A former Will County Board member was recently found guilty of animal neglect after it was uncovered she locked two dogs in her trunk so she could go roller skating.
Kathleen Konicki was sentenced to six months of court supervision and fined $395 after a jury convicted her on the misdemeanor animal abuse charge.
The whole incident first began when a passerby heard barking noises coming from a vehicle parked in a lot near the Will County Forest Preserve. The concerned citizen phoned police, but when the officer arrived, the vehicle in question was gone. A similar report was phoned in the following night, and police quickly arrived on scene. A short while later, Konicki returned to her car and unlocked her trunk, revealing two small Chihuahuas.
“She indicated she did not want to leave [the dogs] at home because she was worried they could be stolen,” the officer detailed in his report. “She said the dogs knew how to push down on the back seat to get out of the trunk if they had to.”
It sounds as if Konicki, who is a self-proclaimed animal rights advocate, simply made a poor judgment call. After all, it seems much more likely that the dogs would run in to an ill fate locked in a dark trunk than in a locked house.
Miriam Szatrowski comments
The laws protecting animals can mostly be found in the Humane Care for Animals Act. This statute lays out the duties of owners of companion animals as well as outlawing cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. Companion animal (pet) owners are required to provide their pets with appropriate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. Section 7.1 specifically prohibits confining any animal in a motor vehicle if that confinement places the animal in danger.
In this case, the defendant was found guilty of a misdemeanor. However, Illinois does define certain acts of cruelty, such as more serious abuse charges, animal torture, and some dog fighting offenses, as felonies. Repeated violations of the law can also result in felony charges.
Related source: The Herald-News