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‘It’s been a banner year:’ Attorney explains Illinois’ 6 animal welfare laws to take effect in 2019

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On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio executive editor Shula Neuman led a discussion about Illinois’ six new animal welfare laws, which will take effect Jan. 1. Joining Neuman for the discussion was Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society.

“It’s been a banner year for companion animal welfare legislation in Illinois,” VanKavage said. “It’s great to see because we had these bills sponsored by Democrats and Republicans – something you don’t see so often.”

Some of these laws:

  • allow counties to keep all the funds collected through the Illinois Animal Control Act public safety fines. The county pet population control fund shall only be used to spay/neuter/vaccinate feral cats, spay/neuter adopted dogs or cats or spay/neuter/vaccinate the pets owned by people on food stamps or Social Security Disability Benefits.
  • require law enforcement agencies with police dogs to make sure every police dog receives an annual medical examination by a licensed veterinarian and that all vehicles that transport a police dog contain a heat sensor.
  • allow law enforcement officers to rescue dogs or cats from temperature extremes
  • ban ivory and rhino horn imports.

The discussion also touched on why there are no new animal welfare laws are taking effect in Missouri next year.
“Missouri has a long way to go … it’s very hard because Missouri has a lot of breeders and sometimes they will help with good animal legislation … but other times they’ll try to roll back some of those protections,” VanKavage added.

Listen to the full discussion for more details on Illinois’ six new animal welfare laws and other legislative priorities across the country:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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