MOUNT CARROLL – Pet owners in the city now have clearer rules for their furry friends.
The council voted April 11 to repeal the previous dog and animal ordinances, replacing them with one ordinance.
Alderman Joe Grim has said that officials want to simplify the code. “It’s only been updated a few times since it was first written.”
Portions of the previous animal ordinance dated back to 1856.
The new ordinance limits the number of dogs and cats an owner can have. The vote set the maximum number per household at four dogs or four cats, or a mix thereof, up to five.
As long as a household has five or fewer dogs and cats, the owner is not considered to be maintaining a kennel. Previously, the limit for a kennel’s definition was four or fewer dogs, cats, or a mix thereof.
Newborn litters are exempt from this rule until they’re 16 weeks old. The previous limit was 10 weeks. Exceptions can be made if a licensed veterinarian deems separation from the mother would be detrimental to the pups’ or kittens’ health. The kennel limitation doesn’t apply to political subdivisions, such as the city, or animal shelters maintained by a humane society, animal welfare group, or licensed veterinarian.
The ordinance also adds a section on animal housing within the city limits. Such housing must be kept clean and wholesome. Livestock, among them rabbits, chickens or other fowl, cattle, horses, mules, swine, sheep, and goats, cannot be kept or raised in the city limits if they are considered a public nuisance.
Aldermen Doug Bergren and Jim Rose voted against the changes. Bergren said, “The ordinance made the exception that kennels for political entities were exempted.”
Rose said he voted no because of a new section on animal noise disturbing the peace. The previous ordinances did not penalize owners when dogs barked.
“It’s a natural thing for a dog to bark,” Rose said, adding that he doesn’t think dog owners should be punished if dogs bark.
Fines for violating the ordinance can range from $50 to $750. If a dog runs at large, the first-offense fine is $50, with $75 for a second incident, and no more than $250 for a third time.
Police Chief Fred Cass also updated the council on the condition of Scout, the city’s K-9 officer. The German shepherd underwent surgery March 28 in Madison, Wisconsin, to shave a leg bone to help with a limp he’d developed. The cost was $2,504.25.
“He’s still got a pronounced limp, but the vet thought the surgery was a success. He’s still 100 miles per hour. I would guess, based on how he’s acting, he’s more comfortable,” Cass said.
Stitches were removed on April 10, and Scout will return to Madison at the end of the month for a review.
Len Anderson, a Mount Carroll resident who’s been collecting donations to help defray the cost of the surgery, presented the council with another $680, bringing the total of donations to $1,205.
Donations still are sought. Checks can be made out to to K-9 donation or City K-9 and sent to Anderson, 116 W. Market St., Mount Carroll, IL 61052.
The City Council will next meet at 7:30 p.m. April 25 at City Hall, 302 N. Main St.
Visit mtcarrollil.org or call City Hall at 815-244-4424 for more information, including an agenda.