Posted May 29, 2015
Illinois lawmakers have proposed legislation that would make exposing outside pets to extreme hot or cold weather punishable with jail time and fines, according to a My Web Times article available here. Chicago Tribune also published an article available hereand ABC WSIL here.
The Illinois House approved the measure 104-11 on Tuesday. The state Senate passed it last month. Now it only requires approval from Gov. Bruce Rauner to become law.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor to expose dogs and cats to extreme temperatures, and offenders could face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.
Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, said the bill was inspired by recent cases of dogs freezing to death in subzero temperatures last winter, according to Chicago Tribune.
Opponents said the bill goes too far in regulating what people do with their animals and could affect farmers in particular.
“I grew up on a farm. I’m a farm boy,” said Rep. Randy Frese, R-Paloma. “We take the best care of our animals. … I think we’ve got enough laws in the state anyway. We probably have enough good laws to enforce treating animals correctly.”
Supporters say the bill will help save pet lives, but protesters say the proposal needs to better define what constitutes extreme weather. Still, Thomas hopes it will better educate pet owners, according to ABC WSIL.
“During the winter pets definitely can suffer from frost bite,” explained Dr. Hannah Thomas of the Marion Veterinary Clinic. “I have not personally lost any patients to extreme temperatures, but I have had some very close calls. I have had some intensive management afterwards, especially with the heat stroke.” 
For more information on animal welfare, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.