Serious animal abusers who kill a pet could soon face more serious charges and punishment, due to legislation filed by State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield).
“Illinois law treats a criminal who abuses and kills someone’s pet the same as someone who commits a second retail theft,” said McClure. “If someone walks into a public bar and slaps another person without their permission, it is the same level of crime as when someone takes another’s pet, violently tortures it for hours, and then kills it,” said McClure.
Under current law, aggravated abuse of a companion animal or pet is a Class 4 felony. Senator McClure’s legislation, SB2995, would make the offense a more serious Class 2 felony if the abuse leads to the death of the pet. A second or subsequent offense would be an even more serious Class 1 felony. The legislation would not include cases of self-defense or instances where a pet is euthanized.
“When I was an assistant state’s attorney, I prosecuted several terrible animal abuse cases. Many serial killers start off by torturing and then killing defenseless pets,” said Senator McClure. “We need to take the abuse and killing of pets seriously to not only protect them, but also to protect the public from people who may commit more horrific offenses on people in the future.”
Senator McClure noted the large number of recent cases of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect as signs that more action needs to be taken. “This legislation should put animal abusers on notice. If you murder a pet, you will be punished,” said Senator McClure. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bipartisan legislation into law.”