nov. 2009 update on illinois dog task force meetings

Posted on 11/15/2009


Here are the latest notes from the Illinois Dog Task Force.
Ami Moore
The below are Notes from IL Breeders/Retailers Task Force Meeting held 10-27-09
in Springfield IL. You may crosspost/forward in their entirety, giving credit to Lisa Hills.
Being in the audience for that meeting, I have two additional comments to what Lisa wrote. She states:
Dr. Ernst asked Dr. Dullard (Veterinarian Rep) for his comment on wire flooring.
Dr. Dullard stated that in a swine situation the wire wouldn’t work, but that
there are equal sanitation problems with wire or concrete. It all comes down to
the frequency of cleaning.
According to my own notes, Dr. Dullard did not state that wire flooring doesn’t work for swine. What he did state that flooring/housing standards had to be suitable for the needs of the species. He also did state that sufficient warmth and dryness is needed for young piglets as it is for puppies, and wire flooring (in a suitable housing enclosure) designed for the needs of each would provide that better than would (unheated) concrete flooring. (This is in line with his other statements on the topic, which you can read in Lisa’s notes.)
As an additional comment to another topic talked about at the meeting, in after-the-meeting discussion it was revealed that – according to the AKC – should a AKC-regd. dog enter into a shelter, the papers should be destroyed or returned to the AKC, otherwise it would be too easy for someone to falsify the information for a different dog.
Margo Milde
AKC Legislative Liaison – Rand Park Dog Training Club Inc
AKC Legislative Liaison – Agility Ability Club of IL
AKC Legislative Liaison – Field Spaniel Society of America
I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies or omissions. You have my
permission to crosspost these notes in their entirety and with credit to
Illinois Capitol Kennel Club Secretary – Lisa Hills
Thank you,

Task Force Meeting Notes October 27, 2009

Dr. Ernst called the meeting to order at 9:20am.
Absent were Senator Kotowski, Tom Van Winkle, Erica Walsh.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) opened the meeting saying that he was disappointed that the
Il Dept. of Agriculture chose to adopt the Federal USDA standards in their
latest draft. He outlined size of enclosures and the lack of limits on the
number of dogs in an enclosure are unacceptable. He stated that USDA standards
are survival standards and not humane. Mr Matyas stated they want to see solid
floors, absolutely no wire flooring, and that the runs have unfettered access to
the outdoors, they want to provide more specificity as to grooming, dogs cannot
be bred before vet checked, not bred before 18 months or after 8 years of age,
and want consumers to have information before time of sale. Mr. Matyas also
still recommends a cap of 50 dogs for any breeder.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that she supported everything that Mr. Matyas said.
USDA standards are totally inadequate on so many levels. She showed photos of
wire flooring and size of caging. She would like to see a bottom and top
threshold on temperature.

Sally Westerhoff (Shelter Rep) stated that she supported everything Mr Matyas
and Ms Menkin supported and also wanted to know why Department of Ag was
suggesting the same standards of care for shelters as commercial breeders.
Wanted to know why shelters should pay more in licensing fees than a hobby
breeder, especially since they are working hard with limited resources. Ms.
Westerhoff again stated that she would like to see a law prohibiting the sale of
puppies less than 8 weeks of age – including anyone who is not required to be

Dr. Ernst (Dept. of Ag) stated that the Dept. worked hard to find science based
information to base this law on and that is why the Dept. recommended USDA

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that she had heard that argument before and that she
has yet to see the science used in formation of the Federal guidelines.

Christina Lee (Commercial Breeder Rep) stated that concrete is cold and some of
the small dogs do not tolerate it well, even if the inside temperature is kept
warm. Dr. Dullard agreed that concrete takes away heat but that wire flooring
must be suited to the size of the dog’s foot.

Sally Westerhoff (Shelter Rep) said that in her shelter all the concrete floors
have radiant heat and are slanted for adequate drainage.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated that she brought samples of flooring,
and that she was happy to see the provision for exercise and would rather have
dogs out of a enclosure for regular exercise than for them to have a bit larger
enclosure with no chance for exercise.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that exercise periods were unenforceable and there
was no way for the Dept. inspectors to know if commercial breeders were in

Paul Moody spoke to the issue of wire flooring. He has a boarding and breeding
kennel licensed by the State since 1981. He and his wife raise and show Cocker
Spaniels. He stated his runs are 32″ x 10 ft long, have a coated wire mesh
flooring and in each enclosure there is a solid area for the dogs to rest on.
They keep one or two dogs per run. Mr. Moody stated that he thought all dogs
should have access to outside. Mr. Moody displayed samples of the coated mesh
wire he currently uses, and showed samples of some other types of flooring

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that she had a picture of feces sitting on top of
wire flooring and that the only way for the feces to be removed was either
manually by a caretaker or for the dog to actually grind the feces through the
wire with its paws. Ms. Menkin asked about slatted floors of treated wood.
Michele Kasten stated that dogs could chew up coated wood which is often treated
with formaldehyde or other equally toxic substances. Ms. Menkin asked Christina
Lee (Commercial Breeder Rep) what she used for flooring. Christina stated she
has both wire and concrete, but especially with puppies, it isn’t advisable to
raise them on cold concrete floors.

Senator Althoff asked Department of Ag. if we had had a major issue in Illinois
with regard to wire flooring. A Dept. employee said they have had a few issues
with sanitation but nothing particularly stating wire flooring any more so than
a solid surface. Senator Althoff followed up by asking how soon after a
citation would the Dept. return for a check -up. The employee said one week.

Dr. Ernst asked Dr. Dullard (Veterinarian Rep) for his comment on wire flooring.
Dr. Dullard stated that in a swine situation the wire wouldn’t work, but that
there are equal sanitation problems with wire or concrete. It all comes down to
the frequency of cleaning.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that if it comes down to cleaning and all things
being equal why not opt for the most humane form of flooring.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked Dr. Dullard (Vet Rep) what was more
humane, a dog with some feces on it’s feet vs. a cold wet animal? Dr. Dullard
stated that a cold wet dog was more at risk for developing problems. He further
stated that the major thrust of most of the housing and care research has been
related to animal production.

Christina Lee (Commercial Breeder Rep) stated that she has done a test raising
puppies on coated wire and raising puppies on concrete and in her opinion the
puppies raised on wire were much healthier. She stated that concrete is cold no
matter what the temperature and that her puppies raised on wire also have a
heated shelf to rest on if they like.

Ron Berning (Pet Store Rep) stated that he bought dogs from a breeder who had
solid flooring with outdoor runs and he has never seen such an awful mess –
especially in the winter – it was impossible to keep the runs dry.

Senator Althoff asked if anyone knew how much it would cost to convert a kennel
from wire flooring. Discussion ensued and no one knew for sure. Michele Kasten
(Hobby Breeder) stated that a friend had put up a 7 run indoor/outdoor kennel
for German Shepherds and it cost $250,000. Senator Althoff asked how many other
states allow wire floors. Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that Pennsylvania just
passed a law outlawing wire flooring. Michel Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated
that yes Pennsylvania had passed the law without a grandfather clause and as a
result the euthanasia rates had skyrocketed, breeders were sending their dogs to
auctions in Ohio in Missouri and rescue had been inundated with dogs.

Dr. Ernst stated that he has spoken to many other states during this process,
and he has learned that many states do not legislate breeders. Illinois has
licensed breeders for a long time and that is why Illinois doesn’t have a big
problem with breeders.

Mary Jo Trimble (Sporting Rep) asked who the Animal Welfare Act applies to: Are
the regulations to apply to hobby breeders as well? The way she reads the
latest draft, hobby breeders will be held to the same housing requirements as
commercial breeders.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS), stated that as long as the 6-26 breedable bitches defines
a hobby breeder, they should be held to the same requirements as a commercial
breeder. He stated that 26 breedable females is an insane number for a hobby

Sally Westerhoff (Shelter Rep) asked how the fee structure was derived. Dr.
Ernst stated that the fees were derived from internal discussions. An Ag
employee stated that this was just a starting point. The fees and housing
requirements were by no means set in stone.

Ms. Westerhoff questioned if the fees can go into a dedicated Dept. of Ag fund,
strictly for the inspection programs. Senator Althoff stated that was the
intent, but we knew it hadn’t happened in the past. Senator Althoff stated that
there are thousands of laws with dedicated funds but that those funds end up
getting swept into the general fund.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) asked what some of the breeders thought about the cage size.
Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked for a definition of primary enclosure
because we have been asking for that definition and no one has been able to
define it to date. She stated that all the rigid specifications set forth in SB
53 were there only for the intent of putting breeders out of business.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that small cages don’t necessarily lead to unhealthy
puppies, but it does have a lot to do with the quality of life for the breeding

Ron Berning (Pet Store Rep) stated that many of his breeders use Tenderfoot
flooring which is also used by pig breeders. Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that
Tenderfoot hurts dog feet because they can pass through the openings. Rep Reis
said he uses Tenderfoot flooring at his farm and that nothing bigger around than
a pencil can fit through Tenderfoot flooring.

Dr. Ernst asked Jordan Matyas (HSUS) and Cori Menkin (ASPCA) if they still have
a problem with cage size if exercise is made mandatory. Ms Menkin stated that
if we can’t find a way to enforce the exercise period then they still have
problems with cage size. Dr. Ernst stated that there will always be enforcement
issues even with attached large runs to a larger cage size.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked about a substandard licensed shelter that was taking
a long time to close.

Rep. Mendoza asked for more specific information regarding sanitation citations.
She felt that maybe one of the reason we are having a difficulty closing a
substandard situation down is that we don’t have more specific information.

Dr. O’Keefe (Dept of Ag) stated that we do have a score sheet for each
inspector. She also stated that the photo that Jordan Matyas (HSUS) was passing
around would not be able to be licensed in Illinois. The photo was of the
location where the dog “Chloe” came from. She also stated that the facility was
unlicensed and that the owners were trying to come into compliance prior to the
dogs being seized.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated that in the Chloe case – the law

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) stated that we need more specific rules in order to for Ag
Inspectors to do their job. Jordan stated that Amish farm where Chloe came from
were back to breeding dogs again. Dr. O’Keefe stated that wasn’t true, the
family had no dogs and the buildings that had previously housed dogs had been

Representative Reis stated that in the case of Chloe the law worked. Jordan
Matyas (HSUS) stated that the only reason the law worked was they got the county
law enforcement involved.

Much discussion ensued.
Senator Althoff stated that she felt that we needed to craft practical and
realistic legislation to allow the Dept. of Ag to do their job. The Dept. does
an excellent job with the limited resources it has and that they need additional
tools to do their job, but it should not impact the hobby breeders that love
their dogs and are trying hard to raise quality animals

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked if Dept. of Ag inspectors had input
into the drafting of the language. Dr. O’Keefe said yes and asked that we
remember that Ag inspectors have only had the ability to levy fines for the past
year and that has led to increased compliance.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked why all the work HSUS and ASPCA had done with the
Dept. of Ag Legal Department last year was not included in the latest draft.

Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that there was some vagueness in the temperature
requirements, she mentioned the 4 hour time frame and that an inspector won’t be
there for 4 hours. She also has an issue with ventilation requirements.

Dr. Ernst repeated that the issues Cori Menkin (ASPCA) was having with
temperature and ventilation are not enforceable. Ms Menkin stated that is why
they would like inspections unannounced. Someone stated that the inspections
ARE unannounced. Dr. Ernst asked what ventilation requirements they would
propose. Ms. Menkin stated 10-20 air exchanges per hour was ASPCA’s recommended
requirement. Dr. Ernst asked Ms. Menkin to supply an estimate for the price of
equipment needed to comply.

The question was asked what shelters do when they receive a dog that is
accompanied with registration papers, Sally Westerhoff (Shelter Rep) stated that
she destroys the papers.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated that if everyone wanted breeders to be
more responsible then when one of their dogs came into a shelter they should be
contacted to take responsibility for the dog. If they are never contacted they
never know the dog has been relinquished.

Mary Jo Trimble (Sporting Dog Rep) stated that shelters should give the papers
to the new owners as that would allow them the opportunity to participate in
activities that allowed altered dogs.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked for a definition of a breedable female.
She also asked for a definition of harboring and asked if animals co-owned would
count in a person’s breedeable total. Ms. Kasten stated that our breeders want
to be compliant, but they need to know these definitions and how they apply.
Dr. O’Keefe stated that she was waiting for a submission of a definition of
breedable female and yes, a dog co-owned would count in your numbers if it was
on your premises. For example a leased dog would count in your numbers, but a
female temporarily there for breeding would not count in one’s numbers. Dr.
O’Keefe stated that this is current law.

Mary Jo Trimble (Sporting Dog Rep) stated that this was a problem for trainers.
Dr. O’Keefe stated that the trigger is selling or giving away puppies. They
might have to have multiple licenses. But that would work in their favor
because they would have a training license.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked about foster dogs – one section states
4 dogs is the maximum. In previous discussions they had discussed raising the 4
dog limit. What is the Department’s decision? She asked about segregating
foster dogs from personal dogs as the proposed regulations require. She stated
that dogs need to be run together (if there isn’t a quarantine situation) in
order to determine their compatibility with other animals, noises, people etc.

Michele Kasten (Hobbby Breeder Rep) asked about due process and relinquishment
and related the story where a man went to a dog show and left the dogs with the
wife – while they are gone, Animal Control seized their dogs, and brought
charges against the owners. Ultimately the owners were found innocent, but
their dogs were gone. Ms. Kasten asked why due process language was removed.
Dr. O’Keefe stated that Section 13 was struck because it is covered in other
areas of the act, in a better manner and providing for written appeal. A person
is issued a summons, given two weeks, and are given a hearing under an
administrative law judge. If necessary there is an appeal process and no dogs
can be seized until after the appeal process is completed. There is a written
appeal for a licensee where Ag has removed the license. Mary Jo Trimble
(Sporting Dog Rep) asked that we define relinquishment as she has concerns that
people will be forced into this process if they voluntarily give up (relinquish)
their license.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked about the mailing of the citation which
allows for a a 4 days delivery. Ms Kasten asked if it could be sent priority
mail with delivery confirmation. Margaret (sorry don’t have her last name)
Legal Council for Dept. of Ag stated that the Court recognizes 3 days.

Ron Berning (Pet Store Rep) asked about the disclosure of medication dispensed.
Dr. O’Keefe stated that the clause meant that you couldn’t send home medication
with a puppy; not that shelters can’t give medications. The key word in that
sentence is dispensed, meaning given to an owner. Michele Kasten (Hobby
Breeder Rep) stated that shelters and rescue would be financially affected if
they couldn’t give their own puppy shots or wormers.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) stated that he would like to see the AWA include that you
can’t breed a dog before a certain age and shouldn’t breed after a certain age.
Jordan asked for the number to be 18 months and 8 years and that they cannot be
bred on back to back heat cycles. Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated
that the reproduction specialists are now saying that females should be bred
back to back, that it is healthier for the female and the uterus. Mr. Matyas
stated that the Dept. should require animals to be examined by a vet before
Mary Jo Trimble (Sporting Dog Rep) asked if there was an accidental pregnancy by
an under or average female and you are in violation – what are the
ramifications? Dr. O’Keefe stated that as currently written it would be a
misdemeanor. Rep Reis asked if there was anything currently in statutes
regarding breeding age limitations? Dr. O’Keefe stated there were no age
limitations. Rep Reis stated this was ridiculous to add to statutes and that
nature should be allowed to take its course. Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated with
all due respect she disagreed. Rep. Mendoza stated that we have laws against
children having sex why should we not have age limitations on dogs. Rep. Reis
and Rep Mendoza had a heated exchange of words.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) stated that there are problems with pediatric
spays and neuters that we need to address regarding the requirements for
spay/neuter within 14 days after adoption. Dr. O’Keefe asked if we could add a
provision giving the attending veterinarian the option to hold off until an
appropriate age.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked that we disallow the stacking of cages. He asked
Christina Lee (Commercial Breeder Rep) if she stacked cages. She said no, but
that she would have to ask some of the people she represents.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked what the next agenda was. Dr. Ernst stated that we
need to discuss the final report. He said that quite honestly we could meet
every month for the next five years but that we must have a report by January

There was a 15 minute break.

Following the break, Dr. Ernst asked if we had any further discussion on the
proposed changes.

Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked if there was a way to allow the hobby
breeders not to have to change their home into a kennel and that the definition
of primary enclosure plays a large part in what will be enforced. Dr. Ernst
stated that their intent all along was to separate hobby breeders out so that
they didn’t have to raise dogs on commercial surfaces.
Dr. O’Keefe referred to page 9 regarding indoor housing facilities which state
that hobby breeders who house their dogs in their homes, must supply one
location with an impervious surface.

Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked if Foster homes should be exempted from the housing
requirements. Michele Kasten asked Mr Matyas what his issue is with limiting
the number of fosters in one home. Ms Kasten asked if we could raise the number
of foster dogs allowed to eight. Ms. Kasten stated that there is a shortage of
foster homes and we could use additional foster spots. Mr Matyas said that he
stands by the number four and if someone wants to have more than four foster
dogs then they should apply for a shelter license. Mr. Matyas stated that no
one could care for more than four foster dogs correctly. Ms. Kasten asked him
why should a rescue then have to pay for multiple expensive license fees just to
help the dogs. Two shelters would cost $300 per year and that could be better
used for vet work for the rescue animals.

Dr Ernst asked if there was any discussion of previous material that has been
introduced such as the Puppy Lemon Law. No one had anything to add.

The final report is due January 1, 2010. Dr. Ernst proposed that Dept. of Ag
write the report, distribute to the Task Force, refine the report and submit the
report to the legislators.
He expects there to be two reports. He set a date of November 16 for the first
draft. Comments back to Ag by November 30th. A revision based on previous
comments by December 7h and everyone has a week to make comments. December 15th
the minority report is due. December 21st at 9:00 am there will be a
conference call for final discussion.

Dr. Ernst asked for a formulation of bullet points:

– Mary Jo Trimble (Sporting Dog Rep) stated that she had many minor questions
and she will submit to Ag.
– Mary Jo Trimble asked that the ventilation, lighting, 180 degree temps not be
applied to hobby breeders.
– Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that many definitions need to be further defined.
– Jordan Matyas (HSUS) asked that the report be broken down into standards of
care and enforcement issues.
– Dr. Dullard (Veterinarian Rep) stated that he knew that there would be
opposing opinions but he hoped that we could improve the things that would help
the Dept. do their job, but the divisiveness of these meetings shouldn’t reach
into the report.
– Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) asked that we needed to better define the
different standards for hobby breeders and commercial breeders.
– Jordan Matyas (HSUS) stated that the disclosure requirements needed work.
– Cori Menkin (ASPCA) stated that we have proposals for both legislation and
regulation and she asked which one would be coming first.
– Michele Kasten (Hobby Breeder Rep) brought up dedicated funding. Rep Mendoza
stated that we could enter that into law, but we all know that funds do get

Dr. Ernst called for additional discussion, there was none and so he called for
Michele Kasten motioned for the meeting to adjourn, Dr. Dullard seconded.
Meeting adjourned at 1:04 pm.

Jane Moody asked that I add these comments to my notes. Please add the below notes when crossposting.

Thank you!
Lisa Hills


From Jane Moody. “We have a total of 32 indoor runs, all with concrete as their base. Solids are scooped daily.
When hosed, the water and urine go to a drain and then the septic system. We only have 6 coated wire runs on p.v.c. piping, about one foot above the concrete. The coated wire flooring and concrete below are power sprayed. We had 12 coated wire runs but took out half of them that are no longer in use as we are waiting to see if that flooring is still approved. If not, new wire will be added to those runs lower down so as to allow dogs to be directly on concrete and the 10′ p.v.c. framed coated wire floors will be discarded. The coated wire flooring is only used for our coated Cockers. This is the same form of coated wire used at dog shows for exercise pens for many coated breeds of dogs. The boarding dogs are in another section which has the 12′ concrete runs plus each go into a section that is linoleum with their bedding. They go outdoors 4 times daily to their own covered runs to exercise. A new section has been built that has direct access to outdoors with the inside sections on concrete with the plastic tile flooring Paul showed with a base that allows the actual flooring to sit about 2 ” above the concrete.”

Posted in: Dog Law, HSUS