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Cary police review pet control proposal

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CARY – The village’s Police Committee on Tuesday reviewed proposed changes to its animal control ordinance in the hope of promoting more responsible pet ownership.

The Village Board could vote on the ordinance next week after it is reviewed by residents who asked for changes in the wake of complaints about dog bites.

Peter Spizzirri, 57, was one of the residents to push for tools to help residents when they are victims of dog attacks. He said he likes the changes that are proposed and the work done by the village staff and police department.

“We’re not talking about a breed, we’re talking about responsible owners,” Spizzirri said. “All the dogs tend to be good dogs, if they’re well taken care of, if they’re loved, if they’re properly controlled so that they are not a nuisance to anybody.”

Police Chief Steven Casstevens said that after seeing the detail in the county’s pet ordinance, “I figured it was appropriate to have ours matching that.”

The village will not regulate any particular breed, Casstevens reiterated.

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 proposed ordinance lists minimum requirements for pets: sufficient food and water, proper protection from the weather, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and humane care and treatment. And it reiterates that county Animal Control declares whether an animal is dangerous.

The village proposes specifying that no person shall be cruel or abuse animals, abandon an animal where it may “become a public charge or may suffer injury, hunger or exposure” or keep animals in unclean or unsanitary environments.

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

From the county ordinance, Cary further calls for registering dogs with the county, making sure they have rabies vaccine and notifying police when there is an animal bite.

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

“We needed to do something to upgrade and update,” the village ordinance, Trustee Rick Dudek said. And although the proposal goes beyond what he originally expected and may seem like overkill, he said, “Perhaps that’s what we needed to do.”

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