Cary works toward stricter animal control

CARY – Village Board members today will begin reviewing changes aimed at encouraging responsible pet ownership in the wake of complaints about dog bites in the village.

"When compared to ordinances from other communities and the McHenry County Animal Control ordinance, it became evident that the village ordinance needed more specific detail as to the village's regulatory authority," according to a village memo to trustees.

In a pet safety forum in July, officials from the McHenry County Animal Control Department reminded residents that animals need to be trained and owners need to know their animals' temperaments.

Cary's ordinance lists minimum requirements for pets: having a sufficient quantity of food and water, proper protection from the weather, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and humane care and treatment.

The village proposes specifying that no person shall be cruel or abuse animals, or abandon an animal where it may "become a public charge or may suffer injury, hunger or exposure." Village staff also propose language that says animals cannot be kept in unclean or unsanitary environments.

Under proposed changes, owners also could be held liable if excessive barking or howling becomes an annoyance and discomfort to surrounding neighbors. And an animal that deposits excretory matter on another property or creates noxious or offensive odors, could be deemed a nuisance.

The proposed ordinance increases the minimum fine for violations to $75 from $50. The maximum fine will remain at $750.

The village also plans to add language in the county's animal control ordinance, including the need to register a dog with the county, make sure a dog has a rabies vaccine, and notify police whenever there is an animal bite.

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