An amendment to the state’s Humane Care for Animals Act is drawing interest from a local animal rights group.
Senate Bill 1532, sponsored by state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Champaign, would allow for criminal charges to be filed against a person who knowingly makes false complaints about animal neglect to the Illinois Agriculture Department with the intent to harass.
The bill was sent to the Senate Criminal Law Committee, chaired by state Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, who has scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. Wednesday in Springfield.
Janet Enoch, a humane investigator with Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, based in Geneva, said she plans to testify against it because it seems to discourage animal care complaints.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Enoch said of the proposed amendment. “It’s garbage.”
The department did not seek the bill, Rose said, but he sponsored the bill because of a situation where a couple running a no-kill shelter repeatedly reported being harassed by false claims that it was mistreating its animals. The victims are expected to testify, he said, because there is no mechanism in the law to take action to stop the harassment.
Animal rescue groups should not see the amendment as working against their mission, Rose said, because it requires that the complaint be false and made for the purpose of harassment.
“When the Department of Agriculture is sent out on wild goose chases – pun intended – they are not out taking care of serious complaints,” Rose said.