Illinois would like to limit residents to six pets. If Bill HB 1166 passes, it would be the most restrictive anti-hoarder law in the country. People who want to have more animals would need a permit.
Six animals may sound like a lot of pets to someone who has none, but, take it from me. It’s pretty easy for those numbers to ratchet up. We currently have three cats, two dogs and a horse. Not that long ago, we had an additional two cats and another horse. There have been times — we often foster kittens for rescue — when we’ve had as many as nine cats.
So what happens to the family with rabbits, or mice, or cats that have a litter? Must they run out and obtain a permit based on the number of little ones?
The penalties add up quickly.
Under the proposed bill, first-time offenders would be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. Second-time or subsequent violators would be guilty of a Class 4 felony, with every day that a violation continues constituting a separate offense.
Anti-hoarding laws should protect animals. Under the state’s Humane Care for Animals Act, it is currently defined as someone who has a “large number” of animals for which they do not/cannot provide proper care such as keeping the animals in a severely overcrowded environment or in conditions that adversely affect the animals’ and/or owner’s health and well being.
Should someone who takes good care of their pets be labeled a “hoarder” simply because their numbers add up to seven? I certainly hope not!
So, how many “companion animals” do you have? And do you think there should be a limit if you can take care of them?