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Local

Vicious dog bill heads to governor’s desk

SPRINGFIELD – A bill to keep vicious dogs out of the hands of convicted felons passed out of the Illinois Senate and now awaits Gov. Pat Quinn’s approval.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Mike Boland, D-Moline, expands an existing law by prohibiting some felons from owning an unsterilized dog for 10 years after being released from prison.

It also prohibits these felons from ever owning a dog that has been legally declared vicious.

Felony violations that fall under this legislation include methamphetamine sale or production, marijuana sale or production, other drug sale or production, deadly weapons offenses and dogfighting offenses.

“My district has seen the tragic consequences of vicious dogs in our community through the death of a young girl named Lydia Chaplin a few years ago,” Boland said in a news release. “We need to make sure such an event never happens again.

Chaplin, 14, was walking alone in January 2005 when she was attacked by four dogs near her home outside Erie.

The dogs, which belonged to a neighbor, left her badly injured; she died in a ditch of hypothermia.

“We also need to eliminate dogfighting, not only because it is harmful to dogs, but also because it endangers our communities through the many illegal activities that accompany it.”

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