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Do Or Die For Illinois Dog Owners

Do Or Die For Illinois Dog Owners

Postby eaglerock814 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:24 pm

Illinois Dog Owners Face Two Do-Or-Die
Senate Legislative Hearings This Week

Kennel & Tail Docking Bills Set For Key Committee Votes

American Sporting Dog Alliance

This article is archived at: ... &thread=26

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Key state Senate hearings are scheduled this week on proposed Illinois kennel and tail docking legislation that targets people who raise high quality purebred dogs. It is urgent for Illinois dog owners to take decisive action now to stop these destructive bills that stem from a clear animal rights agenda.

Here is a summary of the two Senate bills:

· Senate Bill 139 faces a hearing this coming Tuesday. This bill defines tail docking and ear cropping as torture, which is a felony animal cruelty offense. Tail docking would be excluded if it is done by a veterinarian, but only for medical reasons. Tail docking for utility or to meet a breed standard would be classified as torture. This bill is aimed specifically at many of the most popular breeds, including spaniels, terriers, working dogs, stock dogs and Continental pointing dogs.

· Kennel legislation targeting purebred fanciers was stalled in the state House by an outpouring of opposition from dog owners. However, the animal rights groups now have made a quick switch to the Senate version of the legislation, SB 53, in the hope of lulling dog owners into thinking that their work has been done. The Senate will hold a hearing on this legislation on Wednesday. It has been amended slightly to ease some of the earlier restrictions, but remains a very dangerous bill that will entrap almost everyone who raises dogs.

This report will profile each bill separately, and complete directions for taking action will be described.

SB 139

Current Illinois law specifically excludes tail docking and ear cropping from the crime of animal torture.

However, Senate Bill 139, introduced by Sen. Terry Link (D-Lake County), removes those exclusions and adds tail docking and ear cropping to the list of acts that would constitute animal torture, which is a third class felony offense.

SB 139 is before the state Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee, which has scheduled a hearing for this coming Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 1 p.m. in Room 409 at the capitol in Springfield. The American Sporting Dog Alliance is urging Illinois dog owners to attend this hearing and present either oral or written testimony in opposition to the bill.

At the last hearing, only a reported 10 dog owners were in attendance. This kind of apathy is politically very dangerous, if not suicidal, as the senators need to know that dog owners strongly oppose SB 139. Please attend the hearing.

This hearing is “do or die” for both dog owners and the animal rights groups. Under Illinois Senate procedures, the bill almost definitely will be dead if it is not acted upon in the coming week. Sen. Link has announced that the bill will proceed this week, Legislative Analyst Amanda Wallen said.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance has received unconfirmed reports that Sen. Link may amend the bill to pacify farm groups, but no new amendments had been officially filed by the date of this writing, March 7. Link can hide an amendment until an hour before the hearing, under Senate procedures.

This legislation reflects the agenda of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups, which define anything that changes a dog’s appearance as disfiguration or mutilation.

Their real goal, however, is to destroy the rights of dog owners to make important decisions about their dogs, and to convey complete oversight power to government. This is an important step toward changing dog ownership into guardianship, which means that dogs would become wards of the state. The state would thus assume the legal role of protector of the “rights” of dogs, as is the case with human children in current law.

Docking the tails of young puppies is very safe and almost painless (about like clipping a toenail), and very few problems have been reported with these traditional practices. In many cases, this procedure is done in order to avoid tail injuries when hunting or herding.

As the legislation is now written, the ban on tail docking would apply to all animals, including livestock such as pigs and lambs. These standard farm practices are essential to avoid injury and unhealthy matting of wool. The American Sporting Dog Alliance also urges Illinois dog owners to support this essential right of farmers. We must take the initiative to show farmers that we are on their side.

For dog owners, the language of the bill also would place a dog in questionable legal status if it is born with a naturally short tail, or if it lost a part of its tail due to injury. The legislation does not provide a definition of proof of guilt or innocence, and anyone who possesses a dog with a docked or short tail would be placed in the unconstitutional position of having to prove his or her innocence. For many dogs, this proof would be impossible to obtain.

SB 139 also would expose nonresidents of Illinois to potential arrest for criminal animal cruelty, if they visit or pass through the state with their dogs. The impact on hunting, field trials, dog shows and many performance events would be fatal. No one who raises dogs that have tail or ear alterations could risk entering Illinois, even if those procedures are completely legal in their home states.

This aspect of the legislation alone would cost the Illinois economy millions of dollars of tourism revenues, and the probable loss of many jobs in an era of economic recession. Illinois cannot afford to lose any jobs or income.

SB 139 also would result in the death of thousands of dogs in animal shelters and rescue programs, as no one could adopt a dog with cropped ears or a docked tail without the risk of being charged with animal cruelty. The mere possession of such a dog could be construed as a violation of the law. No standard of proof is contained in the legislation.

Illinois residents who are trying to raise superior dogs also could not obtain high quality performance or show dogs from other states, where tail docking or ear cropping are legal, without facing potential criminal charges, in the absence of a standard of proof. This would result in a substantial lowering of the quality of dogs available to Illinois residents, and an unconstitutional infringement upon interstate commerce.

Moreover, SB 139 would result in an increase in the number of dogs sold in Illinois by pet stores, which often get puppies from large commercial breeding kennels. Commercial kennels will meet the demand for dogs with natural tails and ears, because fewer dogs will be available from high quality kennels.

Here is a link to the text of the bill: ... =&Session=

Dog owners have a strong ally in the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA), which opposes SB 139.

ISVMA correctly maintains that an animal cruelty law is an inappropriate way to regulate medical practices, that it is unethical to interfere with the doctor/patient relationship for decision-making, and that it sets a dangerous precedent to convert medical decisions into political decisions.

Illinois dog owners are fortunate to have the ISVMA. This organization of veterinarians has been an outspoken and courageous advocate for the basic rights of dog owners on many issues.

It is essential for Illinois dog owners to immediately contact each member of the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee to let them know that you are opposed to SB 139. Letters and faxes are the best method, followed by phone calls and emails. We must emphasize that time is critical, as the hearing is Tuesday, and inaction may doom many breeds of great dogs in Illinois.
Here is contact information for all committee members, courtesy of the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance:
Senator Michael W. Frerichs (D, 52)Springfield:(217) 782-2507 / (217) 355-5255 Senator A. J. Wilhelmi (D, 43)Springfield:(217) 782-8800 / 217-782-3213 Senator Deanna Demuzio (D, 49)Springfield:(217) 782-8206 / (217) 854-5311 Senator Linda Holmes (D, 42)Springfield:217) 782-0422 / (217) 782-2115 Senator Toi W. Hutchinson (D, 40) Springfield:(217) 782-7419 / 217-782-2115 FAX; Email form at Senator David Koehler (D, 46)Springfield:(217) 782-8250 / (217) 782-3213 Senator John O. Jones (R, 54)Springfield:(217) 782-0471 / (217) 782-4079 Senator Tim Bivins (R, 45)Springfield:(217) 782-0180 / 217-782-9586 Senator Gary G. Dahl (R, 38)Springfield:(217) 782-3840 / 217-782-4079 FAX Click here to send an email to all members of the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee

SB 53

The Illinois state House and Senate have been considering legislation that purports to be about regulating “puppy mills,” but which is really targeted at all serious breeders of high quality purebred dogs.

Until now, the action has centered on the House version, HB 198, which remains before the House Business and Occupational Licenses Committee. This committee has scheduled hearings on this bill for several weeks, but the sponsor, Rep. John A. Fritchey, has declined to proceed. While it is still scheduled for this coming Tuesday, Rep. Fritchey now has missed the deadline to call it.

Now, the action is shifting quickly to the Senate Licensed Activities Committee, where the companion version – SB 53 – has been lying in wait for several weeks.

The official explanation for the change is to allow the Senate version to be amended to reflect the intended language, and that the House bill resulted from a miscommunication with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which provided the actual language in the bill.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance disagrees with this explanation, which we see as blowing smoke. Dog owners in large numbers have been very vociferous in contacting members of the House committee, and many legislators reportedly have been convinced to oppose HB 198. Because the focus has been in the House, dog owners have not been as active with Senate Committee members, who have been lobbied heavily by the Illinois ASPCA, which provided language straight from the radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS also has active lobbyists and a state director in Illinois.

Thus, we see the shift to the Senate version as an attempt to rush through this bad legislation before dog owners have time to respond to the senators. It is a basic political dirty trick to avoid participation by citizens. The Senate bill must be passed by the committee this week, or it will be dead under Senate procedures, Wallen confirmed.

Thus, we are strongly urging Illinois dog owners to immediately contact members of the Senate committee (see below), and also to attend this coming Wednesday’s hearing if at all possible. Wallen confirmed that SB 53 has been formally called for a committee hearing on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, at 3:01 p.m. in Room 409 at the capitol building in Springfield. Please submit written and/or oral testimony in opposition to SB 53 (speaker sign-up sheets are available at the table to the right of the hearing room door).

After taking heat from dog owners in the House, Rep. Fritchey pulled the bill from the House committee hearing schedule, and switched it to the Senate. SB 53 sponsor, Sen. Dan Kotowski, then amended the bill in order to deflect some of the criticism and reduce opposition from dog owners. However, the only substantive change is the removal of a 50-dog limit contained in Fritchey’s bill.

The rest of the bill remains a threat to hobbyists and other serious breeders of high quality purebred dogs. Here are some of its provision (Please note that there is no online link to the legislation. It was obtained by the American Sporting Dog Alliance in a locked PDF format, which means we cannot publish it ourselves. We strongly oppose hiding imminent legislation from the public.):

· Anyone who owns six or more intact female dogs would be defined as a dog breeder. This would trigger applications for state licenses, kennel inspections, reams of paperwork, difficult and irrational compliance measures and substantial legal liabilities. The bill gives state officials the power to inspect any kennel that may be in violation, even though there is no proof of a violation and even if a license is not required. If you own a dog, you can be inspected.

· Private shelter groups and foster networks would be harmed, possibly fatally, because licenses would be required of anyone who also raises dogs of his or her own. Sheltered, fostered and rescued dogs would count as intact females for the hundreds of dog hobbyists who also help homeless dogs. Most breed rescue groups are operated by people who raise dogs. Also, foster homes that are not affiliated with an animal shelter would be prohibited. Hundreds of Illinois dogs would die needlessly every year because of these provisions.

· All dog registration papers would be inspected by the state. In addition, breeders (people with six or more intact females) would be required to keep extensive paperwork for people who buy a dog or puppy. Other paperwork requirements are extensive.

· No one could get a license prior to a state inspection, and would have to cease all operations until an inspection is completed. There is no deadline for the state to respond to an application, and a kennel owner could be shut down for an indefinite period of time while bureaucracy’s wheels grind away.

· Kennel owners and breeders must sign a form saying that they give up their right to face any legal action or enforcement action in a local court of law. The location of the court would be up to the state, which leads to judge shopping.

· The state would have the power to deny or revoke a license if, in the opinion of a dog warden, the owner is not qualified to own a kennel or raise dogs. The legislation does not spell out required qualifications. Licenses could be denied for dozens of reasons, including unrelated things such as tax law violations.

· Dog owners are denied the right to contest or appeal alleged violations in a court of law, but are granted only an administrative hearing before the state agency that is prosecuting. At the same time, in the absence of a court hearing, people who are accused of violations must dispose of all of their dogs within 10 days. The only way to legally dispose of dogs is by giving them to an animal shelter, or having them euthanized.

· Civil penalties, which cannot be challenged in court, are up to $5,000 for each violation. A violation can be issued for each day of noncompliance, or for each dog that is not in compliance. A relatively minor infraction thus can destroy a dog owner financially. Fines also are provided.

· No male or female dog can be bred without a current examination by a veterinarian within each year, and no dog younger than 18 months of age, or older than eight years of age, shall be bred under any circumstances.

· Dog owners must provide complete isolation for any dog with an infectious condition, which is defined to include worms and fleas. There can be no contact with other dogs.

· Anyone who sells a dog to a pet store or a dealer, or anyone who sells more than 30 dogs a year, would be defined as a commercial kennel. This category would ensnare many serious show and performance breeders, who produce some of the finest dogs in America. They would be required to follow factory-like kennel management standards, and raising puppies and dogs as part of a family effectively would be banned.

The stated intention of this bill is to make it harder for substandard commercial kennels (called “puppy mills”) to exist. However, these kennels already are intensely regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Illinois. They also are subjected to the full provisions of Illinois animal cruelty laws, which are among the toughest in the nation.

Previous research by the American Sporting Dog Alliance showed that every kennel in Illinois that has been reported to authorities as substandard has been handled fully by current laws for the past two years. In all cases, poor kennels were shut down and the dogs were rescued. In many cases, heavy fines and jail time were imposed. No kennels fell through the cracks, records of animal cruelty and kennel law violations show conclusively.

This legislation really is aimed squarely at the best breeders in Illinois. There is no doubt about it. It is animal rights legislation in its purest form.

SB 53 actually will encourage substandard “puppy mills,” by sharply reducing the availability of well-bred dogs from high quality kennels in Illinois. The legislation will encourage pet stores and large commercial kennels from out of state to sell more dogs in Illinois, because the demand for purebred puppies remains at an historical high. These commercial operations will step into the void left by the destruction of high quality dog fanciers.

Additionally, avocational breeders of purebred dogs spend millions of dollars every year in the Illinois economy in purchasing dog food, veterinary care, supplies, travel arrangements, fuel, repairs and advertising. Many jobs result from these expenditures. Illinois residents cannot afford to lose any jobs or income during the current recession.

The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association also opposes SB 53. The ISVMA also believes that this bill will increase the number of “puppy mill” dogs sold in Illinois from kennels in other states.

“Nothing in this bill creates a disincentive to sell puppy mill bred puppies to Illinois citizens – it just makes getting a dog bred by a responsible breeder more difficult,” an ISVMA statement says.

Once again, the American Sporting Dog Alliance applauds the courage and caring of the ISVMA.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance has created an online petition opposing SB 53, that as of March 7, 2009, had 2,089 signatures from Illinois residents, and 1,231 signatures from nonresidents who travel to Illinois with their dogs. Please mention these petition results when writing to the senators.

Here is a link to the resident petition ( ) and the nonresident petition ( ). Please feel free to add your signature. We selected this petition site because the system will not allow people to vote more than once, thus preserving the integrity of an online petition.

We are urging all Illinois dog owners to immediately contact each member of the Senate Licensed Activities Committee to voice strong opposition to SB 53. It is urgent to do this immediately, as the hearing is set for this coming Wednesday.

Letters and faxes are best, followed by phone calls and emails. Here is full contact information for committee members, courtesy of the SAOVA:

Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D, 20)Senator 20th District 413A Capitol Building Springfield, IL 62706 (217) 782-8191 District Office: 2733 N. Milwaukee AveChicago, IL 60647 (773) 489-2020 / (773) 489-2024 FAX Senator Emil Jones III (D, 14)Senator 14th District 113 Capitol Building Springfield, IL 62706 (217) 782-9573 District Office: 507 West 111th St. Chicago, IL 60628 (773) 995-7748 / (773) 995-9061 FAX Senator Michael W. Frerichs (D, 52)Senator 52nd District 118 State House Springfield, IL 62706 (217) District Office: 45 E. University Ave. Suite 206 Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 355-5252 / (217) 355-5255 FAX Senator William R. Haine (D, 56)Senator 56th District 121C Capitol Building Springfield, IL 62706 (217) 782-5247 / (217) 782-5340 FAX District Office: 307 Henry Street Suite 210 Alton, IL 62002 (618) 465-4764 / (618) 465-4816 FAX Click here to send an email to all members of the Licensed Activities Committee AND all cosponsors Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D, 12)Senator 12th District 124 Capitol Building Springfield, IL 62706(217) 782-5304 District Office: 5807 W. 35th Street Cicero, IL 60804 (708) 656-2002 / (708) 656-7608 FAX Senator Pamela J. Althoff (R, 32)M103C Capitol Building Springfield, IL 62706 (217) 782-8000 / (217) 782-9586 FAX District Office: One North Virginia Street Crystal Lake, IL 60014 (815) 455-6330 / (815) 455-8284 FAX Senator John J. Millner (R, 28)105C Capitol BuildingSpringfield IL 62706217-782-8192 / 217-782-4079 FAX District Office:290 Springfield Dr, Ste 225Bloomingdale IL 60108630-351-9340 / 630-351-9370 FAX Senator Kirk W. Dillard (R, 24)Senator 24th District103C Capitol BuildingSpringfield, IL 62706 (217) District Office:One South Cass Avenue Suite 201Westmont, IL 60559 (630) 969-0990 / (630) 969-1007 FAX

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at . Our email is .

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