Monday, February 28, 2011

Why Not Visit Lovely Springfield?

Tomorrow the Illinois State House of Representatives Agriculture and Conservation Committee will meet in Room 122B of the Capitol Building at 2:00 PM. The State Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee will also meet at 2:00 PM in Room 409 of the Capitol Building.

Why not be a part of democracy in action and come down to Springfield to provide pro-doggie testimony on HB 1247 Animals-Dog Tethering, HB 1080 Animal Control-Vicious Breeds or SB 1637 Animals-Identification Scan?

If you can’t make it in person, there’s still time to call your state legislator (if he/she serves on the Committee) prior to the hearing. Talking points for the bills are included in previous blog posts.

The House Agriculture & Conservation Committee Members are listed here:

Senate Agriculture & Conservation Committee Members are listed here:

Click on each individual’s name for contact information.

You may also be able to watch the Hearings from the comfort of your home computer. Links are listed below.



Friday, February 25, 2011

March 1 is Doggie Day at the Illinois State Legislature

March 1 is doggie day in the Illinois House of Representatives’ and the Illinois State Senate’s Agriculture and Conservation Committees.

The best way to influence your state legislator on these bills is to go to the hearing and testify. However, if that’s not possible, calling is the next best bet, and emailing can also be effective.

To see a list of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee Members, go to (click on each name for contact info):

For the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee Information, go to:

In addition to the aforementioned “Vicious Breeds” bill, there are other dog-related bills slated for hearing on March 1. Below is a description of 2 the bills.

Bills in the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee on March 1:

HB 1247 Animals-Dog Tethering, authored by Summit’s Representative Michael Zalewski (D-21st): HB 1247 requires certain basic health and safety requirements to be met to legally “tether” a dog outdoors. This bill legally defines tethering as restraining a dog by “means to restrain by tying to an object or structure, including, without limitation, a house, tree, fence, post, garage, shed, or clothes line at a person's residence or business, by any means, including, without limitation, a chain, rope, cord, leash, or running line.” If passed into law, dog owners would be required to provide the following in order to legally tether their dogs:
*sufficient quality of good quality wholesome food and water
*adequate shelter and protection from the weather
*veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering
*humane care and treatment

The bill also requires that the tethering is done in a way that prevents the dog from becoming entangled from another tethered dog, that the tether itself is a safe width and weight for the dog, and that the tethered dog can’t get into the street, public sidewalk, or someone else’s property.


Unchain Your Dog fact sheet:

HB 1080 Animal Control-Vicious Breeds, authored by Marion’s Representative John Bradley (D-117th): Described in the previous blog entry below.

Bill in the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee on March 1

SB 1637 Animals-Identification Scan, authored by Crystal Lake’s Senator Pamela Althoff (R-32nd): If a law like SB 1637, last year’s tragic story of the Arizona war-hero dog euthanized by Animal Control in less than 48 hours, before his family could bail him out never would have happened. SB 1637 makes sure that dogs and cats that have been impounded are thoroughly examined for any type of identification within 24 hours of intake. Additionally, pounds must make every effort to contact the dog or cat’s owner. Pounds would be required to hold a dog or cat could be put to sleep without being held for a minimum of 7 days business days to allow for the reclamation by their owner, agent, or caretaker. Finally, if the animal is microchipped and the owner on the chip cannot be reached, every effort would have to be made to contact the previous owner as named on the chip, as well as the agency or individual who purchased the implanted chip found in the animal, prior to euthanizing, transferring, or adoption.

My dog Zooey went missing in the streets of Chicago a few months ago overnight, when while I was on a business trip to California, an irresponsible dog sitter let her off her leash in a city park (that’s another story!). As I desperately tried to get home and get local friends to find her, in addition to imagining her being hit by a car or otherwise harmed, I imagined nightmare scenarios in which she was picked up by Animal Control and put to sleep or given away, despite the fact that she was wearing a collar with identification. If SB 1637 passed into law, that nightmare could not come true—neither for me, nor for that poor Arizona family that lost their best friend.


Story about mistakenly euthanized Arizona war hero dog:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bill Would Allow Breed-Specific Bans

Existing Illinois law prohibits cities and municipalities from issuing a ban on specific dog breeds. Instead, “dangerous dogs” are determined not by arbitrary breed distinctions, but rather by the behavior of individual dogs.

HB 1080, a bill introduced in the Illinois State Legislature by State Representative John E. Bradley (D-117), would change that law to allow cities and municipalities that choose to ban specific breeds of dogs. There is little doubt that this would result in some cities to make the decision to ban the much-maligned pit bull.

There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that breed-specific bans do not make communities safer. Groups like Best Friends, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Humane Society of the United States have all come out against breed-specific bans.


Please ask your state representative to oppose HB 1080. This bill will be voted on by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee on Tues, March 1.

Members of the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee are listed here; click on the names for contact info:

If you don't know who your state representative is, go here and enter your address to find out:

The bill’s sponsor, State Representative John E. Bradley can be reached by calling (217) 782-1051 or emailing

TALKING POINTS (Whenever possible, include information about your own experience with pit bulls or other so-called “dangerous breeds.”):
  • As a voter in your district, I’m calling/writing you to ask you to oppose HB 1080, which would allow cities and municipalities to ban dogs by breed rather than by dangerous behavior.
  • A number of different breeds of dogs are commonly confused with the pit bull, making breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) extremely hard to enforce.
  • Pit bulls are gentle, loving and loyal. And, like any dog raised responsibly, they make great family pets.
  • No breed of dog is inherently aggressive or vicious.
  • Dogs kept for fighting are victims.
  • All dogs deserve humane care, socialization and training.

These talking points come from Best Friend’s Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog campaign. It can be found here: