Illinois state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee)
Illinois state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) has proposed legislation that would pave the way for abused cats and dogs to have legal representation.
“You have abusers of animals that effectively get off with little to no punishment,” Skillicorn recently told The Center Square. “No one’s really looking out for animals that could be physically abused.”
Skillicorn’s bill would change that, calling for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to launch a county-by-county database of legal professionals, including attorneys, paralegals and other experts on animal abuse, willing to step in on a dog or cat’s behalf when a person is facing charges of having neglected or abused them. Skillicorn says the most common forms of animal abuse involve leaving one out in the cold or extreme heat.
“Think of short-coated dogs, like chihuahuas, that are left out in the cold in the wintertime,” he said.
In its current form, the bill is limited to dogs and cats, and it has bipartisan support.
Presently organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society offer pro bono legal aid upholding the interests of animals.