It is no secret that many individuals consider pets as a member of the family. In fact, a recent survey found the millennial generation was more likely to adopt a pet than to have children or move in with a romantic partner.  Considering this, it is no surprise that recent legislation has taken steps to ensure pets are protected. Illinois has expansive legislation regarding pets’ and pet owner’s rights and responsibilities in the state, and legislatures continue to introduce new bills that ensure pets are safe.
A bill currently up for review in the Illinois house of Representatives, requires pet shop owners only sell dogs or cats that are obtained from an animal care facility, humane society, or other similar rescue organization. If a pet shop is caught selling animals that were obtained from breeders, the shop may lose their license or be required to pay a fine. The goal of this bill is to eliminate the sale of dogs and cats who are purchased from breeders, and who may be bred in inhumane conditions. By requiring pet shops to sell only dogs and cats that are obtained from humane sources, the bill would not only reduce the number of active breeders in the state but would also rehome animals in need. 
Illinois also takes cruelty against pets very seriously. Bill HB3347, which aims to abolish monetary bail, includes a provision regarding how the incarcerated person’s treatment of animals should affect their release. The bill provides that when an individual is convicted of any domestic violence crime, their treatment of the pets of the household should be considered prior to approving their release.  This provision accompanies the previously enacted domestic violence law, allowing the issuance of a protective order for a pet in domestic violence situations. The law provides that the victim in a domestic violence situation may be granted exclusive care, custody, or control of the animal, and the offender will be ordered to stay away from the pet and forbidden from having any contact with the victim or the pet. 
A proposed Trust Code for the State of Illinois would allow pet owners will to ensure their beloved animal is cared for even after their own death. If passed, this bill would allow individuals to create trusts to fund and require the care of their pet in the event of their own death. Section 408 of the bill provides that a trust for the care of a domestic animal is valid and terminates only when no living animal is covered by the trust. The section further conveys that the trustee must use any and all funds within the trust for the care of the animal for the animal’s care only, and if funds are used for something other than the animal’s care, the trustee may be subject to judicial sanctions. Even if an individual is unable to designate a trustee, if a trust is formed, the court will appoint a trustee to care for the animal. This bill allows pet owners the piece of mind that in the event their pet outlives them, their pet will be cared for. 
At Sherer Law Offices we care greatly about the animals in our community and through collaboration with Partners for Pets we want to ensure that these animals are protected. For more information on how you can protect pets, see our recent Facebook video showcasing the animals cared for by Partners for Pets. Contact us here or at (618) 692-6656 with questions or to schedule an appointment regarding these laws.
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