Governor Quinn of Illinois Signs Bill to Curb Tethering Abuses

Chicago, Illinois—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is pleased to announce that Governor Quinn has signed into law new rules to provide that certain requirements must be met in order for an owner to lawfully tether a dog outdoors. Governor Quinn signed the legislation on July 20 at PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest no-kill humane shelter, stating in a press release that, “One of the joys and privileges of being a dog owner is the unconditional love and comfort these animals bring to our lives. As any pet owner knows, dogs become part of our families. This new law will crack down on the mistreatment of animals in Illinois and make sure our pets receive the same love and care they give us.”

The new law, effective January 1, 2014, amends the Humane Care for Animals Act and provides that certain requirements—which benefit both dogs and people—be met in order to lawfully tether a dog outside. The law requires that tethers be at least 10 feet in length and that tethered dogs must be given adequate shelter and protection from the weather. The legislation also requires a proper harness or collar (excluding collars that choke, pinch, or poke the animal), prohibits the tethering of dogs in such close proximity that they might become entangled, and forbids the use of chains of excessive weight and size. Failure to meet these requirements or provide sufficient food, water, shelter, and veterinary care could result in up to six months imprisonment. A second violation could lead to up to three years in prison.

AWI’s Rosalyn Morrison testified twice before the Illinois General Assembly in favor of the bill, which easily passed both chambers before being signed into law by the Governor. “The Animal Welfare Institute is grateful for the outstanding and committed leadership of Representative Burke and Senator Holmes in championing this law,” said Morrison. “Both legislators and Governor Quinn have been strong advocates for responsible animal protection legislation during their time in office and this legislation is an important step forward.”

Currently, over 100 communities in more than 30 states have passed laws restricting or banning the practice of tethering. AWI will continue its work to promote national and state legislation aimed at preventing abuse of companion animals and reducing the suffering of animals everywhere.

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