I just received the e-mail below, and I thought I would share it with those of you who have concerns about the possession of "dangerous" dogs by gang members and other criminals.

The entire animal-loving community is extremely grateful to Rep. Jerry Mitchell and Sen. William Haine for sponsoring a very important public and animal safety bill that will prevent dogs from being used as weapons. The innovative law took effect January 1, 2007. Join the ASPCA in saying thank you!

Gang members, who are often legally prohibited from owning armed weapons, frequently use dogs as weapons to intimidate community members. This novel law was developed as a solution to protect the public from dangerous dogs and ensures that dogs aren't unnecessarily put down. It takes the dog's best interest to heart. Sign the "Thank You" petition here: http://go.care2.com/e/R4QZ/dSel/tT_i

Public Act 94-0818 will make it a misdemeanor for a person convicted of a felony to own, possess, have custody of, or reside with an un-neutered dog older than 12 weeks of age, or any dog deemed "vicious" under the Illinois Animal Control Act.

"Dogs are wonderful companions and great protectors in many situations," stated State Representative Jerry Mitchell. "They were never meant to be used as a weapon to protect or defend illegal activities."