Joliet has enacted new pet safety laws aimed in part at protecting dogs from cold-weather exposure and preventing fly-by-night pet shops.
The city council this week approved the measures with some debate as to whether the city should go further with its anti-cruelty ordinance.
What the city has done is add specific prohibitions against exposing animals to extreme heat or cold and set requirements for keeping animals in cages or other enclosures. The council also approved a prohibition against staging animal fights for entertainment or wagering.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said she wanted to see the anti-cruelty ordinance expanded further.
“I still have concerns with the ordinance because there’s nothing in there about tethering,” Quillman said. “I still remember that dog that hung himself on the fence.”
A Joliet man was arrested on animal cruelty charges after a mail carrier in December 2017 found a dog hanging by a chain from a fence.
Interim City Attorney Chris Regis said restrictions on tethering are under consideration.
“The animal cruelty ordinance is still a work in progress,” Regis said. “The next item to add to it is tethering.”
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, however, said that whatever the city put in its own ordinances, police make arrests based on state anti-cruelty laws because they carry tougher penalties.
“Animal cruelty, I believe, is a felony,” O’Dekirk said. “There’s no ordinance we could pass that would have the effect of state law.”
O’Dekirk said he may ask Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow to come to a future council meeting to give a presentation on how animal cruelty cases are prosecuted.
The new pet shop license mirrors state law but adds restrictions to bar people convicted of certain offenses from holding the license. The license costs $150.
Joliet only has one pet shop – Furry Babies in the Louis Joliet Mall.
Regis said the license was created in part because of complaints about a pet seller that had been doing business on Collins Street.