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Health & Medical

New ordinances put teeth into animal safety in Whiteside County

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The Whiteside County Health Department recently updated its ordinances, putting more teeth into animal safety requirements.

“We had a huge amount of ordinances go into effect June 1,” said James Garcia, warden for Whiteside County Animal Control.

“Right now our biggest concern is extreme temperatures,” Garcia said. Updated ordinances state that if there is a local, state or national weather advisory such as a heat or chill advisory or a tornado or thunderstorm warning, all dogs must be brought inside, even outside dogs with a dog house. “A big one is animals in vehicles,” Garcia added. “Even with windows cracked an inch or two the temperature can get extremely high in vehicles. A 72-degree day can quickly move into the 90s.”

Animal safety ordinances are now also specific as to proper care for animal housing, including the amount of room required and type of shelter, since state statute is vague. Proper drainage is required as is room for proper exercise.

Breeders must now have a license in Whiteside County. “We wanted to have some way to monitor breeders to make sure they follow requirements for humane care, vet care and paperwork,” Garcia said.

Ordinance changes also address proper leashing, including length and swivel toggle. “No direct chains are allowed around the neck,” Garcia said.

A new habitual violation section includes a “three strikes you’re out” clause, Garcia said.  “With three violations  your animal can be removed and you can be barred from owning animals for  a certain period. It gives us tools we need to make sure everybody's taking care of their animals.” Fines vary from $50 to $500. Vaccination violation fines are $200 a day.

“The number one mission here is vaccination and registration for all dogs four months and older because it’s a public health risk for rabies control,” Garcia said. Registration can be done through a veterinarian or with Animal Control, by fax or email or by phone at 815-625-3507.

Whiteside County Animal Control: 1701 Industrial Park Rd : 815-625-3507 : https://www.whitesidehealth.org/departments/animal-control.html