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To: Illinois State Legislators

Stop insurance companies from discriminating against people of color and the pets they love

We want the state of Illinois to stop breed-discriminatory homeowners insurance restrictions for pet dogs and to stop state-subsidized housing from banning pets based solely on their breed or size.

We believe that refusing to cover, canceling, or charging higher premiums for entire dog breeds is based on an outdated (and ineffective) approach to enhancing public safety. Prohibiting pets from housing because of their breed or the race/ethnicity of their owner separates families. These practices create long-lasting emotional trauma for people of color, lead to more dogs languishing in animal shelters, and waste taxpayer dollars.

Sign and share this petition to support an end to arbitrary and discriminatory breed restrictions.

Why is this important?

The vast majority of insurance companies use dog breed as a factor in determining whether to issue a homeowners insurance policy. Breed lists used by many companies are comprised of large dogs that are considered — without proof — to be more aggressive than other dogs based solely on their breed or appearance. To make matters worse, those living in ZIP codes commonly associated with people of color are more likely to be denied insurance if they live with a large-breed dog.

Homeowners insurance exclusions, like the discriminatory practice of redlining, deny people of color and their pets fair access to the privileges and protections other American homeowners enjoy.

Senate Bill 1672 has been introduced to stop breed-based insurance discrimination in Illinois. What passing Illinois Senate Bill 1672 will accomplish:

(1) It closes a loophole that allows unscrupulous insurers to circumvent longstanding anti-discriminatory legislation like the FHA

(2) It removes barriers to Black and Brown homeownership (because some might not be able to purchase a home if they have the 'wrong' dog) and hence encourages upward economic mobility

(3) It allows Black and Brown families equitable opportunities for pet ownership, which is arguably not only part of the American dream, but also important to the mental well-being of pet owners

Although insurance companies may claim that these restrictions are based on risk, scholars have argued that focusing on the breed of a person's dog can enable companies to engage in discrimination based on race (due to preconceived notions of who often owns restricted breeds)

The focus should always be put on the behavior of the dog and the behavior of the owner instead. Arbitrary breed restrictions prevent otherwise responsible dog owners from acquiring adequate homeowners/renters insurance and forces many to give up their beloved dog companions before moving into state-subsidized housing.

Breed restrictions also prevent well-mannered dogs from being adopted and infringe on a family's right to choose the best dog for them.

Research on breed and behavior:

* Researchers at Tufts University concluded that factors associated with actions of the owner —like the absence of an able-bodied person to intervene — are the primary cause of dog bite-related fatalities while the breed is not a factor.

* A recent study asked 16 animal shelter workers to guess the breed of 120 dogs. While the shelter staff collectively identified 52% of the dogs as pit bull-type dogs, DNA tests proved that only 21% had any pit bull mix in them.

* A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior compared aggression between banned dog breeds and a control group of golden retrievers using temperament tests. Comparing the results of golden retrievers and breeds affected by breed discriminatory legislation, no significant difference was found. The researchers concluded that "A scientific basis for breed-specific lists does not exist."
Illinois, USA

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2021-06-11 14:48:31 -0500

Update June 11: Thanks to the support of advocates like you, the Illinois state legislature recently passed SB 154 that if signed into law will help keep pets and families together by requiring housing providers who receive funds from the Affordable Housing Act Trust Fund to allow tenants to have at least two cats or one dog that weighs less than 50 pounds.

SB 154 still needs to be signed into law. Will you send a message to Governor J.B. Pritzker, telling him that having a certain type of dog should not prevent otherwise responsible consumers from finding and keeping affordable homeowners or renters insurance for their families?

2021-03-17 20:03:40 -0500

500 signatures reached

2021-03-11 12:35:55 -0600

100 signatures reached

2021-03-10 20:58:08 -0600

50 signatures reached

2021-03-10 19:19:39 -0600

25 signatures reached

2021-03-10 18:39:12 -0600

10 signatures reached