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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.

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