Dog owners can be found to be ‘reckless’ if 1) their dog is determined to be dangerous for killing another dog. And 2) If the dog is found running at large twice within 12 months. This language amends the Animal Control Act. It is no longer just the dog that is subject to the law. It is also the owner.

A citizen or other person named in the Act may file a complaint in circuit court to determine whether a person is a reckless dog owner. That person must be determined to be a reckless dog owner by clear and convincing evidence. If so, the court shall order the immediate impoundment and forfeiture of all dogs the reckless dog owner has a property right in.

The court shall further prohibit the ownership of a dog by the person determined to be a reckless dog owner. For a period of at least 12 months. But not more than 36 months for the first determination.

The court will look at the dog’s history during ownership by a person found to be a reckless dog owner. This will not be considered conclusive of the dog’s temperament and qualification for adoption or transfer.

The dog’s temperament shall be independently evaluated by a person qualified to conduct behavioral assessments. If the dog is deemed adoptable, the receiving facility shall make a reasonable attempt to 1) place the dog in another home 2) transfer the dog to a rescue, or 3) place the dog in a sanctuary.

A person who refuses to forfeit a dog is a violation which carries a public safety fine of $500 for each dog. This money will be deposited into the Pet Population Control Fund. Goes into effect 1.1.19.

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