March 1st, 2011 by Editor
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
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.
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.” Read the rest of this entry »