In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, the Northwest Herald newspaper will not be published May 28. Breaking news and information will be updated on

McHenry approves ordinance on dogs

City Council sets pet limit at three

McHENRY – Fido will be allowed only two roommates.

The McHenry City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that limits the number of dogs residents can own to three at its meeting Monday evening. Residents currently with more than three dogs will be grandfathered in for those particular animals.

Staff recommended limiting the number of dogs over concerns of health, cleanliness and animals with a “pack mentality,” Deputy City Administrator Doug Martin said.

The city receives many calls asking whether there is a pet limit, and about 25 dog complaints are filed each year, Martin said. Most of the complaints deal with barking, dogs running at large and the failure of owners to pick up dog waste.

Algonquin and Lake in the Hills limit the total number of domestic animals to four. Woodstock and Crystal Lake do not have limits.

Staff and the Community Development Committee had also considered limiting the number of cats, but that would have been virtually impossible to regulate, Martin said.

Unlike cats, dogs four months and older are registered with the McHenry County Department of Health.

Shelters and foster homes do not register their dogs through the county. Instead, they are registered through the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which limits the number of animals they can house to four.

That eliminates a concern raised by Alderman Bob Peterson about whether the ordinance would affect rescue dogs.

Despite the unanimous vote, several aldermen raised concerns.

Alderman Geoffrey Blake questioned whether the ordinance could end up punishing the “good pet owners.”

Alderwoman Geri Condon said she felt a little uncomfortable with the limitation but noted the ordinance excludes residents currently with more than three dogs and puppies younger than four months.

“With any new ordinance, we’re trying to do the right thing, and if there becomes a problem with this, we can always re-evaluate,” Condon said.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.