Legislation Kills No Kill Goals, Barrs Shelters Saving Strays?

by Mary Haight on May 15, 2014

legislation kills no-kill

In an animal community shocker, an ill-conceived, poorly advised piece of legislation, SB 0648, quietly slipped to the floor of the Illinois Senate for a vote. Legislation that kills no kill goals, unravels at least a decade of work the animal welfare community has put into saving adoptable animals, and bans shelters from saving strays is preposterous. Yet it passed unanimously in the Senate 54-0, and is moving through committee in the House, according to the Illinois General Assembly site.

Legislation Kills No Kill Goals How?

The changes to the Animal Welfare Act proposed in this bill erases everything that comes after the enactment clause. Quoting the first main point of contention:

“Provides that an animal control facility may not release any animal to an individual representing an animal shelter, unless the individual is a representative of a not-for-profit, out-of-State organization and the animal is being transferred out of the State of Illinois. “

As far as I know, no one in the animal community, represented by Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance (CASA), had been asked for their expert opinion or advice. No (known) calls or emails were received by the Board from the Bill’s co-sponsors Andy Manar, (D) Senator and Wayne Rosenthal, (R) Representative to see how this Bill might impact the life-saving work accomplished every day by the City’s many shelters and rescues. The wording here is astonishing, since it now makes it other States burden to come and save Illinois animals?

The portion of the Animal Welfare Act this references presently looks like this:

 (225 ILCS 605/3.4)
7     Sec. 3.4. Release of animals to shelters.
8     (a) An animal shelter or animal control facility may not
9 release any animal to an individual representing an animal
10 shelter, unless (1) the recipient animal shelter has been
11 licensed or has a foster care permit issued by the Department
12 or (2) the individual is a representative of a not-for-profit,
13 out-of-State organization and the animal is being transferred
14 out of the State of Illinois.


The amendment referenced in bold type above changes, well, everything. The shelter/rescue community pulls animals from the Animal Care & Control (ACC) facility every day, assisting in the decline of kills there. PAWS Chicago takes the majority of their animals for adoption from this facility.  On May 1, at the Third Reading, Senate Bill 0648 passed and was sent to the House. 54 Senators could not have been more wrong.

Who Benefits – Because Intentions Matter

Could this have been a simple mistake in transcription? Well, if that’s the case, what was the Bill designed to do in the first place? Who were the players behind the scenes? The animals will not benefit from it, so who would? This is a moving story. Having checked the Illinois General Assembly site again, I see the Bill that was in Committee in the House has now been Tabled. For now, it’s stopped in its tracks.

I hope to be back with a follow-up as to what actually happened here. I have a call in to Representative Rosenthal, a co-sponsor of the Bill who is currently on the floor and unavailable for questions. For now, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

However this particular story ends, there is a lesson here for all animal lovers and practiced advocates — essential matters can slip through the cracks. It’s important to keep an eye on local and State legislation so course corrections can be made before it’s too late. We know Big Ag, the NRA, and commercial puppy millers all lobby to write legislation to their benefit and have proven time again they are not concerned with animal welfare. Legislation that kills no kill goals would likely be cause for a happy dance in that group.

I’ll be back with any response or news I get, but I leave you with this question. What would have happened if this Bill had passed?


  1. […] several blog posts (by colleagues ChicagoNow.com's Kathy Mordini of Raining Cats & Dogs andDancing Dog Blogger Mary Haight) and a public outcry, I met by phone privately with Rosenthal, who agreed to table the […]

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