A new law sponsored by an Illinois state senator will hold pet owners responsible for their pooch's behavior.
The law, known as the "Justice for Buddy Act" and introduced by Senator Laura Murphy, deals with situations in which a dog who has already proven itself to be dangerous are repeatedly found off-leash. If that happens, the dog owner will be found to have acted in a reckless matter and can have their dog taken away.
The legislation was born out of a 2017 attack in Hanover Park where a 10-year-old Yorkie named Buddy was killed by a neighbor's dog.
Being a pet owner comes with a lot of responsibilities and requires time to ensure the dog is properly trained and socialized.
"I spend at least another two to three hours of my day focused on just him alongside my other responsibilities. It's almost like having a kid," said pet parent Megan Jennings Quist.
Unfortunately not all dog owners are as dedicated. The Justice for Buddy Act, which went into effect Tuesday, defines a so-called "reckless dog owner" as someone whose dog has been deemed dangerous for killing another dog and is found running at large twice within 12 months of being deemed dangerous.
If authorities find someone is a reckless dog owner, their dogs would be forfeited to a licensed shelter, rescue or sanctuary. Efforts will be made to re-home the dog after it's independently evaluated and determined to be safe. Additionally, a reckless dog owner who's found guilty would be prohibited from owning a dog for up to three years.
"I think it's great to put the responsibility on the owner rather than on the dog 'cause dogs are the result of their training and who their owners are," Jennings Quist said.
Taylor Maccoux, another dog owner, supports the idea of the law but was concerned about the potential for overreach, especially in the city where dog owners often seek out spaces where their dogs can be off-leash for a short while.
"It's not saying that anytime your dog is off-leash in a non-designated area that this is what's going to affect you. I think that's what's important," she said.