SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, recently passed a bill that protects dog owners from housing discrimination based on the breed of dog they own. Breed-based discrimination by can lead to higher prices and even to difficulty in finding affordable housing based on outdated and biased beliefs about what breeds are “dangerous.”
“Nobody should have to choose between being able to afford shelter and having to give up a treasured family pet,” Mayfield said. “The idea that certain breeds are inherently dangerous has been debunked for some time and it is time for both public policy and the practices of insurance companies to conform to reality.”
Mayfield’s House Bill 1049—which passed both House and Senate with bipartisan majorities and now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature—prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or charging exorbitant rates because of the breed of a tenant or homeowner’s dog.
It would remain permissible for insurers to deny or alter coverage based on whether there is evidence that a specific dog poses a provable risk.
“Our dogs are members of our family, not mere possessions to be disposed of because a bean counter doesn’t like them,” Mayfield said. “Making housing more expensive and harder to find for superficial reasons not only doesn’t help anyone, it makes a lot of people worse off. It’s time for a change.”