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Surge In City Dog License Purchases After Crackdown Threat

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The City Clerk’s office said it has seen a surge in the purchase of dog licenses in the past couple weeks, after the city announced it would crack down on owners of unlicensed dogs after the new year.

From Oct. 24 through Nov. 7, more than 2,200 dog licenses were purchased — a jump of more than 250 percent compared to the same time span a year ago, when 631 dogs were registered, according to the clerk’s office.

“My goal is always to educate people about the law before increasing enforcement,” said City Clerk Susana Mendoza, whose office oversees the registration of dogs in the city. “I met with Animal Care and Control earlier this fall and we agreed that often dog owners are simply not aware of the requirement to register their pet with the city. Together we have committed to educate the public about this requirement and then increase enforcement in 2012.”

The clerk’s office said 60 percent of the recent license sales occurred online, through the clerk’s website.

In order to get a dog license, animal owners must first show proof that their dog has been vaccinated for rabies. The city’s dog license is a sticker attached to the metal rabies tag.

The license can be used to reunite dog owners with their pets if the animal is lost.

Mendoza’s office pointed out that fewer than 20 percent of dogs who go missing are reunited with their owners and most dogs who are reunited with their owners are identified with tags, microchips, or other “identifying features,” giving owners who register their dogs an advantage if the dog is lost.

The price is $5 for spayed or neutered animals, $50 if they’re not sterilized. Seniors pay only $2.50 for spayed or neutered dogs, $5 for unsterilized dogs

The effort to get all dogs registered will begin shortly after the New Year begins with a three-month education campaign urging dog owners to get licenses.

Owners of unlicensed dogs face fines of $30 to $200.

Chicago dog owners can get a dog license online by clicking here.

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