SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) has introduced legislation aimed at helping animal shelters and stores across the country better screen potential animal owners.
View video from Sen. Rezin’s press conference on the legislation by CLICKING HERE
The measure, Senate Bill 3138, allows Illinois to opt into the national Do No Adopt Database – a first of its kind national database administered by Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) – which would streamline the screening process for shelters. The legislation would keep animal shelters from having to negotiate a patchwork of independent, localized registries that are not linked to one another when screening individuals who are seeking to adopt an animal.
Illinois is the first in the nation to introduce such legislation.
“I am very excited for the potential of a national animal abuse database so we are protecting animals and making sure that animals are being placed in safe homes,” Sen. Rezin said. “This will be a service for the shelters and organizations that work hard to place animals in good homes and give them peace of mind knowing that they have a database to rely on when screening potential animal owners. I look forward to passing it through the Illinois General Assembly.”
Sen. Rezin said the concept was first brought to her by Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland. They then worked with Chris Green, Director of Legislative Affairs for ALDF, to draft legislation. Green shared that states have tried to establish databases of their own, but the fiscal impact was too great. It was then that ALDF decided to take action and create a national database.
The national Do No Adopt Database will compile animal abuse conviction data into one database that will be accessible across state lines. This will allow shelters and pet stores to screen potential adopters and customers to ensure that they have not been convicted of animal abuse crimes, such as dog fighting or hoarding.
If a person 18 years or older is convicted of animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty, animal torture, animal fighting, poisoning an animal, dog fighting or other animal crimes, the crime will be reported and recorded in the national Do Not Adopt Database. Any animal shelter, pet store, animal breeder, or person will conduct a search of the national database before selling, transferring, delivering, or placing for adoption an animal to another person.
Illinois has consistently been ranked first among states with the best animal protection laws in the United States by ALDF. This legislation solidifies the state’s commitment to protecting animals.
Last month, Sen. Rezin was interviewed for a documentary regarding animal abuse after the producers learned of this piece of legislation she was sponsoring. Paulina Kucharski Quaranta, director and producer of the documentary, titled “Puppy Doe,” interviewed Sen. Rezin as a part of their effort to answer through the film whether animal abuse laws are strong enough in the United States. Sen. Rezin mentioned in the interview how this piece of legislation would take a bold step towards strengthening animal abuse laws nationwide and give organizations a proper tool in screening potential animal owners.
The legislation is currently in the Senate, awaiting passage.
Sen. Rezin has an online petition available on her website pertaining to the bill. She is asking people to register their support of the measure for her to use in the legislation process. She also urges everyone to sign up for her newsletter to receive bill status updates. You can sign the petition by CLICKING HERE.