Illinois Dog Owners – Urgent Alert
Hearing Tuesday On Legislation That Will Harm Dog Hobbyists
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliancehttp://email@example.com
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SPRINGFIELD, IL - Illinois House Bill198 is one of the most repressive and malicious pieces of animal rights legislation ever introduced in America. It takes aim at people who are hobby breeders of purebred dogs. If enacted, it will destroy the life’s work of many of the finest breeders in America. It also will encourage the importation of “puppy mill” dogs from other states to meet the demand for companion animals in Illinois, and will have a major economic impact on a state that already has been hard-hit by the recession.
This legislation bears the clear imprint of the Humane Society of the United States, the political arm of the radical animal rights movement that is working toward the elimination of domestic animals from American life.
The situation in Illinois is critical because this bill is being pushed hard and fast in the Legislature. It was hurried through the House Rules Committee last week, and now has been scheduled for a hearing this coming Tuesday, February 10, before the Business/Occupational License Committee. This hurry-up scheduling is ominous, especially since political party leadership hasn’t announced the names of committee members for dog owners to contact. The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 122B of the State Capitol.
Because of the short notice of the hearing, 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.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges Illinois dog owners to immediately:
· Contact members of this committee before Tuesday to express opposition to HB 198 and state your reasons why. Contact information for the Business/Occupational Licenses Committee Democrats is given below. The names of Republican members have not been released. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is crucial! We urge every dog owner to send an email immediately, and follow this up with a phone call, fax or letter by surface mail.
· Because the Republican Party leadership has not announced the names of representatives assigned to the Business/Occupational Licenses Committee, please contact Republican Party leaders in the state House by fax and ask them to forward your letters to committee members. Rep. Tom Cross is the Republican leader (http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?GA=96&MemberID=1368
) and Rep. JoAnn Osmond is Republican Caucus Chairman (http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?GA=96&MemberID=1461
· Contact your own senator and representative to voice opposition to HB 198 and SB 53. Here is a link to contact information for each representative (http://www.ilga.gov/house/default.asp
) and for each senator (http://www.ilga.gov/senate/default.asp
· Sign our online petition, which will be delivered to members of the committee at the hearing. Here is the petition for Illinois residents: http://www.petitiononline.com/asda1/petition.html
. Here is the petition for residents of other states: http://www.petitiononline.com/asda2/petition.html
· And, very importantly, attend the hearing if at all possible and make your position known.
We understand that we are asking a lot of dog owners, but believe that these requests are both urgent and necessary in order to protect the rights of Illinois dog owners.
Illinois dog owners have received support from the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, which has come out in strong opposition to the legislation. Once again the ISVMA is to be congratulated for its courage and commitment to the welfare of dogs. It is telling that the ISVMA labels this bill the “HSUS Dog Breeder License Act.”
Dog owners also have found a perhaps unlikely ally – the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which would be the state agency assigned to regulate dog breeders. The agency is opposing the bill because it doesn’t consider dog breeding a professional occupation, as defined by its legislative mandate.
Here is a list of Democratic Party members of the Business/Occupational Licenses Committee (Republicans have not been assigned yet) and their contact information:
Chairman - Representative Robert Rita (D-28)
(217) 558-1000 / (217) 558-1091 FAX - firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please ask Rep. Rita to pass along your letter to Republicans on the committee.
Vice Chairman - Representative John A. Fritchey (D-11)
(217) 782-2458 / (217) 557-7214 FAX – email not available.
Rep. Fritchey also is the sponsor of the bill. Letters sent to him by constituents are being answered by HSUS.
Rep. Edward J. Acevedo (D-2)
(217) 782-2855 / (217) 557-5148 FAX - Sylvia_idrovo@sbcglobal.net
Rep. Daniel V. Beiser (D-11)
(217) 782-5996 / (217) 558-0493 FAX - email@example.com
Rep. Daniel J. Burke (D-23)
(217) 782-1117 / (217) 782-0927 FAX - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Thomas Holbrook (D-113)
(217) 782-0104 / (217) 782-1333 FAX - email@example.com
Rep. David E. Miller (D-29)
(217) 782-8087 / (217) 558-6433 FAX - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. George Scully Jr. (D-80)
(217) 782-1719 - District office fax (708) 672-0700 - Smangiaracina@hds.ilga.gov
Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-3)
(217) 782-0480 / (217) 557-9609 FAX – Email not available
Rep. Arroyo withdrew his name from the list of cosponsors of HB 198. Please thank him.
HSUS has focused many of its resources on Illinois, and recently named a new State Director, attorney Jordan Matyas. We have received confirmed reports that Rep. Fritchey is sending correspondence about this bill directly to Matyas, and the replies to constituents are coming directly from HSUS.
Propaganda for the bill makes it sound like legislation to stop poorly operated commercial kennels, which have been dubbed “puppy mills” by HSUS. However, the bill actually targets small scale hobby breeders of purebred dogs. Large commercial kennels already are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Illinois, and all kennels are under the jurisdiction of state animal cruelty laws.
Matyas and his cronies also continue to spread their agenda of canine destruction in neighboring Wisconsin and Indiana, which are expected to see similar legislation very soon, and in the City of Chicago.
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 http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
. Our email is email@example.com
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