500 signatures reached
To: Pamela Harmon, Illinois Department of Agriculture
Eliminate burdensome requirements for Illinois foster programs
Did you know that some of the most valuable lifesaving work isn’t happening at shelters and rescue organizations? It’s happening in homes. We’re talking about the important foster work done by volunteers every time they open their homes to a dog or cat from a shelter.
But proposed changes to Illinois’ Animal Welfare Act regulations could make fostering too costly for shelters and burdensome to foster care homes. That’s why we’re calling on the Department of Agriculture to make these adjustments to the proposed rule changes to the administrative code [25.1.40]:
* Section 2 requires foster homes to register with their county of residence. However, the local animal shelter owns the dog or cat until adoption occurs. Therefore, registration should be in the county where the shelter is located.
* Section 3 requires Daily Exercise Logs. It is hard enough to find foster homes for dogs and cats but expecting foster homes to keep a daily log of exercise for each dog, cat, puppy, or kitten would be extremely difficult. It would also be problematic for shelters to keep a daily exercise log for cats and kittens and would require more staffing on the part of the animal shelter, resulting in a cost to taxpayers.
* Section 4 would require fosters to have a working relationship with a veterinarian. The foster should work with the shelter’s veterinarian -- not their personal vet. This section could force volunteers to take their foster dogs and cats to their personal veterinarian, which would add additional expenses that would have to be paid by the animal shelter and would be costly to taxpayers.
Why is this important?
In July 2021, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) published proposed amendments to the state’s Animal Welfare Act. The proposed amendments provide many positive improvements for dogs and cats in Illinois. However, some of the well-meaning amendments would make it difficult for shelters to maintain their foster programs.
Shelters, like so many places, are under strain. With pandemic restrictions being reduced or eliminated, many people are traveling or returning to work. That means fostering and adoptions are returning to pre-pandemic levels. We need the state to find the right balance of making fostering less difficult for animal shelters and their volunteers while maintaining a safe environment for the dogs and cats.
Help make it better for animal shelters to implement lifesaving foster programs. The deadline for submitting comments is August 30, so please sign and share the petition today.