide email addresses. You will need to phone, fax, hand-deliver or mail your comments to most of the members. Here are the few email addresses that we have located for this committee: Chairman is Rep. Robert Rita, robertbobrita@aol.com; Rep. Edward J. Acevedo, Sylvia_idrovo@sbcglobal.net;

Rep. Daniel V. Beiser, dvbeiser@sbcglobal.net; Rep. Daniel J. Burke, burkedj2@ilga.gov ; Rep. Thomas Holbrook, holbrookta@ilga.gov ; Rep. David E. Miller, repdavidmiller@aol.com ; and Rep. George Scully Jr., Smangiaracina@hds.ilga.gov.