But when Animal Welfare needs to punish a licensee who is out of compliance with state law, regardless of the seriousness of the infraction, they only had two options: 1) revoke the license or 2) suspend the license. So the only punishment available to the Bureau is shutting down the facility -- the licensing equivalent of the death penalty.
As a result, neither option is even considered except in the most egregeous cases and as a result only three of the 3,282 cases (.09%) went to revocation or suspension hearings.
And no licenses were revoked or suspended.
State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) believes this situation calls for a smaller, but more frequently used, stick:
[Bellock] is sponsoring a bill that would give the Department of Agriculture disciplinary options less severe than closing down a facility but strong enough to prompt compliance.Congratulations to Rep. Bellcock for sponsoring what appears to be some fine, common sense legislation.
Under the legislation, the department could fine licensees $200 for their first violation, $500 for a second violation within three years and $1,000 for a third violation and mandatory probation.
Bellock said she wrote the legislation after consulting the Department of Agriculture. Squibb said the department has not taken a formal position on the legislation, but said it was "viewed favorably."
"The more tools we have to do our job, the better," he said.