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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Animal Services


Animal Control and Welfare Laws

What Is the County "Leash Law"?

  • All animals kept by humans must be under control at all times and must be prevented from leaving the owner's property. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, livestock species, and any other animals being kept by a human.
  • Animals must be confined outside in a manner that allows adequate exercise. Dogs that are tied must be on a swivel-base lead at least 12' in length and the owner must be present. Dogs are prohibited from tie-outs or chains, when no owner is present.
  • We recommend dogs be confined outside behind a fence rather than on a tie-out to
    • Protect them from other animals
    • Prevent problems with aggression due to the frustration they experience when chained.
  • Animals may be kept on the owner's property via "invisible fencing," provided it is a reliable means of containing those animals.

If You Own An Animal in DuPage County, You Must:

  • Feed them nutritious food everyday.
  • Provide them with clean, fresh water at all times. Water must not be frozen in cold weather.
  • Provide them with adequate shelter and protection from the weather at all times. Adequate shelter is defined as: A four-walled, moisture-proof structure with a raised, dry floor and clean bedding such as straw, sawdust, or wood chips or clean, dry blankets. Horses require a three-sided shelter with a roof.
  • Take them to their veterinarian for medical care when they are sick or injured.
  • Keep them away from other animals when infected with a communicable diseases.
  • Make sure they get a rabies shot every year. Rabies vaccinations must be given by a licensed veterinarian in Illinois. Dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, swine, sheep, and cattle should be vaccinated.
  • Make sure they wear their rabies tags for identification. Dogs and cats are required to wear their rabies tags when off their owner's property.
  • Never hurt, abuse, or neglect your pet.
  • Keep them on a leash or behind a fence at all times. Never let them run loose! This includes all animals kept by humans. Dogs under reliable voice control may be allowed off-lead in certain areas, such as dog training fields at certain Forest Preserves.
  • Clean up their waste when they defecate outside.* You must clean up excrement immediately on property other than your own. You must not allow feces to accumulate on your own property.
  • Never leave them in a car when it’s over 86 degrees Fahrenheit , or in any enclosed area without proper air circulation. Any animal left in a car in warm weather is in danger of heat exhaustion and death.
  • Never put them in the back of a pickup truck unless cross-tied or caged to prevent them from falling out.
  • Never allow them to bite or be aggressive towards other people who are in a place where they may lawfully be.
  • Never allow them to bite or be aggressive towards other animals that are under the control of their owners.
  • Never allow them to bark, whine, howl, or make excess noise so as to cause a nuisance.
  • Take them to their veterinarian to be checked for rabies if they bite someone.
  • Confine female animals in estrus (heat) in a building or secure enclosure to prevent unplanned breeding.
  • Keep animals away from places where food is processed or consumed, schools, public playgrounds, public pools, or sandboxes.*
  • Keep animals confined in an enclosure that allows for adequate exercise, or on a swivel-base chain no shorter than 12' in length. Your dog must not be left tied-out if you are not home. Tying or chaining for long periods of time leads to aggression due to the frustration animals encounter in this situation.

Other Animal Control and Welfare Laws

  • No person may promote, conduct, advertise, or wager on any activity involving a fight between two or more animals.
  • No person may keep fowl that will be used in cockfighting.
  • No person may hold a greased pig contest.
  • No person may give away a live animal as a prize or as an inducement to enter a contest or business transaction.
  • No person may poison a domestic animal.
  • No person may keep a wild animal contrary to Federal, State, and local regulations.
  • Any person who strikes an animal while operating a motor vehicle is required to stop and render aid or immediately report the incident to the local police.
  • No person may use a leg-hold trap to capture a domestic animal.

*Guide dogs are exempt from these restrictions