Three third-grade students from the northwest suburban Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights convinced Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to increase penalties for the inhumane treatment of animals; specifically addressing the egregious mistreatment of dogs and cats in puppy mills reported abcchicago.com.
The three students, Maddie O'Dell, Brooke Martin, and Claire Hackmann were inspired to take action after reading a book about two children who rescued a dog from a puppy mill.
The new legislation, which takes effect immediately was signed on Saturday and now doubles the fines for animal cruelty offenses as defined by the Animal Welfare Act. It was sponsored by Arlington Heights Republican Rep. David Harris and Sen. Pamela Although, a McHenry Republican.
A first violation is more than doubled from $200 to $500. A second violation is doubled from $500 to $1000. The third violation will result in a $2500 fine, and adds a probationary status for the violator.
The students gathered signatures from classmates and the community with the students even testifying before the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee according to a press release from the Governor's office.
“More than half the households of Illinois have a pet in the household. And it is a situation where your dog or your cat or your pet, that’s part of your family, and we take care of the family of Illinois," stated the Governor at PAWS Chicago.
In addition, Gov. Quinn created the Illinois Pet Advocacy Task Force which studies animal neglect, cruelty and abuse and makes recommendations to find effective methods to help control the epidemic cruelty to those who cannot speak.
Congratulations students; you are an inspiration to everyone.
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