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Local

Starting Jan.1, cats must be vaccinated for rabies

Fees set in Lee, Ogle, Whiteside counties

DIXON – The Lee County Board set cat vaccination fees to prepare for a new state law requiring feline rabies shots starting Jan. 1.

In August, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 131 requiring cats 4 months or older to get a rabies vaccine, but it doesn’t include feral cats unless they are being spayed or neutered.

The law requires counties to set vaccination and registration fees for cats. The Whiteside County Board approved initial fees in 2018 and raised them in October. The Ogle County Board set fees in September.

There is no treatment for unvaccinated animals once they’ve been exposed to rabies, and if an animal comes in contact with one suspected of having rabies, the pet must be quarantined for 6 months, at the owner’s considerable expense.

If the owner cannot afford to quarantine the animal, the only other option is to euthanize it.

Lee County fees for a 1-year vaccination will be $12 for spayed or neutered cats or $24 for those that aren’t. The 3-year vaccination would cost $25 and $50, respectively.

In Whiteside County, 1-year registration for a spayed or neutered cat is $10; it is $20 for unaltered cats. For 3-year registration and vaccinations, the cost is $20 for an altered cat and $50 for an unaltered cat.

In Ogle County, a 1-year tag and vaccination fee for spayed or neutered cats younger than 9 months is $12. There’s a $5 discount for cats that are microchipped. A 3-year tag and vaccination will cost $30. Cats that are microchipped are eligible for $15 discount for a 3-year tag.

A 1-year tag with 1-year vaccination for cats older than 9 months is $24. Microchipped cats are eligible for a $5 discount. A 3-year tag and vaccination will cost $70, but owners of microchipped cats are eligible for a $15 discount.

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