Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Not content with raising taxes 66%, attempting to track down those crazy homeschoolers so they can be “helped”, and sheltering Wisconsin’s missing Democrats (we hear that Indiana’s Dems are on the run as well)  Illinois actually has HB 1166 sitting in Committee right now which will criminalize individuals who own 7 or more “companion animals”.

As usual, one has to dig around a bit to find out just what the terminology contained within the proposed Law means and what the effect might be:

Companion Animal :

(510 ILCS 70/2.01a)
Sec. 2.01a. Companion animal. "Companion animal" means an animal that is commonly considered to be, or is considered by the owner to be, a pet. "Companion animal" includes, but is not limited to, canines, felines, and equines.
(Source: P.A. 92‑454, eff. 1‑1‑02.)

What will change in current law (pdf of HB 1166):

A person must obtain a permit from the Board to possess 7
or more companion animals, as defined in the Humane Care for
Animals Act. Failure to receive a permit for the possession of
7 or more companion animals is a violation of this Section and
a person is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. A second or
subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony with every day that a
violation continues constituting a separate offense.

Who is “The Board” referred to in the above change?

"The County Board Chairman"

Now considering that there are 102 Counties in the State of Illinois and each Chairman according to page 2 of the proposed legislation is required to hire Administrators, Deputy Administrators and Wardens to enforce this arbitrary number – how much do you think that Permit is going to cost? Who approves it? How do you schedule it? Where will the funds come from? Who defines what other species are covered?

How will dog breeders, rescue groups, cat fanciers, bird owners, riding stables, boarding facilities, and  that farm owner who needs rodent control in the barn going to be affected by this? See what they have to say by clicking on the above links.

Most have this general comment which seems to be true from reading both HB 1166 and the Illinois Statutes.

There is NO explicit exemption of IL licensed breeders, rescues, vets, kennels, stables, pet dealers, pet stores, research labs, etc.

I’ve a friend in Illinois who has rescued 6 critters “set free” by their owners to return to the wild in these difficult economic times. She has taken these “companions” on her farm providing medical care and training while making the effort to re-home them. In total she cares for many more than the “hoarder bill” allows without the future permit.

So far there are no Co-Sponsors on this HB 1166 and one member stated this was “dead in the water.” Yeah – and if you like your health insurance – you can keep it……..

If those in Illinois believe this to be a NIB and that it should be stopped in Committee, one can contact the introducing Representative: Representative Patrick J. Verschoore (D) and request he either table or withdraw HB 1166. Currently the Agriculture and Conservation Committee are scheduled to meet later this week although there is no specific date for this bill.