Illinois Committee Unanimously Advances Bill to Address Tethering Abuses

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is pleased to report that HB 83, a bill before the Illinois House of Representatives that would put restrictions on the tethering of dogs, was approved by the Executive Committee by a unanimous 11-0 vote.

AWI's Rosalyn Morrison and Chris Heyde were on hand in Springfield, Illinois, to meet with the committee members and testify in favor of the bill. Introduced by Chairperson Daniel Burke (D-1), HB 83 would amend the Humane Care for Animals Act and provide that certain requirements—designed to protect both the dogs and people—are met in order for an owner to lawfully tether a dog outdoors. The bill requires a proper harness or collar (as opposed to collars that choke, pinch, or poke the animal), and that the tether be at least 10 feet in length so as to ensure room to exercise and to eat and eliminate in different areas. It prohibits chains of excessive weight and size, and the tethering of dogs in such close proximity that they might become entangled.

To protect the public, the bill requires that a dog not be tethered in a way that will allow him or her to reach someone else's property, a public walkway, or a road. Finally, the bill requires that if a dog is kept tethered overnight, he or she must have adequate shelter and protection from the weather. HB 83 also allows exemptions for brief or temporary periods of tethering (for both sport and working dogs).

"We are grateful for the committed leadership of Chairperson Burke and very pleased with the unanimous support of this important bill by the members of the Executive committee," said AWI's Rosalyn Morrison. "If passed, HB 83 will protect countless dogs across the state of Illinois from being subjected to some of the most egregious acts associated with tethering and chaining. We hope this bill will move quickly through the House and Senate."

The bill now moves to the full House for a vote. AWI will continue to follow the progress of this bill as it moves through the Illinois legislature, and work with legislators to build support and make sure this important measure becomes law.