City Hall’s effort to get Chicago residents to register their dogs is largely a bust, City Clerk Susan Mendoza acknowledged today.
During a two-year push, the city added nearly 11,600 dog tags to bring the rolls up to almost 41,000 as of June 30. The Anti-Cruelty Society, however, estimates there are more than 653,000 dogs in Chicago.
Mendoza said during a budget hearing today that the dog licensing effort won’t succeed until the likelihood of getting a ticket of $30 to $200 for failing to get a dog tag is greater than it is today.
“I really firmly believe that without a strong enforcement piece attached to any kind of licensing, you really just don’t even do the licensing, because if people know there’s no repercussions for not doing the permit,” said Mendoza, who first promoted an effort to boost dog tag purchases in October 2011. Although Mendoza’s office issues the tags, it’s the Department of Animal Care and Control that is in charge of enforcement, she added.
Tags are $5 and half-price for pets owned by seniors. They rise to $50 for dogs that are not spayed or neutered.
Also Tuesday, Mendoza touted her office’s success in stepping up the purchase of vehicle stickers by working closely with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office to seek registration through state vehicle records. Before, renewal notices were only sent to people who had previously registered a vehicle in the city, she said.
Compared to last year, vehicle registrations are up 30,000 to 1.27 million. That’s also 57,000 more vehicle registrations than there were in 2011, the year Mendoza took office.
Vehicle owners also are paying the correct amount for a sticker, which increases to $135 from $85 for larger vehicles like SUVs, because of the better record keeping, she said.
With increased and more accurate registration, along with the weeding out of fraudulent issued free stickers to drivers who falsely claimed a disability, overall revenue this year is up $4.5 million, to $120 million, she said.
Still, about 20 percent of the vehicles in the city are not registered, she said. Enforcement of vehicle sticker purchases is done in part by Mendoza’s office, which has a combined city and private contractor staff of 11 to tackle that effort.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council raised vehicle sticker fees in 2011.
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