Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill l to mandate training so law enforcement can better understand canine signaling or what the intent of a dog may be; Listen HERE – as the Governor signed the bill LIVE on Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio.
In part, what motivated the bill was an incident in Chicago last December when Al and Barbara Phillips Miniature Bull Terrier was shot by a police officer for no apparently. Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative analyst at Best Friends Animal Society enlightened me; I had no idea how often this police shoot and ask questions later occurs nationwide. Having said that, police have a very challenging job, making split second decisions. While the instance in Chicago, shooting the Miniature Bull Terrier, was downright odd – sometimes the choices aren’t easy. I like this bill because it’s about adding education rather than removing police the ability to use their best judgement. I cheer this move by Gov. Quinn, who continues to make Illinois the most humane state in America.
Here’s the press release:
CHICAGO –Governor Quinn today signed a new law that provides for a training program in animal fighting awareness and humane response for law enforcement officers. The new law is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to protect pets and ensure that all animals in Illinois are treated ethically and responsibly.
“There is no place in Illinois for animal fighting and this new law will create awareness and help law officers deal with this kind of cruel behavior,” Governor Quinn said. “We also need to crack down on the mistreatment of animals in Illinois and this law will make sure our officers know the best way to respond to animals while out on the streets.”
House Bill 3388 adds language to the Illinois Police Training Act and includes a training program in animal fighting awareness. The bill provides that within the program there must be training dealing with humane responses to animal abuse, identifying animal fighting operations, and nonlethal ways to subdue canines.
Training will help create awareness and make it easier to see potential signs of dog-fighting in order to identify and break up dog-fighting rings. Since these animals are bred to fight, they become extremely aggressive and a threat to the public. This legislation would help make it easier for officers to protect the public and themselves. It also trains the officers in ways to subdue aggressive and abused animals in a nonlethal manner.
Today’s bill signing took place live on Steve Dale’s Pet Worldradio show on WGN radio.
The new law will take effect January 1, 2014.
This release is from Cook Country Sheriff Tom Dart:
“I am pleased to see the Animal Fighting Awareness bill – the first legislation of its kind in the nation – become law today. Any time a police officer is forced to enter a home uninvited, it represents an unpredictable and potentially stressful situation – even more so when animals enter the equation. Providing these law enforcement guidelines will allow our officers to perform their tasks at hand while ensuring that animals within the home are treated in a humane and non-lethal manner. Averting accidental animal fatalities will ensure fiscal prudence by reducing the pricey legal settlements that have beset municipalities across the country – including Chicago. This law also provides officers across the state with the tools to help detect and crack down on dog fighting operations, which continue to plague our communities.”