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HIS AMENDMENT (on dangerous dogs) TO HB 2703.
*************   FORWARDING AND CROSSPOSTING ENCOURAGED   *************
On March 17, 2009, Rep. Michael W. Tryon introduced an amendment to HB 2703 which defines and sets standards for "dangerous dogs" in the state of Illinois. 
Please read the proposed legislation.  Please pay close attention to the previous language (crossed out) and new language (underlined).  
Click here: Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2703
Tryon's Amendment to HB 2703:
  • Eliminates from the definition of a "dangerous dog" the exclusion of a dog on its own property.  Therefore your dog could be deemed dangerous if it attacked someone trespassing on your property. A dog that is in its own yard that behaves in a threatening manner can be declared a dangerous dog under HB 2703. (See strikeouts, page 4).
  • Eliminates the words, "without justification" from the definition of "dangerous dog." Therefore, even if the dog was justified in his attack, he would still be deemed dangerous.(See strikeouts on page 7).
  • By eliminating the exceptions (see strikeouts, page 29), a dog could be deemed "dangerous" if it was protecting its property or owner, protecting itself from abuse, or responding to pain inflicted upon him, his owner, or his offspring. Current law provides a defense for a dog that bites someone who is in the act of committing a crime against its owner, is trespassing, or is assaulting a dog, its owner, or the dog's offspring. HB 2703 removes all of those defenses. If you are being attacked, robbed or raped, and your dog bites your attacker and causes multiple sutures, it is vicious under HB 2703.
  • Eliminates the testimony of behaviorists, veterinarian, or other professional experts in animal health and behavior in  determining whether the dog's behavior was justified. All existing requirements for the testimony of an animal behaviorist, veterinarian or other expert before determining whether or not a dog's behavior is justified before declaring it vicious have been removed in HB 2703. Only a finding of a hearing officer, whose only qualification is that s/he is an attorney, is necessary to declare a dog vicious under the law. (See strikeouts, page 21-22). 
  • Eliminates the need for a court hearing before a vicious dog is euthanized; only an administrative hearing would be needed for a dog could be declared vicious and/or euthanized.
Several of the major issues with this bill involve violations of Due Process rights!
PLEASE CALL TRYON'S OFFICE 815-459-6453 TO STATE YOUR OPPOSITION AND LET HIM KNOW THIS IS NOT GOOD LEGISLATION.  Please ask your all your dog-owning friends and family to contact him, as well.
IF Tryon is not your representative, please also contact your own representative, since it is possible this bill may reach the House floor. Our state representatives need to be aware of this bill in advance and to know our opposition.
If you don't know your Illinois State Representative, you can use this link to find out this information:
Below is a synopsis of various portions of the bill with which we are especially concerned, along with actual text of the bill. It is always important that you read the full text of the bill for yourself!!

Page 4.  Eliminates the exclusion of a dog on its own property.  If enacted in its current form, it would deem your dog dangerous if it attacked someone trespassing on your property.
2    (510 ILCS 5/2.05a)
3    Sec. 2.05a. "Dangerous dog" means (i) any individual dog
4anywhere other than upon the property of the owner or custodian
5of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner
6or custodian that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person
7would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat
8of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion
9animal or (ii) a dog that, without justification, bites a
10person and does not cause serious physical injury, or (iii) a
11dog that injures a companion animal or livestock while off its
12owner's property.
13(Source: P.A. 93-548, eff. 8-19-03; 94-639, eff. 8-22-05.) 

Page 7.  Eliminates the words, "without justification" from the definition of "dangerous dog." Therefore, even if the dog was justified in his attack, he would still be deemed dangerous.
4    (510 ILCS 5/2.19b)
5    Sec. 2.19b. "Vicious dog" means a dog that, (i) without
6justification, attacks a person and causes multiple sites of
7physical injury, serious physical injury, or death, (ii) while
8off its owner's property, kills any companion animal or
9livestock, or (iii) any individual dog that has been found to
10be a "dangerous dog" upon 2 3 separate occasions.
11(Source: P.A. 93-548, eff. 8-19-03.)

Page 29.  By eliminating the exceptions noted below, a dog could be deemed "dangerous" if it was protecting its property or owner, protecting itself from abuse, or responding to pain inflicted upon him.  For example, if a dog (or his owner) was being beaten.and bit the abuser, the dog could be deemed vicious. 
4    (b) A dog shall not be declared dangerous if the
5Administrator, or his or her designee, or the Director
6determines the conduct of the dog was justified. because:
7        (1) the threat was sustained by a person who at the
8    time was committing a crime or offense upon the owner or
9    custodian of the dog or was committing a willful trespass
10    or other tort upon the premises or property occupied by the
11    owner of the animal;
12        (2) the threatened person was abusing, assaulting, or
13    physically threatening the dog or its offspring;
14        (3) the injured, threatened, or killed companion
15    animal was attacking or threatening to attack the dog or
16    its offspring; or
17        (4) the dog was responding to pain or injury or was
18    protecting itself, its owner, custodian, or a member of its
19    household, kennel, or offspring.
20    (c) Testimony of a certified applied behaviorist, a board
21certified veterinary behaviorist, or another recognized expert
22may be relevant to the determination of whether the dog's
23behavior was justified pursuant to the provisions of this

Page 21-22  Eliminates the testimony of behaviorists and veterinarians in determining whether the dog's behavior was justified.(See strikeouts, page 21-22).
21to the States Attorney's Office and the owner. The
22Administrator, Deputy Administrator, State's Attorney,
23Director or any citizen of the county in which the dog exists
24may file a complaint in the circuit court in the name of the
25People of the State of Illinois to have a dog deemed deem a dog
09600HB2703ham001- 22 -LRB096 07740 JDS 23258 a
1to be a vicious dog. Testimony of a certified applied
2behaviorist, a board certified veterinary behaviorist, or
3another recognized expert may be relevant to the court's
4determination of whether the dog's behavior was justified. The
5petitioner must prove the dog is a vicious dog by clear and
6 convincing evidence.
Page 23. Eliminates the need for a formal court hearing required to authorize euthanasia of a vicious dog; only adminstrative hearing would be needed.
4  If the burden of proof has been met, the court or 

5  Administrative Hearing Officer shall deem the dog to be a

6  vicious dog.