Pubdate: Sat, 08 Apr 2006
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2006 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Maura Possley
Bookmark: (Crime Policy - United States)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


SPRINGFIELD -- People who own a vicious dog and are later charged 
with a felony drug crime would have to get their dog sterilized or 
face further charges under a bill sent to the governor Friday.

The bill, which passed the House 95-19, would prevent owners from 
using their dogs as weapons, said Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-Sterling), 
the sponsor. Neutered dogs are less likely to be vicious, he said.

"All we're trying to do is to slow down the use of animals as weapons 
for felons."

It was one of the highlights in the House on the day originally 
scheduled to end the spring legislative session. Lawmakers plan to 
return next week in hopes of passing a budget and finishing business.

Rep. Robert Molaro (D-Chicago), who voted for the bill, said he still 
worried that people would no longer want to own dogs such as yellow 
Labradors, which provide company to their owners.

And Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) said he couldn't, in good 
conscience, vote for the bill because the relationship between family 
dogs and their owners is important.

Under the bill, if a dog already has been determined to be vicious 
according to the state's Animal Control Act, and its owner is then 
charged with a felony violation of drug, methamphetamine or marijuana 
laws, the owner would have to get the dog neutered or spayed.

The operation would have to be performed within a week of a person 
being charged with the drug crime. Owners who fail to comply would be 
charged with a misdemeanor.

Dogs can be deemed vicious if, for example, they attack someone 
without justification and cause serious injury. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake