posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Senator Dave Koehler (D) of Peoria has introduced a bill that could greatly alleviate animal suffering in Illinois. We hope you’ll contact your State Senators to encourage passage of Senate Bill 3337.
Koehler’s bill proposes an amendment to the Humane Care for Animals Act. As it currently stands, the Act provides that owners of companion animals have a duty to provide those animals with food, water, adequate shelter, protection from the weather, and veterinary care to prevent suffering. But the Act does not define "adequate shelter and protection from the weather.”
Without a definition, animal control officers, humane investigators, and animal welfare inspectors have difficulty enforcing the Act's requirement to provide for the basic needs of dogs, cats, and horses. Right now, it can be argued that a mere roof over a porch or even a truck topper on the ground is “adequate shelter.” The extreme temperatures and copious snow we’ve seen this season dramatically illustrate how inadequate this definition is.
Koehler’s proposed amendment is modeled on other state laws and would define “adequate shelter” to require an owner to provide:
· Shelter appropriate for the species, age, condition, size and type of each animal;
· Adequate space for each animal;
· Shelter that protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering and impairment of health;
· Shelter with a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floor mat or similar device (for dogs and cats);
· Shelter that does not have wire, grid, or slat floors that permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, sag under the animals' weight; or otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury.
The amendment also adds to “Owner’s Duties” the requirement of providing “adequate space” and defines that as “sufficient space to allow each animal to (1) easily stand, sit, lie, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable and normal position for the animal and (2) interact safely with other animals in the enclosure.”
These proposed definitions of "adequate shelter" and "adequate space" would do a great deal to aid humane law enforcement officials in doing their job and protecting companion animals.
You can help make this the law of Illinois by contacting your State Senator and letting him/her know how you feel about Senate Bill 3337.
Read the full text and track this legislation.