Peru amends two ordinances affecting city dog owners

City will no longer require a Peru and La Salle County registration tag for dog ownership

During the Peru council’s final meeting of 2020, the council approved two amendments to existing ordinances involving dogs and their owners within city limits.

The first approved amendment was within Chapter 14 – Animals, Article II. – Dogs and Cats. The amendment will do away with requiring dog owners to have both a county and a city registration tag.

Before the amendment both registrations were required, but after seeing around 90% of dog owners in the city possess a La Salle County and not a city tag, Peru has adjusted.

The issue was brought up during the Dec. 7 council meeting, as the council opted not to require the tag going forward instead of trying to track down animals with the single tag for a $5 fee.

“[The city tag] doesn’t serve a purpose other than it’s another tag,” said Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei. “We talked about it and said ‘Why are we even doing this?’ because you are legally required to go to the vet and get vaccinations and you’re legally required to give proof to animal control.”

Officials also found many dog owners may not even be aware of the previous need to have the animal registered with both the city and the county.

The city ordinance will require each owner of a dog more than four months of age to register and obtain a dog tag from La Salle County upon vaccination. All dogs will continue to bear a county identification tag or be microchipped.

The second ordinance amended was the city’s administrative adjudication ordinance Chapter 3, Section 14. The way the ordinance was initially stated required dog owners to pay a $75 fine in the case of their dog getting loose and injuring another person or animal.

Following the results of recent issues, the city has now amended the ordinance to now require dog owners to appear in front of a hearing officer to determine further action or fine if someone was injured or property was damaged on account of their loose dog.

This decision was made as a way of handling each instance on a case-by-case basis and allows for possible restitution based on the severity of the instance.

The city opted not to pursue a steady increase of the amount of the fine but rather to move forward with added clarity in case an issue arose in the future.

Both ordinance amendments were passed unanimously.