Category Archives: Illinois

Valier, IL: Resident wants breed ban

A resident intends to ask the Valier board of aldermen to ban “pit bulls.” Illinois state law prohibits municipalities from passing BSL, so a breed ban would not be legal in Valier. Fortunately, the mayor and village attorney both appear to be aware of this.

Residents and locals, please attend the July 23 meeting of the board of aldermen. At the July 23 meeting, the resident intends to present his petition, and the aldermen will also hear from the village attorney, and discuss possible options. We do not think BSL will be pursued by the village, but the meeting is an opportunity for residents to respectfully discuss whether or not current laws and enforcement are sufficient, and to bring forward effective breed-neutral proposals for village officials to consider.

This is the only contact information we have for Valier:
117 West Main St., Valier, IL 62891
(618) 724-9393

Valier man wants pit bull ban

15 hours ago • BY STEPHEN RICKERL, The Southern

After being charged by a neighborhood dog on two separate occasions, a Franklin County man is working with other concerned residents to circulate a petition asking city officials to take action. […]

Stanley said he would like to see village officials enact an ordinance barring certain vicious or aggressive breeds, but Valier Mayor Marty Buchanan questions the legality of such an ordinance.

[…] Buchanan said he was told a breed-specific ordinance does not have any teeth and would not hold up in court.

“I don’t want to do that, just to have something out there to satisfy the people when I know it’s not going to make any difference,” said Buchanan. […]

Full article retrieved 7/15/12 from

Carmi, IL: Residents ask for BSL

Illinois state law prohibits municipalities from passing BSL, so Carmi cannot legally pass BSL or a breed ban despite residents’ requests. City officials are aware of this. (Illinois “home rule” municipalities can pass BSL despite state law, but Carmi is not a “home rule” city.)

Residents and locals may wish to get involved in Carmi to help city officials make the community safer and more educated about dog behavior and responsible dog ownership.

Dog owners urged to obey leash laws

By Braden Willis, Carmi Times
Posted May 24, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

[…] The attacking dog was a pit bull breed and Port acknowledged at Monday’s meeting there has been a call from neighbors in that area for the council to enact breed-specific prohibitions against pit bulls.

The mayor said such an ordinance has been considered, but the council learned state law prohibits breed-specific prohibitions. […]

Full article retrieved 5/25/12 from

Bloomington, IL: City may consider BSL

Although Illinois state law prohibits municipalities from passing BSL, Bloomington is a “home rule” city and therefore does not have to follow the state law.

We are seeing, more frequently, the statement that BSL is necessary because “responsible dog owners are in the minority.” (Particularly, responsible owners of commonly targeted breeds.) There is no scientific data to back up this assertion—to my knowledge there haven’t been any studies done on this at all. It is purely myth and stereotype.

Advocates, please be aware of the generalizations and stereotypes you’re using when talking about dog owners. In some cases, as we see in Bloomington, this stereotype helps officials feel justified in considering or passing BSL.

Contact information for Bloomington, IL officials
City of Bloomington, 109 E. Olive St, Bloomington, IL 61701
Ph (309) 434-2240
The City Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Mondays every month at 7:00 PM in the City Hall Council Chambers on the 2nd Level. Next council meeting: May 28.

After attack, city to look at rules for dogs

By: Ryan Denham

BLOOMINGTON – Aldermen may revisit tougher rules for dangerous pit bulls and their owners after a recent attack on Bloomington’s west side.

[…] Bernie Uszcienski said it’s time for the city to consider stiffer penalties for vicious dog owners. He said he’s observed more pit bulls – and more of them controlled by irresponsible owners – in his neighborhood and citywide.

“I feel bad for the ones that are certainly responsible owners,” Uszcienski said. “But in my opinion, they are certainly far in the minority.”

Ward 6 Karen Schmidt said she wants to know if the 2006 change has made a difference, and what the impact has been in other communities that have banned pit bulls, such as Denver. (That ban was upheld in court, city officials say.) […]

Full article retrieved 5/16/12 from

Morris, IL: BSL repealed

Morris repeals ordinance targeting pit bulls

By Sarwat S. Ahmad For The Herald-News April 18, 2012 9:48AM

MORRIS — Pit bulls in Morris no longer will be treated differently than other breeds of dogs.

Aldermen on Monday night repealed an ordinance regulating pit bulls to comply with state law which prohibits breed-specific municipal regulations on dogs.

The state of Illinois outlawed breed specific legislation a few years ago, and the city has not enforced the pit bull law since then, Kopczick said. […]

Full article retrieved 4/18/12 from

Chicago, IL update: City resolves to look at dog laws without BSL

Whatever the city of Chicago decides to do to strengthen their dog ordinance, the new measures will not be breed-specific, says the city’s resolution.

Residents of Chicago are encouraged to get involved in the dialogue with city council and city officials, to make sure that any new measures that are introduced are agreeable to all.

License owners, not dogs? Alderman wants to tighten leash

BY FRAN SPIELMAN, City Hall Reporter,
January 18, 2012 4:12PM

[…] At the moment, the resolution co-sponsored by Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) simply calls for City Council hearings to take testimony from experts and “make recommendations for legislation to reduce the number of animal attacks.”

But, it also notes that the City Council tightened the regulatory leash — and increased penalties on negligent dog owners — after exhaustive hearings in 2007 that specifically rejected calls for a breed-specific ban.

“Any further regulation should continue to be not breed-specific, but owner/handler specific, such as licensing the owner rather than the animal,” the resolution states. […]

City Clerk Susana Mendoza, who co-sponsored the demand for City Council hearings, issued a press release that made no mention of licensing dog owners.

She simply said, “We do not feel that any legislation should be dog-breed specific, but instead focused on responsible dog ownership.” […]

Full article retrieved 1/19/12 from

Chicago, IL reminder: Council meeting, Jan 18 (possible BSL)

Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti has said that he intends to introduce a resolution at the Jan 18 city council meeting, to explore ways to make pet owners more responsible for their pets. Although Fioretti initially suggested that he would support a “pit bull” ban or some other kind of breed-specific law, he has since publicly distanced himself from BSL, and has said that he wants to look at breed-neutral measures.

However, at least one other alderman, George Cardenas, has stated that he intends to pursue breed-specific restrictions or a ban on “pit bulls.”

Residents and locals, please attend the next council meeting, at which Alderman Fioretti intends to introduce a resolution to review current dog ordinances: January 18, 10:00 AM, City Council Chambers, City Hall, Chicago. Whether Fioretti introduces a resolution or not, this is an opportunity for locals to express their opinions about responsible dog ownership, current dog laws, and BSL, and to gauge the council’s intentions regarding BSL.

Contact your alderman here and let him or her know where you stand on breed-specific laws and breed-neutral dog ownership laws:
Here is a cut-and-paste list of all email addresses for aldermen (thanks to Kat for compiling it)—please note not all aldermen have published email addresses.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

All alerts for Chicago:

Chicago, IL: Whispers of BSL

Over the last several days, the news media in Chicago has ramped up coverage of “pit bull”-related incidents (including this incident where a loose dog “confronted” a city worker—hardly newsworthy if it were any other type of dog) and has been running various headlines suggesting a pit bull ban in the works.

Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti was initially quoted in the media as saying he would consider a breed ban or breed-specific restrictions. He has now modified his stance and no longer seems interested in BSL (read full article “Bad Dogs: Nature vs. Nurture” here):

“Clearly, everybody is outraged and horrified by this incident,” said Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), whose ward in the South Loop and West Loop has a number of dogs and dog-friendly areas. He said his office this week has fielded calls, emails and texts from residents asking about stronger laws and urging a ban on pit bulls. “Whenever an incident occurs, we don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction. We want to have something that is comprehensive, well thought-out and increases public safety.”

Fioretti plans to introduce a resolution at the City Council meeting Jan. 18 to explore ways to make pet owners more responsible for their pets. He wants the city to look at the laws in place and how they’re enforced. He also said he wants the council to examine how other cities and states handle the issue and discuss ways to strengthen Chicago’s rules.

“Is banning breeds the answer? I think this City Council has looked at it in the past and they said no,” Fioretti said.

Another alderman, George Cardenas, has posted this on his Facebook wall: “As Chairman of health and the enviroment for the city I will call for hearings but this time on a serious push on protecting people either a ban or much tighter control. They are sweet, I understand but are also vicious in the wrong hands. The point is that these dogs [pit bulls] have become dangerous weapons and the public must be protected, bottom line.”

After around thirty (mostly opposing) responses to his post, Cardenas posted a reply: “I get it but you see my point that something has to be done. Seriously, how many people will choose not to use the park anymore? or get close to a dog or an animal for that purpose? We may have to include criminal penalties for dog owners if their dog does harm to someone. We need to talk about this and the find the right balance.”

A recent letter to the editor in the Chicago Tribune provided insight as to why some citizens are, according to Fioretti, calling Chicago lawmakers’ offices to ask for a pit bull ban or restrictions on ownership. It indicates several factors influencing public perception, including media over-saturation of “pit bull” incidents, notions of “pit bulls” as “different from other breeds,” and the belief that “pit bulls” are “biologically capable of doing great harm,” unlike other breeds of dogs.

Chicago considered a pit bull ban several years ago, but it did not get far. The city has a number of well-organized and outspoken animal advocacy groups that have opposed BSL in the past and will continue to do so. Also, Chicago has 50 aldermen, making it difficult to get enough support to pass something that is highly controversial. And finally, considering that the two aldermen who were most outspoken for pit bull restrictions two days ago appear to no longer be interested, we suspect that the whispers of BSL will drift along on news media-driven hype for a while before fading away.

But even if BSL is not proposed, it seems that Chicago may need some effective breed-neutral animal ordinances, better enforcement of those ordinances, and public education about responsible dog ownership. We encourage Chicago residents to get involved in the discussions regarding dogs and dog ownership, to ensure that proposals are breed-neutral, effective, and reasonable.

Contact your alderman here and let him or her know where you stand on breed-specific laws and breed-neutral dog ownership laws:
Here is a cut-and-paste list of all email addresses for aldermen (thanks to Kat for compiling it)—please note not all aldermen have published email addresses.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Attend the next council meeting, at which Alderman Fioretti intends to introduce a resolution to review current dog ordinances: January 18, 10:00 AM, City Council Chambers, City Hall, Chicago.

Here are just a few of the advocacy groups you could join to help Chicago become safer, smarter, and more humane.
Facebook group Chicagoans Against Breed Discrimination:
Safe Humane Chicago:
PAWS Chicago: