2016 Illinois Cities With Pit Bull Problems That Won't or Can't Implement BSL

In 2003, Illinois pit bull advocates got a statewide ban on breed specific legislation passed.  Because Illinois has a strong home rule rights, larger cities and most counties are home rule municipalities by default.  And any town that passes a referendum can become a home rule municipality.  Having home rule powers means that a municipality can pass local ordinances unless the state "expressly" exercises "exclusive" statewide control.  Animal control has always been considered a local issue and, in reality, any home rule municipality that passed BSL would be able to enforce it.

As recently as 2013, in a ruling that further strengthens home rule rights, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that, "Ordinances enacted by home rule municipalities trump state statutes unless the state expressly exercises exclusive control..."

Best Friends Animal Society is quick to falsely inform municipalities that BSL is illegal under state law and subtly let them know they'd support lawsuits against the city.  Most cities crumble under these threats, but in reality, a home rule municipality would be highly likely to prevail over any legal challenge to their home rule rights in the matter of animal control.

There are a few cities in Illinois that have legal, enforceable BSL on the books because they are home rule cities.  However, many of these cities have abandoned their safety ordinances after they receive letters from BFAS. Read the article below about Lincolnwood to see an example of the letters BFAS sends to cities when the issue of breed safety laws is put on the table.

Most of the cities in the news reports below have had terrible pit bull problems.  Some are searching for solutions, but none were willing to implement or enforce BSL in order to keep their residents safe.  Also included in the list are articles about non-home-rule towns that want to pass breed specific legislation, but cannot because they have not petitioned to obtain home rule status.


Oct 12, 2016 Oak Brook - A resident wants a pit bull and rotweiler ban, but unfortunately, Oak Brook is not a home rule city and cannot implement BSL because of a statewide ban on breed specific legislation.

February 2016  Joliet - While city committee members were in the midst of reworking dangerous dog laws prompted by pit bull attacks, another pit bull attack on a little dog that did $3,512 worth of damage revealed that nothing the committee members were working on would have addressed that attack because the Joliet city committee members refused to regulate pit bulls and were intent on trying to address pit bull problems with breed neutral ordinances.  That never works. Joliet could implement pit bull regulation as a home rule city.

Feb 09, 2016 Not One Lincolnwood Resident Opposed Removing BSL After Pit Bull Attacks.  Linconwood, as a home rule city, could have prevailed against legal challenge. Follow link to see an example of a threatening letter from Best Friends Animal Society that is sent to towns with BSL.

May, 2013 Bloomington is trying to require liability insurance for dogs designated dangerous after a serious attack on two people by a pit bull breeder's pit bull.  This will not prevent attacks and the laws are completely meaningless after a serious attack.  Bloomington can legally implement BSL.