March 18, 2011 update: HB 1166 has been kicked back down to the Rules Committee. Let’s hope it stays there.
Animals Subcommittee Hearing
Mar 15 2011, 1:05PM
Stratton Building, Room 413
This bill is currently in the Agriculture & Conservation Committee. Please send your polite letters to the Ag Committee and oppose HB 1166!
We discussed Illinois HB 1166 in a prior post on hoarding, but this bill is so slimy I think it now merits its own post. HB 1166 has the pretense of being an anti-hoarding bill, but it’s really an anti-breeder and even an anti-companion animal bill in disguise. The bill language states that,
“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.”
The Humane Care for Animals Act has a broad definition of companion animals. Under the act, a,
“‘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.”
Per this definition, any animal Illinoisans keep as a pet could be considered a companion animal. So consider the ramifications if HB 1166 passes. For instance, a hamster is a companion animal is it not? Have you ever brought a hamster home from the pet store only to find out later that it was pregnant and had anywhere from 5-8 babies? So, HB 1166, if it passed, would then require you to get a permit because overnight your hamster became a mommy, unbeknownst to you. And if you don’t get a permit for your little bundles of hamster joy, will a SWAT team bust down your door, confiscate all your animals, and throw you in jail? Do you see how ludicrous HB 1166 is?
Further, HB 1166 would broaden the definition of companion animal hoarder. Per HB 1166, a,
“Companion animal hoarder” means a person who (i) possesses 7 or more companion animals…”
So, if HB 1166 passes, anyone who breeds horses, anyone who is a dog or cat breeder, anyone who is an animal conservationist or rehabilitator, anyone who rescues animals, or even someone with more than 7 hamsters would have the extra added burden of acquiring a permit or be fingered as an animal hoarder and possibly be slapped with a felony!
Seven is an arbitrary and overly-restrictive number given the extremely broad definition of a companion animal as defined by the Humane Care for Animals Act, which is why we can say that HB 1166 is not an anti-hoarding bill; it’s an anti-breeder bill and one could even say an anti-companion animal bill. If you value your pets — your dogs, your cats, your horses, your llamas, your hamsters, your turtles, your parakeets, your ferrets, etc. — please write the Agriculture & Conservation Committee and oppose HB 1166 today!