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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 12: Crimes Regarding People-Animal Relations

Several laws in Illinois govern relations between people and their animals. In this segment of the criminal code, the crimes of sexual conduct with an animal and possession of vicious dogs by a felon are explained. It is a Class 4 felony in Illinois to knowingly engage in any sexual act with an animal or to knowingly allow an act of this nature to be performed on ones property. In addition, it is unlawful for some felons to have a vicious dog as a pet for a period of 10 years upon release from incarceration. However, this law applies only to a felon who committed a forcible felony, a crime in violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act, or certain drug possession infractions. All groups to whom this law applies are listed in this section of the Illinois criminal code.

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The text below comes from Article 12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Sec. 12-35. Sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-35)

(a) A person may not knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.

(b) A person may not knowingly cause, aid, or abet another person to engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.

(c) A person may not knowingly permit any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his or her charge or control.

(d) A person may not knowingly engage in, promote, aid, or abet any activity involving any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal for a commercial or recreational purpose.

(e) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class 4 felony. A person who violates this Section in the presence of a person under 18 years of age or causes the animal serious physical injury or death is guilty of a Class 3 felony.

(f) In addition to the penalty imposed in subsection (e), the court may order that the defendant do any of the following:

(1) Not harbor animals or reside in any household where animals are present for a reasonable period of time or permanently, if necessary.

(2) Relinquish and permanently forfeit all animals residing in the household to a recognized or duly organized animal shelter or humane society.

(3) Undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling at defendant's expense.

(4) Reimburse the animal shelter or humane society for any reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of the animal involved in the sexual conduct or sexual contact in addition to any animals relinquished to the animal shelter or humane society.

(g) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prohibit accepted animal husbandry practices or accepted veterinary medical practices by a licensed veterinarian or certified veterinary technician.

(h) If the court has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of this Section has occurred, the court may order the seizure of all animals involved in the alleged violation as a condition of bond of a person charged with a violation of this Section.

(i) In this Section:

"Animal" means every creature, either alive or dead, other than a human being.

"Sexual conduct" means any touching or fondling by a person, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs or anus of an animal or any transfer or transmission of semen by the person upon any part of the animal, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person.

"Sexual contact" means any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of a person and the sex organ, mouth, or anus of an animal, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of the person into the sex organ or anus of an animal, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the person. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual contact. (Source: P.A. 92-721, eff. 1-1-03.)

Sec. 12-36. Possession of unsterilized or vicious dogs by felons prohibited.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-36)

(a) For a period of 10 years commencing upon the release of a person from incarceration, it is unlawful for a person convicted of a forcible felony, a felony violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act, a felony violation of Section 26-5 of this Code, a felony violation of Article 24 of this Code, a felony violation of Class 3 or higher of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, a felony violation of Class 3 or higher of the Cannabis Control Act, or a felony violation of Class 2 or higher of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, to knowingly own, possess, have custody of, or reside in a residence with, either: (1) an unspayed or unneutered dog or puppy older than 12 weeks of age; or

(2) irrespective of whether the dog has been spayed or neutered, any dog that has been determined to be a vicious dog under Section 15 of the Animal Control Act.

(b) Any dog owned, possessed by, or in the custody of a person convicted of a felony, as described in subsection (a), must be microchipped for permanent identification. (c) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. (d) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this Section that the dog in question is neutered or spayed, or that the dog in question was neutered or spayed within 7 days of the defendant being charged with a violation of this Section. Medical records from, or the certificate of, a doctor of veterinary medicine licensed to practice in the State of Illinois who has personally examined or operated upon the dog, unambiguously indicating whether the dog in question has been spayed or neutered, shall be prima facie true and correct, and shall be sufficient evidence of whether the dog in question has been spayed or neutered. This subsection (d) is not applicable to any dog that has been determined to be a vicious dog under Section 15 of the Animal Control Act. (Source: P.A. 96-185, eff. 1-1-10.) 720 ILCS 5/Art. 12A

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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