Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (Illinois)
Courtroom Animal Advocates (SB 153)
The Illinois Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) bill (SB 153) would provide for a volunteer attorney to advocate for cat and dog victims in cruelty cases.
Likely to be reintroduced in 2022
The Illinois Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) bill (SB 153) would provide for a volunteer attorney to advocate for cat and dog victims in cruelty cases. These court-appointed advocates may monitor the case, attend hearings, consult with individuals with information related to the well-being of the animal, review relevant records, and present information or recommendations to the court. The advocate’s sole duty would be to represent the interests of justice regarding the abused or neglected cat or dog.
Far too frequently, the perpetrators of even the most egregious acts of animal cruelty are not held accountable. Considering the strong link between violence against animals and violence against humans, ignoring animal cruelty endangers animals and humans alike. Connecticut became the first state to enact a CAAP law, also known as Desmond’s Law, in 2016. Connecticut’s CAPP law gives abused animal a greater chance of receiving justice.
The reality is that prosecutors and law enforcement officials often lack the resources and expertise necessary to address crimes against animals. Considering these cases are oftentimes unusually complex — involving victims who can’t speak for themselves and complicated forensic issues — CAAP laws fill a gap in the justice system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund provides free legal assistance to advocates operating under a CAAP law, just as it does for prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, and veterinarians handling animal cruelty cases.
SB 153 is sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes (D-42) and Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-6).
Learn more about CAAP laws.