Tuesday, February 03, 2009]
The American Kennel Club is deeply concerned by Illinois Senate Bill 139. The bill, introduced by Senator Terry Link, the majority caucus whip, seeks to severely limit the practices of tail docking and ear cropping in the state. It is imperative that all concerned Illinois dog owners contact their elected representatives and the bill’s sponsor and express their strong opposition to this attempt to fundamentally change breed standards by limiting acceptable practices of animal husbandry that are accompanied by appropriate veterinary care.
Current Illinois statute allows ear cropping and tail docking done for any legitimate purpose. If SB 139 becomes law, ear cropping and tail docking would be considered "animal torture" under Illinois criminal law and would be allowed only for medical purposes. In effect, SB 139 seeks to fundamentally change many breeds’ characteristics by severely limiting the valid practices of cropping and docking.
The AKC’s policy on the issues of ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal states:
The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health. Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.
The AKC recognizes that ear cropping and tail docking, as prescribed in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character, enhancing good health, and preventing injuries. These breed characteristics ensure the safety of dogs that on a daily basis perform heroic roles with Homeland Security, serve in the U.S. Military, and with Police Departments. These dogs protect tens of thousands of communities throughout our nation and work in the field. Any inference that these procedures are "cosmetic" and unnecessary is a severe mischaracterization that connotes a lack of respect and knowledge of history and the function of purebred dogs.
Breed standards are established and maintained by AKC parent clubs (each of the 158 AKC registered breeds is stewarded by a breed-specific parent club) whose primary purpose is to protect the welfare of their breed and the function it was bred to perform. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any attempt by lawmakers to fundamentally change breed standards by way of limiting acceptable practices of animal husbandry that are provided with appropriate veterinary care, as SB 139 seeks to do.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Concerned Illinois dog owners are encouraged to contact the bill’s sponsor, Senator Terry Link, and their elected representatives in Springfield, and respectfully yet strongly urge them to oppose this attempted infringement on individual liberties.
Concerned Illinois dog owners, find your state representative and senator’s contact information by clicking here.
Bill sponsor Senator Terry Link
321 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-8181
906 Muir Avenue
Lake Bluff, IL 60044
Phone: (847) 735-8181
FAX: (847) 735-8184
To customize a letter of opposition, please http://www.akc.org/canine_legislation/IL_Sample_Letter_crop_dock_2009.doc.
For a copy of the full legislation, please click here.
For tips on how to effectively communicate with legislators, please click here.
For a copy of our Disagree Diplomatically brochure, please click here.
For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.