TAILS magazine is very proud to be a part of Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s “Dog of Distinction” campaign. The goal of this program is to help increase city dog registration and raise awareness of the mandatory requirement, and Mendoza believes that the best way to accomplish that is through education.
There are many benefits to registering your dog beyond the fact that Chicago wants you to. Dog registration helps reunite owners with their pet should the dog stray away from home. Most dogs reunited with their owners were identified with tags or other identifying features, reinforcing the advantage for owners who register their dogs.
Dog registration also benefits the public health. All dogs registered with the city must have a current rabies vaccination. Additionally, in offering discounts to those with spayed or neutered dogs, pet registration offers an additional incentive to do so and ultimately helps control the pet population.
“We believe many people are simply not aware of the requirement to register your dog with the city,” says Clerk Mendoza. “Since taking office, I have said that we need to greatly increase our dog registration numbers. Chicagoan and civic leader Kathy Posner came to me with the idea of the Dog of Distinction campaign. I saw the campaign as a perfect opportunity to partner with Chicago’s business community to drive our registration numbers up and to bring awareness to other city laws that dog owners need to be aware of, like dog registration and leashing your dog.”
Recent estimates show that Chicago’s dog population is nearly half a million, but there are only about 30,000 dogs that are registered with the City Clerk’s office.
“Clearly we have work to do to raise those registration numbers,” says Clerk Mendoza. “It’s not just a matter of complying with the law. Registration aids in public health and reunites stray dogs with their owners,”
All dogs registered with the City Clerk’s Office through March 31 are automatically entered into the “Dog of Distinction” campaign. On April 2, five dogs and their owners will be chosen at random to compete for the title as Chicago’s first-ever “Dog of Distinction.” The public will then vote online in April for the dog they think best exemplifies Chicago’s spirit and is worthy of the Dog of Distinction title.
Finalists receive prize packages donated by Chicago’s pet-loving businesses. Chicago’s Dog of Distinction receives a custom-designed dog tag (valued at more than $2,000) with real rubies and topaz created by Sherry Bender of famed The Goldsmith Ltd., an appearance in a ‘WCIU, the U’ TV ad, a weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton, a photo shoot at Urban Out Sitters, and—of course—a feature in our wonderful publication, TAILS magazine.
All finalists receive two tickets on a Shoreline Cruise dog-friendly architectural cruise, a reservation to the exclusive Palmer House Hilton Dog Tea Party, Urban Out Sitter gift bag filled with the latest in dog treats and accessories and a TAILS magazine gift package created just for Chicago’s prize-winning dogs.
The registration fee is only $5 for dogs that are spayed or neutered ($2.50 for dog guardians aged 65 and older). Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered will cost $50 to register, so this campaign also helps to promote the spay/neuter effort in Chicago. The tag is a simple sticker that you can place on the back of your dog’s rabies vaccination tag. The registrations are available in one or three year increments, and expire when your dog’s rabies vaccination expires.
Of course, there are penalties for having an unregistered dog living in the city. Fines can range from $30 to $200. To avoid those fines, you can register your dog online at ChiCityClerk.com or by visiting any City Clerk office location (121 N. LaSalle in Room 107, 5674 S. Archer Ave. or 5430 W. Gale St.).