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Governor Signs Law Establishing Humane Guidelines for Dog Tethering

Governor Pat Quinn Saturday signed a new law to help ensure that all dogs in Illinois are treated humanely when tethered outside. The Governor says the law is part of his  commitment to protect pets and ensure that all animals in Illinois are treated ethically and responsibly.


“One of the joys and privileges of being a dog owner is the unconditional love and comfort these animals bring to our lives,” Governor Quinn said. “As any pet owner knows, dogs become part of our families. This new law will crack down on the mistreatment of animals in Illinois and make sure our pets receive the same love and care they give us.”


Sponsored by State Representative Dan Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), House Bill 83 adds comprehensive requirements to the Humane Care for Animals Act for lawfully tethering a dog. If a person is found violating these restrictions, they may face up to six months in prison.

In order to lawfully tether a dog at a residence or business, an owner must protect their dog by making sure it is not tethered in a manner that will allow it to reach within the property of another person, a public walkway or a road, The animal must also be tethered in a manner that will prevent it from becoming entangled with other tethered dogs.

The leash used to tether a dog must be at least 10 feet long, when rounded to the nearest whole foot, and must not exceed one-eighth of the dog’s body weight. A person must also make sure the dog does not suffer from a condition that is known by the owner to be exacerbated by tethering, and they are prohibited from tethering their dog with tow or log chains.

The new law also clarifies that individuals will be subject to up to six months of imprisonment if they fail to provide sufficient food and water, adequate shelter, veterinary care, and humane care and treatment. A second violation will lead to up to three years in prison.

The law is effective Jan. 1.

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