Animal advocates in Illinois will be headed to Springfield Wednesday to give their support to various laws under consideration. The Illinois Voices for Animals Lobby Day is an opportunity to meet with lawmakers and discuss proposed laws aimed at animal welfare in the state.
The ASPCA, Illinois Animal Welfare Federation, Born Free USA, the Animal Welfare Institute and others are sponsoring the event and will be on hand. The organizations will be at the State House Inn at 101 East Adams in Springfield from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Voices for Animals Lobby Day.
It’s a great opportunity to meet your lawmakers and find out more about proposed legislation to support those laws that protect animals and oppose those that would allow animals to be hurt and exploited. Some legislation topics will include restricting the inhumane tethering of dogs, promoting the use of pet restraints in vehicles and providing animal-related training for law enforcement. An Illinois Pet Adoption Disclosure Act and Pet Lemon Law (see article) are also working their way through Springfield.
Pet Adoption Disclosure Act
One bill currently working its way through the legislature is the Illinois Animal Shelter Transparency Law. When writing articles about animal rescue and the shelter system, it’s often hard to pinpoint the exact data. So many shelters fail to publicly report the number of animals they take in and what happens to them once they enter the system.
The Shelter Transparency Bill will require animal shelters and rescues release monthly reports about the number of animals taken in, adopted out, transferred to other organizations and euthanized. The bill also requires that shelters and rescues spay or neuter all pets prior to adoption or make arrangements for those animals to be altered within a reasonable period after adoption.
The groups will need to list any information they have about the origin of the pet – owner surrender, stray, etc. The bill also outlines what a no-kill organization is and will require groups to state publicaly on websites and at shelters if they are no-kill or open admission. A similar bill was recently signed into law in Florida
Other pet-related legislation under consideration
Several other bills that will be drawing attention for Illinois Voices for Animals Lobby Day in Illinois look at changing laws regarding dogs traveling in cars and dogs being tethered.
Bill prohibiting dogs from riding on driver's lap - Another bill that is working it's way through in the early stages would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code creating a new violation for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while holding an animal in their lap. This violation is a petty offense with a fine of $25 and officers may not stop a vehicle or search its contents or driver solely for violating this law.
Bill regulating tethering your dog outside - House Bill 83 has passed out of the House and moves to the Senate and it sets guidelines for tethering your dog outside. It requires dogs to have adequate food, shelter and protection from the weather. It also provides that dogs have a proper harness or collar and that they have enough of a leash when tethered outside to for adequate movement and exercise.
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