SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, to hold negligent dog owners responsible for the fatal behavior of their aggressive and violent canines passed out of committee and will soon be considered for a vote in the Illinois House.
“For many dog owners, their dogs are more than just pets; they’re family,” Mussman said. “Let me be clear, most dogs are well-behaved, but some dogs aren’t as passive as others. Those dogs can potentially do great harm, which is why I urge all dog owners to make sure that they take the appropriate measures, like adequate fencing on their property, to avoid any unwanted issues with other family dogs.”
Mussman is the chief House sponsor of House Bill 2386, which was inspired by a constituent’s traumatic experience and has garnered bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. The legislation allows for the designation of someone as a “reckless dog owner” if their dog is deemed dangerous for killing another dog and is found running at large twice within 12 months of being deemed dangerous. If a person is found to be a reckless dog owner, all dogs on their property would be forfeited to a licensed shelter, rescue or sanctuary, where efforts would be made to re-home the dogs if they are believed to be adoptable. Additionally, a reckless dog owner would be prohibited from owning dogs for up to three years if found guilty. Mussman advanced the measure out of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee this week.
“Owning a dog comes with great responsibility,” said Mussman. “Owners must acknowledge that they are responsible for the actions of the dog that they own. Owners of dogs with aggressive tendencies must prioritize training their dogs to behave appropriately in public settings, as to avoid any potentially violent behavior toward other dogs and children.”