SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Returning service members would be united with shelter pets under a new bill recently passed by state Rep. Harry Benton, D-Plainfield.

“Too often, loving and adoptable dogs and cats, who would make wonderful additions to someone’s home, instead end up as long term tenants of Illinois animal shelters. At the same time, many veterans have returned from overseas with emotional and psychological scars,” Benton said. “Those of us who’ve been touched by pets can all attest to the joy and comfort they can bring. Some research even shows that having a pet may be an effective therapy for conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress. That’s why promoting pets being paired with veterans just makes sense.” 

Benton’s House Bill 2500 would provide that animal control facilities and shelters shall not charge anyone who can prove they are an Illinois veteran an adoption fee for a dog or cat. Individuals would be allowed to adopt one animal this way every two years. The bill is modeled on a law that took effect in California in 2020. The bill now advances to the state Senate.

“Helping veterans adopt loving pets isn’t just a great way of helping them heal, it’s also a small way of giving back to them after everything they did for us,” Benton said. “Having a pet can be one of the most rewarding experiences everyday life has to offer, and don’t our veterans deserve that? Why should they pay a fee when they’ve already sacrificed so much for our country? For me, that’s really what it boils down to.”

Benton’s constituent service office can be reached at 815-254-0000 or jessicah@repharrybenton.com.

Rep. Harry BentonRep. Harry Benton

97th District

Springfield Office:
282-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1331

District Office:
24047 Lockport St
Plainfield IL, 60544