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Humane law helps dogs

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois is cracking down on animal cruelty. There's a new law to make sure dogs are treated humanely when tied up outside.
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois is cracking down on animal cruelty. There's a new law to make sure dogs are treated humanely when tied up outside. WCIA-3's Alexandrea Davis tell us more.

This law calls for prison time for people who neglect and abuse their animals and it targets how people tie up and treat their dogs. If you think it's hot when you step outdoors. Think about how a dog tethered outside to a tree might feel.

"Tethering is leaving an animal for long periods of time," said Jane McBride of Illinois Humane.

Their lack of freedom to roam goes against their nature. It's something that sickens McBride. She says putting a dog outside for hours at a time, on a short or heavy chain is abusive.

"It doesn't release the energy, in fact it concentrates that energy into that animal and it's a very bad state of mind and physical situation for that animal," said McBride.

But a new law could help ensure dogs in Illinois are treated humanely. That law requires pet owners to use a leash at least 10 feet long when tethering a dog.

Anyone found guilty of mistreating an animal could be subject to six months in prison for their first offense. Doctor Martha Armour with Capitol Illini Veterinarian Services says it could help crack down on negligence.

"When somebody takes the responsibility to own a dog or a cat, puppy or kitten, I think that it holds the same responsibility as taking care of a child," said Dr. Armour.

The law also says people must provide sufficient food, water, shelter and vet care for their pets. If an animal doesn't get that care, a second violation could lead to up to three years in prison.

"That animal relies solely on their owner for food, shelter, water and tender loving care," said Dr. Armour.

The law takes effect January 1, 2014.
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