Fire Safety Law for Pets Passes Illinois House


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I thought every state had fire safety laws to mandate some type of alarm systems to protect pets in boarding and kenneling facilities, as there are laws to protect children in day care centers and schools. I was wrong regarding fire protection laws for pets.

Now, in Illinois, we’re halfway there to creating such a law so pets are protected. House Bill 3390 passed the Illinois House of Representatives (by a 95 to 16 vote after unanimously passing committee), and now on to the Illinois Senate.

I first began to think about this after a January fire killed  over 30 dogs in West Chicago (Bully Life Animal Services or formerly D and D Kennels). I quickly realized these sorts of fires are not isolated events – animals die in fires far too often around the country. It’s because there’s no human there to contact emergency responders, there are no alarms ringing directly to fire departments and no sprinklers. HB 3390 says there must be a human, or fire alarms connected to emergency service or sprinklers. At least one of those three.

I contacted Mac Ayers, Illinois Director of the Humane Society of the United States, and he crafted a fire safety for pets bill which was tweaked and supported by Illinois State Representative Diane Pappas (D-45thdistrict) with co-sponsor Allen Skillicorn (R-66th district).  Animal lover, Representative Sara Feigenholtz (12th district) also worked her magic behind-the-scenes. But this bill didn’t really require all that much magic. The thinking by many was, don’t we already have these protections in place? When learning that we don’t, it makes common sense to do so. Not only is this obviously a humane bill, it also supports fire fighter safety.

Experts agree with fire safety in place, which the law would require, animal lives would be saved.

Right now, the only issue is tight timing to insure the bill gets to the Senate in time so members can vote on it.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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