This past spring Elgin, Illinois narrowly avoided a breed discriminatory ordinance and instead adopted a breed neutral animal control ordinance. City officials believe they made the right decision.
Complaints involving dogs are down and citations issued by police are up. Meaning owners are more aware of their responsibilities regarding dogs and police understand the importance of holding negligent owners responsible for violations to help avoid a serious injury in the future.
The new ordinance went into effect June 1, 2010 and from then until Sept. 2, Elgin police reported 638 calls involving dogs and for which 166 tickets were issued for violations. Last year from June 1-September 2, there were 769 dog-related calls and only 28 resulted in tickets for violations.
The city is considering adding community service as a penalty in lieu of fines which are difficult for many people to pay.
Here are some highlights of the new law: Owners of dogs declared dangerous or vicious must obtain a 3 year $100 license, keep the registration and rabies shot tag on the dog at all times, along with proof of spay/neuter and micro-chipping. These dogs must be kept within an enclosure with a 6-foot-tall locked fence. The owner of a dangerous dog must have $100,000 in liability insurance, and an owner of a vicious dog $500,000 in liability insurance.
The ordinance requires that dangerous dogs on public property must be muzzled and on a short leash under the control of anÂ adult 18 years or older. A vicious dog is not allowed on public property at all. Go here for a complete copy of the new ordinance.
Dog-related police calls since June 1
- Unlawful treatment/cruelty to animals: 3
- Injury to or killing domestic animals while driving: 2
- Failure to register and license dangerous/vicious dog: 1
- Failure to inoculate against rabies: 19
- No collar and tags: 37
- Dog at large: 58
- Biting and attacking: 18
- Disturbing the peace: 2
- Dangerous behavior: 17
- Vicious behavior: 6
- "Dangerous dog" designation: 2
- Failure to tether: 1
- Total number of dog-related calls: 638
Tickets issued: 166
SOURCE: Elgin Police Department
Visit Animal Law Coalition’s BSL Watch: Find out where breed discrimination is happening and what you can do to help stop it.