Illinois HB 1080: What Illinois Representative John Bradley Doesn’t Know about Animal Control Could Amount to Alot of Dead Dogs

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Feb 9th, 2011
21 Comments
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March 18, 2011 update: According to HB 1080’s status page, HB 1080 has been kicked back down to the Rules Committee where its sponsor is most likely hoping for an assignment to a more amenable committee.  We hope HB 1080 dies a well-deserved, dishonorable death in the Rules Committee because the bill and its sponsor stand for low-ball politics.

Please write the Rules Committee and politely ask them not to give in to Rep. Bradley’s attempt at an end-around of the democratic process.  And yes, merely changing one word in a so-called “amendment” in order to get HB 1080 out of the Agriculture Committee where it didn’t stand a chance, and back to the Rules Committee where it is hoped that the bill will get an assignment to a committee that will pass it on to the House floor is an end-around of the democratic process.  So is cancelling meeting after meeting where the bill is scheduled to be heard in committee in hopes of waiting out your opposition.

March 11, 2011 update: HB 1080 is now scheduled to be heard March 15, 2011, in the Agriculture & Conservation Committee:

Agriculture & Conservation Committee Hearing
Mar 15, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Stratton Building, Room 413

Springfield, IL

A couple of years ago when Illinois was considering breed-specific legislation (BSL) at the state level, week after week the meetings where the BSL was to be heard kept getting cancelled just like what is happening now with HB 1080. They were waiting everyone out because they knew most people couldn’t keep making the trip hundreds of miles from all over the state to committee meetings that kept getting cancelled.  It was a subversion of the democratic process, just like what is happening now with HB 1080.

In this case, it looks like Bradley knows he clearly has no support for HB 1080 in the Agriculture Committee and so he has added some nonsense amendment (the “amendment” simply strikes out the word “the” and replaces it in some text about rabies vaccines) to the bill to try to kick it back to the Rules Committee hoping he gets a better committee assignment than Agriculture.  I’m guessing the “amendment” is also why his office is misleading people telling them that HB 1080 doesn’t have a committee assignment yet when you call.  Bradley is probably well aware that he has no support for the bill in the Ag Committee, but neither that, nor the fact that a majority of Illinoisans don’t want HB 1080 to pass, seems to be a deterrent for him. Usually that means there’s some special interest backing the bill from the shadows and that the bought-off “representative”  has to earn his payola, er I mean, his “campaign contribution,” and pull out all the political dirty tricks to try to get the bill through.

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HB 1080 has been assigned to the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee. You can track the bill here.  Please send your polite letters opposing HB 1080 to the Illinois House Agriculture & Conservation Committee and let’s stay vigilant Illinois.  This bill, if passed, will spell needless death for thousands of dogs in the state of Illinois!

As we wrote about several days ago, Illinois Representative John Bradley has proposed HB 1080, a bill that would overturn the prohibition of breed-specific legislation in the state of Illinois allowing any municipality to ban or restrict any breed of dog it so chooses. As this article on the KFVS channel 12 website explains, HB 1080 is supposedly in response to several dogs attacking a boy in southern Illinois.  Yet, rather than looking at the situation logically, Bradley concludes instead that the attack on the boy was a failing of poor legislation rather than poorly-enforced legislation.  In other words, had the city where the attack happened enforced its leash law and had there been adequate Animal Control personnel, maybe there wouldn’t have been free-roaming dogs roaming around; free-roaming dogs that put the boy in jeopardy. [And here I should make it clear that I’m not accusing Animal Control of failing to protect the boy. Many times attacks happen after repeated complaints have been made to Animal Control, but municipalities across Illinois have been hard-hit by the economic downturn and have cut back on Animal Control.  This is not the Animal Control officers’ fault, but it’s also not the fault of any one breed of dog either.]

The other faulty assumption Bradley makes is that because the attacking dogs were supposedly “pit bulls” (though there is no such breed as “pit bull”) that a breed ban or breed-specific restrictions would have prevented the attack.  On the contrary, there is ample evidence nationally and internationally of the failing of breed-specific legislation.  We must also conclude that Rep. Bradley knows little about dogs because if he did understand the nature of dogs, he’d know that it’s not the breed in a free-roaming situation that makes dogs dangerous; it’s the fact that they are free-roaming that makes them potentially dangerous.  Again, this points to a lack of Animal Control enforcement, not a breed problem.  In fact, Ledy VanKavage, attorney for Best Friends Animal Society observes that,

“Illinois has some of the strongest dangerous dog laws on the books, so what’s the problem? The answer is lack of enforcement.”

Hurst, Illinois Police Chief Ronald Harvel echoes VanKavages’ argument about the need for more Animal Control involvement saying that the attack on the boy has forced the community “to step up enforcement of leash and other animal laws already on the books.”  Nearby Bush, Illinois has also increased fines for owners of free-roaming dogs.  These are great first steps, but why weren’t communities in southern Illinois doing this before a boy was attacked?  And why now are these same communities looking to punish innocent owners — the only ones who ever comply with breed restrictions — by backing impotent breed-specific legislation (BSL)?  Besides all the ample evidence that BSL is ineffective, unenforceable, expensive, and even unconstitutional, why does it not occur to BSL proponents that irresponsible owners who already weren’t abiding by the law by allowing their dogs to free roam, etc., won’t suddenly start obeying the law just because a lawmaker passes additional legislation?

Rep. Bradley maintains that he doesn’t “want to see this kind of thing happen again in southern Illinois.”  Agreed.  So why is he proposing legislation that would lead to breed-specific laws which have proven over several decades to not reduce dog bites and which are wholly ineffective as a deterrent?  I fear too, from the way Rep. Bradley was talking, that he doesn’t know enough about breed-specific legislation to be proposing it (especially not the part about how often BSL amounts to a staggering number of innocent dead dogs).

And who lied and told Rep. Bradley that “now only some communities in Illinois can ban breed specific dogs”? (Emphasis mine.)  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  NO community in Illinois, home rule or not, can legally ban specific breeds of dog.  The issue of home rule as pertains to BSL has not been established in Illinois such that Rep. Bradley or anyone else can recommend that Illinois municipalities pass it.  Home rule authority can only be invoked to override state law for things like public safety, and since there is no scientific proof that any one dog breed is inherently dangerous, there is no justification under home rule doctrine to pass breed-specific legislation. Therefore, the home rule argument — that there is a rational basis, safety, to pass BSL — has not been proven in Illinois (or anywhere else for that matter).  In fact, the home rule argument for BSL is losing steam since Toledo was ordered to stop enforcing their BSL in 2010 after an Ohio court ruled their home rule ordinance went beyond the purview of state law and was therefore unconstitutional (but not before Toledo seized and killed a whole lot of innocent dogs).

Add to the argument against home rule being used to supposedly justify BSL that BSL is widely known to be ineffective, and there is absolutely no rational basis to ban or restrict specific breeds of dog in Illinois.  And as I noted in a previous post, Rep. Bradley is an attorney and he ought to know better, but judging from his display of ignorance in the above-cited article, it appears as if he has not thoroughly investigated BSL such that he should be proposing to allow it in the state of Illinois via his bill.

Indeed, Rep. Bradley appears to discount rational thought in lieu of appealing to Illinoisans’ emotional side saying,

“‘All we’re trying to do is just give these local communities the ability to governor themselves and if a community wants take drastic steps, in order to protect their communities from vicious dog attacks, then we need to look as a legislator to give the local communities the ability to do that,’ Bradley said.” [These are his type-o’s and/or grammatical mistakes, not mine.]

And I would ask Rep. Bradley who the “we” is that he’s referring to when he says “All we‘re trying to do.”  See, by “we” I think Rep. Bradley means the special interest lobby behind him who put him up to pushing this bill.  How do I know?  Because there just happens to simultaneously be two other bills in Oklahoma and Texas that would likewise overturn the statewide prohibition of BSL in those states respectively.  So which radical animal rights group is backing this bill from the shadows this time?  Anyone care to take a guess?  PETA?  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)?  Well, before backing this bill perhaps Rep. Bradley should have done his homework and researched PETA‘s and the HSUS‘ domestic terrorist ties and the fact that both of these groups have expressed a desire to end domestic pet ownership:

“We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”– Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States, Animal People, May, 1993.

“In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether.” — Ingrid Newkirk, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Newsday, Feb. 21, 1988.

At this point, it is no longer a secret that both PETA and the HSUS have pushed breed-specific legislation. So why should we expect that radical animal rights groups wouldn’t be involved in pushing BSL on the state level where their lobbyists are even slimier and the stakes a whole lot higher?  I maintain, however, that a terrorist in a $2,000 suit is still a terrorist.  But the real question all Illinoisans need to be asking is: What would an elected official get in exchange for supporting radical animal rightists’ legislation?  Perhaps that’s a question we all need to put before Rep. Bradley when HB 1080 comes before committee.

Read more about it:

Illinois Rep. Wants to Allow Canine Profiling in the Land of Lincoln

Oppose HB 1080 – Allows Cities to Ban ANY Breed of Dog

21 Responses to “Illinois HB 1080: What Illinois Representative John Bradley Doesn’t Know about Animal Control Could Amount to Alot of Dead Dogs”

  1. Brenda J Tow says:

    It is wrong to ban specific breeds of dogs just as it is wrong to judge one drunk’s bad actions the same way you would judge any other person drinking in a bar.

  2. Wendi Pearson says:

    Ban the deed not the breed. Makes sense to me. Bullies are loving and wonderful dogs and in the right homes are the best pets ever. We don’t ban different ethnic people so why ban specific breeds of dogs. Have harsher punishments for bad owners! That makes more sense to me!

  3. Roger Cotterman says:

    Instead of targeting a specific breed of dog, they need to focus on the people who train these dogs to be vicious. I have rescued numerous dogs over the past 2 1/2 years and not one of them had to be euthanized because of them being vicious.

  4. Bethlee A. Maybee says:

    Fine and make strict laws for dog owners ANY Breed that break laws such as leash laws, dogs running at large, rabies shots and license.

  5. Sherri Alston says:

    It has been proven time after time that BSL does not work. Bully breed dogs are the most loving and loyal that you will find, they are therapy dogs, search & rescue dogs and their owners will testify that they are the best dogs you could have.

  6. Wayne Baird says:

    I’ve already addressed my representative on HB1080 and received a non-committal, pre-printed non-reply from him. On that point, I was not surprised.

    I read the bill as proposed and forwarded to committee. I admit I am not good at deciphering legalese and I sometimes miss the “unintended consequences” in law.

    Would you please help me find the bill’s clauses that refer to breed specific bans? I want to address the exact clauses in further communication with my rep.

    My beautiful APBT and I both thank you!

  7. Judge the DOG, not the BREED! I have Pitbulls in my rescue who are big cuddle-bugs and want nothing more than to sit on your lap and be loved! They adore everyone they meet, get along GREAT with the other dogs, and wouldn’t hurt a flea! Why? Because they were RAISED CORRECTLY! On the other hand, I have a little Chihuahua here that will bite the crap out of anybody who tries to touch him! So, which is worse in this case…the Chi? or the Pitbull? Like I said. Judge the DOG, not the BREED!

  8. Lisa Romero says:

    You cant ban the breed it will only make the people breed and mix other dogs for the purpose of fighting or to profit….Until the public learns that Dogs are just for compaionship nothing you do will work …You are only wasting money…..pass a spay and nuter law…Then enforce it….We just passed one here in Memphis Tennessee and it slowed things down a little bit but its only in its first year maybe 6 months and in my neighborhood the news was spreading and the talk was starting to make a difference ….Now all we need is to keep up the enforcement and the news going…along with neighbors reporting neighbors with backyard puppies and it will work….We have to make the same laws all across the states so people cant skip around to evade them…once they are the same in all 50 states then we will Win the war on animal abuse and overpopulation….

  9. Yahaira Ortiz says:

    Instead of banning any type of animal we need to focus our energy in educating the public of ways of dealing with any type of dogs. Should we continue with this, we are teaching our children and next generation how to be cruel. Just because some people are ignorant and some cases of negligence, does not give us the right to banned any animal. We need to look more in deep of the situation. Today some people want to ban the pittbull because bad reputation, but not to long ago it was the Doberman pinscher, Rottweilers,and Chow chow; what will be next?? Dalmatian, chihuahuas, or puddle. Once we give this type of control to some board, then it will be the board who dictates what you can and can’t have as a pet. There will be no turning back, and that my friend is a way of loosing your freedom to choose.

  10. S. Cole says:

    The Society of Temperament Testing did a study and they determined that pit bulls had a better temperament than the average dog. Here is the link to the story

    http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/pit-bulls-have-better-temperament-than-average-dog/

  11. Cathy Parlato says:

    To the Illinois House Agriculture & Conservation Committee,

    I write to you in opposition to HB 1080, and ask that the committee fully consider the implications of breed specific legislation:

    BSL does nothing to educate or protect the citizens from dangerous dogs. Dogs of any breed can be dangerous. Laws need to be based on the Deed, not the breed.

    BSL punishes responsible dog owners while bad dog owners go underground. Responsible dog owners leave the city or county.

    BSL is costly to the city and taxpayers: there is a sigher cost to enforce BSL, more kennels to house the dogs, vet care, food, as well as increased euthanasia.

    There is an additional complication that it is diffcult to determine specifics breeds, such as pitbulls. There are 25 + breeds that are commonly incorrectly identified as pit bulls.

    I urge you to take the following actions:

    1. Reject the current legislation, which distracts from the real issue, that of responsible dog ownership.

    2. Actively pursue legislation that would render owners liable for the actions of their pets, such as a good non-breed specific dangerous dog law. Appropriate policy should “blame the owner, not the dog.” Owners can and should take responsibility for their pets.

    HB 1080 is motivated by fear and lack of relevant knowledge. The legislation proposed will not only be unfair for responsible citizens but it addresses the wrong problem. Voting for this proposal as it stands only harms the law abiding responsible dog owner.

    Sincerely,
    Cathy Parlato
    Decatur, GA

  12. cadence dub us says:

    Educate the owners. Animals do not commit crimes-people pervert innocence into ways to hurt others. Help decrease poverty and joblessness, give young people hope and direction. Dogs are loyal to humans- are humans loyal to humans?

  13. Thanks everyone for your comments. To address Mr. Baird’s question, the language that would allow BSL is of course the intro to the bill which says,

    “Amends the Animal Control Act. Removes the ban on classifying vicious dogs based on breed. Effective immediately.”

    And then if you click through to the link below where the bill is, you can see that the part in the dangerous dog law that forbids BSL is struck through, meaning the bill’s sponsor wants to void it:

    “Vicious dogs shall not be classified in a manner that is specific as to
    breed.”

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=84&GA=97&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=1080&GAID=11&LegID=56892&SpecSess=&Session=

  14. Amanda Johnson says:

    This bill is unacceptable! We need to take action and do what we can in defense of our breed. Our beloved animals cannot speak for themselves and rely upon us to defend them.

  15. Linda Turner says:

    Please do not vote for this bill! Any dog’s behavior and aggressiveness is usually caused by the owner’s lack of discipline with their dog! I have know many Pit Bulls that are the sweetest, most affectionate dog you would ever want to meet. They deserve to have loving homes like any other dog!

  16. sharron litlejohn says:

    BSL does not work and has never worked and is totally a waste of tme and money !

    BSL affects the breed ( Pit Bull and Pit Mixes ) right now because of ignorance of those putting it as law.

    These dogs are NOT the horrible , vicious ,killing machines the media , PETA and other organizations protray ! They are loving and only want to please their owners….YES , PLEASE THEIR OWNERS !!! Dogs do not know right from wrong and therefore should NOT be punished , banned and removed from ANY community !

    Their owners should be the ones held accountable for how they neglect , mistreat , abuse and use these dogs as status symbols and intimidation !

    Why is it , the dogs always have to pay the ultimate price ( death ) while their owners get off with no fines , jail time ??? It is these irresposible owners that know right from wrong….the dog is just pleasing the owner and nothing else !!

    PUNISH the owners and leave the dogs alone !

    Keep in mind . BSL in any form is WRONG , MISLEADING and a HUGE LIE !! BSL puts a target on the heads of all pitbulls and mixes ! Don’t think for moment people , your favorite breed of dog is immune to BSL. It can , and will happen if you sit on your hands and do not involve yourself in this horrible injustice !!

    I forget what country has BSL against Boarder Collies …. AND YOU THINK BSL IS ONLY TATRGETING POWERFUL AND STRONG BREEDS ….think again !!!!!

    Prejudice and racial profiling is wrong !! When focused on people from various backgrounds , nationalites and religions , just to name a few is WRONG …why continue to do the same to breeds of dogs ?

    I really wish people who want to put BSL in their cities .Would take time to research and find out why BSL DOES NOT WORK…and WNY places like the Netherlands and a few other countries and States have REMOVED BSL from their cities !!!

    GET EDUCATED !!

  17. Bonnie Escobar says:

    BSL does not work and will not work — IT IS THE PEOPLE NOT THE DOGS! The only thing that this does is give the government the right to murder our animals and tell what kind of animals that we can have in our lives and that is not what America is about come on, So when are they going to ban people who can not afford their children to stop having them ?????? Educated not only yourselves but educate the public……

  18. Carol Smith says:

    Please leave it the peoples right to own whatever breed dog they choose to.

  19. Kate says:

    It is sad to even see this being proposed! I am a rescuer and so far every “Pit Bull” or “Pit Bull” Mix (and I quote that because many dogs who are NOT Pit Bulls are labeled as such)I’ve rescued has been abused, fought, used for bait, used for breeding, and thrown away! Do these dogs have issues? Yes, some do, but they all have been trained to be that way, so we work with them to modify their behavior and show them not all humans are bad. They work right alongside us and some even become therapy dogs! This particular breed wants to PLEASE THEIR HUMAN, no matter what that entails. BAN THE HUMANS who FIGHT, BEAT, STARVE, BREED, and MURDER these dogs … do not ban the breed!!

  20. Doctor M says:

    I can’t add much to the excellent comments in the previous postings, but I’ll attest to the gentle nature and loyalty of the part Pit/part Chocolate Lab we rescued 8 years ago. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog, a wonderful companion who deaarly loves and wants to please his humans! Bills like this one are ill-advised and are based on the faulty premise that a particular breed of dog is inherently vicious. As previous postings have stated, it’s PEOPLE who make dogs vicious and aggressive. Let’s ban, punish, and abolish the people who make innocent animals the scapegoats for their own twisted sick violent natures!

  21. Eric L. Smith says:

    I am not a Pit Bull owner but I have no problem with this type of dog. I have been around several Pit Bulls in the course of my work when gaining access to property throughout Southern Illinois. I am a professional insurance claims adjuster and over the past 29 years I have investigated numerous dog bite claims under Homeowners Insurance Policies. I have yet to handle a bite claim involving a Pit Bull. German Shephards seem to top the list along with various smaller mix breeds. IT is beyond common logic to ban a certain type of dog. People train their dogs to be aggressive or passive. Not the dog’s fault. Please do not give our failed state another black eye. This is getting beyond ridiculis. Go after the people who neglect and corrupt these dogs.

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