Photo by Wendy Davis

The county board health committee looks over the animal control ordinance revision.

There’s a change coming Jan. 1, 2020, in regards to registering pet cats.

The Iroquois County Board Health Committee approved the addition of cats to its animal control ordinance. This is under state law, 510 ILCS 5/8.

It was stressed that this change is only for cats which are pets, defined as “companion animal” or “domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner or caregiver”.

A “stray dog or cat” means any dog or cat not on the premises of the owner and not wearing a valid rabies and registration tag, according to the ordinance.

As for registration, “Every owner of a cat that is a companion animal and is four month or more of age shall have each cat inoculated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Every cat that is a companion animal shall have a second rabies vaccination within one year of the first. Terms of subsequent vaccine administration and duration of immunity must be in compliance with USDA licenses of vaccines used. This subsection does not apply to feral cats; however, if a feral cat is presented to a licensed veterinarian for sterilization, the feral cat shall be inoculated against rabies, unless the person presenting the feral cat for care provides an inoculation certificate showing that the feral cat has been inoculated against rabies, and the cost of the inoculation shall be paid by the person presenting the feral cat to a licensed veterinarian for animal care.”

The registration fee for companion cats is $15 a year for altered cats or kittens under the age of nine months, $30 for three years for altered cats, $35 a year for unaltered cats, and $60 for three years for unaltered cats. This is the same as for dogs.

Also at the meeting, committee member Kevin Coughenour expressed concern about food permits. He questioned what the rules are for needing permits for a family gathering or a neighborhood party.

Iroquois County Public Health Department Administrator Dee Schippert explained when it’s needed.

She said it’s “when food is served to the public as a whole”.

“Anything private, we don’t have jurisdiction over it.”

She said when there’s something advertised, like a business customer appreciation event, it would be needed.

“We’re seeing more and more pop up events where food is being served,” she said. And because of this, she said she plans on asking the ICPHD Board of Health members if they’d be okay with changing the permit fees, offering a three-day permit for $25. Usual fees are $75.

She said she wants to encourage the public to get the proper permits when they’re required, but the permits are not set to be a money maker for the health department.