holmes 050421SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) carries on her attention to legislation supporting animal welfare with House Bill 168 in the Illinois Senate this week, allowing a court to prohibit an animal abuser from owning or living with others who own animals.

“Individuals who have been convicted of felony offenses like torture, mutilation and animal fighting have proven they should have no privilege to own an animal for a reasonable period of time,” Holmes said. “Sadly, just as some people who are domestic violence perpetrators continue their behavior, animal abusers may have multiple offenses. No animal should be subjected to this violence.”

This includes preventing a defendant with multiple offenses from living with someone who owns animals. Regardless of any imposition, these individuals have proven they are dangerous to animals and should be barred from contact or possession for a specified period of time. If a defendant is convicted of a lower-level offense, the judge has discretion to consider the circumstances when deciding the length and limitations of the prohibition. This could range from a minimum of 1 year for a misdemeanor offense to a minimum of 5 years for a felony offense.

“In the proven cycle of repeat animal cruelty, this measure can end the cycle by separating offenders from potential new victims,” Holmes said. “By preventing future cruelty to animals, this can help save local agencies and shelter resources. This is a positive solution to a challenging issue.”

House Bill 168 passed out of the Criminal Law Committee Tuesday afternoon; it will now receive consideration by the full Senate.