On January 1,2016, a new Illinois law was passed to require what is necessary if a rescue, shelter or veterinary clinic holds a stray animal. We also confirmed this information with Dr. Mark Ernst, State Veterinarian.
The law is Animal Welfare Section (225 ILCS 605/3.6) of the Illinois State Statutes.
Sec. 3.6. Acceptance of stray dogs and cats.
(a) No animal shelter may accept a stray dog or cat unless the animal is reported by the shelter to the animal control or law enforcement of the county in which the animal is found by the next business day. An animal shelter may accept animals from: (1) the owner of the animal where the owner signs a relinquishment form which states he or she is the owner of the animal; (2) an animal shelter licensed under this Act; or (3) an out-of-state animal control facility, rescue group, or animal shelter that is duly licensed in their state or is a not-for-profit organization.
(b) When stray dogs and cats are accepted by an animal shelter, they must be scanned for the presence of a microchip and examined for other currently-acceptable methods of identification, including, but not limited to, identification tags, tattoos, and rabies license tags. The examination for identification shall be done within 24 hours after the intake of each dog or cat. The animal shelter shall notify the owner and transfer any dog with an identified owner to the animal control or law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which it was found or the local animal control agency for redemption.
Definition of animal shelter:
“Animal shelter” means a facility operated, owned, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other non-profit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. “Animal shelter” also means any veterinary hospital or clinic operated by a veterinarian or veterinarians licensed under the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 which operates for the above mentioned purpose in addition to its customary purposes.
While we understand the reasoning for this law, it still creates a maze of holding facilities for an owner to find his/her lost dog. For example: If I lost my dog in Chicago. I would first check City of Chicago Animal Care and Control to see if my dog has been taken there but then I find out my dog could have been taken Animal Welfare League (there are two of them), Animal Care League, Paws Chicago, even some rescues,vet clinics and police dept. hold dogs.
Our solution is to use Helping Lost Pets, a centralized database that Lost Dogs Illinois partners with. www.HelpingLostPets.com/ORG . We recommend having a common login account that all of your staff share, allowing any of your staff to access private contact information for pet owners.