protects Good Samaritan animal rescuers
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[August 21, 2008]
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, Gov.
Rod R. Blagojevich signed a bill into law that protects individuals
who assist animals during emergencies.
House Bill 5076 provides immunity from civil liability to any
person, including a licensed veterinarian, who in good faith and
without fee provides emergency care or treatment to an injured
animal or an animal separated from its owner due to an emergency or
The legislation passed unanimously in the Illinois House (110-0-0)
and Senate (55-0-0) and was sponsored by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz
and state Sen. John Cullerton.
"This new law allows kind-hearted
individuals to offer assistance to animals during emergency
situations without fear of retribution," Blagojevich said.
"Disasters can happen at any time, and good people should not be in
fear of punishment for offering their help in a time of need."
The new law does not apply if the person's actions involve
willful or wanton misconduct. The law also provides that any civil
lawsuit as a result of a violation of this act must be brought
within two years of the violation.
"The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, for example, was made worse by
the fact that many individuals did not feel comfortable rendering
aid to animals in the aftermath, for fear of facing legal action,"
said Feigenholtz. "This new law gives that protection to people here
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According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, 18 other states already have Good Samaritan provisions that
protect individuals who rescue or help animals during emergencies or
"Numerous other states have similar provisions in place, and I am
pleased to see Gov. Blagojevich sign this bill into law, protecting
Illinoisans from retribution for helping animals during times of
emergency," said Cullerton.
"We are very supportive of this legislation, particularly because
it points out that licensed veterinarians can help during emergency
situations," said Robyn Barbiers, a veterinarian and president of
The Anti-Cruelty Society, based in Chicago. "We are pleased to see
this bill become law."
House Bill 5076 takes effect immediately.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]