By Sammie Reinstein, Summer Internship Communications Team
Representative Didech was the chief sponsor of HB168, an animal welfare bill which amends the Humane Care for Animals Act, expanding the power of courts and law enforcement to prohibit people convicted of animal cruelty crimes from owning animals in the future.
Under this bill, in addition to issuing any other penalty, courts would be able to bar a person or persons living in the same dwelling from harboring or having custody of an animal if they were convicted of two or more of the following crimes: a violation of animals for entertainment, a violation of aggravated cruelty, and a violation of dog fighting. This bill would allow a judge to determine if a person is fit to own and care for an animal. It passed unanimously in the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate, and it heads to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature.
With this bill, Illinois would join the at least 31 other states that have passed a Prohibit Future Ownership (PFO) law. PFO laws reduce the likelihood of a person committing a repeat animal cruelty offense, offer law enforcement an additional tool to monitor and prevent animal cruelty, and help mitigate the nearly 100% recidivism rate for those convicted of animal cruelty. HB168 is an initiative of the Humane Society and is supported by the Illinois Animal Control Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.