Quad Cities (KWQC) - A new bill is in the works of making animal cruelty a federal crime.
Both chambers of Congress have passed a bill that would make the torture of animals punishable by fines and even jail time.
It’s now awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.
TV6 spoke to a local organization who held a Pancakes for Pitties breakfast on Sunday to raise money for animals who’ve been abused.
The organization AAVENGE, Animal Abuse and Violence Ends Now Through Greater Enforcement, said even if the bill goes into effect it’s up to the community, law enforcement and animal control to help enforce it.
“Illinois has some of the best animal welfare laws in the states, but often times dogs are still fought and still abused, they are still neglected, they are tied up out in the cold and nothing is done,” said Cindy VanLandegen, AAVENGE Founder.
VanLandegen said a law is only as good as it is enforced.
That’s why she held a pancake breakfast to raise money for animals who have been abused.
“We have helped dogs that have been the victims of dog fighting who have bet bills,” said VanLandegen. “They’ll have broken limbs, puncture wounds and concussions. They’ll have all sorts of various things that need attention.”
VanLandegen said AAVENGE has raised up to $18,000 over the past 10 years with this one event.
“It’s a large amount of money. We’ve helped dogs across the country --- all over the place — not just here locally,” she said.
VanLandegen said AAVENGE helps all dogs, not just pitbulls.
“Pitbulls pretty much are the dog of choice for dog fighting because they are very tenacious, have a very high pain threshold and they really want to please their masters,” she said. “Unfortunately they are the largest majority of dogs that are fought, but any dog can be fought, not just pitbulls.”
She said their reputation is not deserved.
“Pitbulls get a bad reputation because bad people do bad things to them,” said VanLandegen.
She said those people who abuse dogs could even simply be the owners that leave their dogs outside in extreme weather conditions.
“I always say you need to treat your dog the way that you would want to be treated,” said VanLandegen. “One of our biggest concerns right now is we are going into cold weather. In the state of Illinois it is illegal to leave your dog outside chained up in extreme temperatures of heat or cold. Especially this time of year we say to bring them in.”
VanLandegen said it’s important that if you see an animal left outside in the extreme cold, you call law enforcement or animal control.
AAVENGE is retiring its annual Pancakes for Pitties breakfast after this year.
VanLandegen said the nonprofit has raised thousands of dollars and will continue to explore other ways of fundraising.