McHenry County Department of Health - Animal Control
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Ordinances and Laws

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When planning a move to a new city, most people think to research schools, neighborhoods, and community resources available in that location. But, moving to a new location may bring another area to investigate, especially where it concerns the keeping of animals. Ordinances usually regulate animals more specifically than state laws and may be enforced to a greater degree. McHenry County Department of Health, Division of Veterinary Health (also known as Animal Control) is the enforcement agency.

**Effective January 1, 2011, Amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, 225 ILCS 605. 3.5 & 225 ILCS 605, 3.15 sets forth disclosure requirements for any dog or cat made available for adoption or sale by an animal shelter, animal control facility or pet shop operator, including adoptions or sales available over the Internet [read more].

The McHenry County Board of Health and the McHenry County Board have adopted a Public Health Ordinance covering the county, please click on "Public Health Ordinance" on the left menu bar of this page to find and read the Ordinance.

The purpose of the Animal Control Article of this ordinance is to provide protection for the people of McHenry County, to ensure their health, safety, and welfare, and to provide harmonious relationships between people and animals by:


  • Protecting the residents of McHenry County from rabies by specifying such preventive and control measures as may be deemed necessary;
  • Providing security to residents from annoyance, intimidation and injury from dogs and other animals;
  • Protecting animals from improper use, abuse, neglect, inhumane treatment and health hazards;
  • Encouraging responsible pet ownership;
  • Educating the public in rabies and other animal related issues;
  • Providing for the assessment of penalties for violations and for the enforcement and administration of this Ordinance.

Topics address in the Ordinance include: 

  • fees, licenses and registrations
  • rabies vaccinations
  • definition of dangerous/vicious animals
  • cruelty complaints
  • biting animals
  • exotic animals 

 A downloadable brochure ("Dog Rules - What You Need to Know") provides answers to frequently asked questions.
("Dog Rules - What You Need to Know")

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (Springfield) enforces regulations concerning animal welfare. Officials license and inspect several types of animal-related businesses, including pet shops, kennels and shelters. Animal welfare officials also respond to complaints concerning a variety of animal issues, such as inhumane treatment of animals and improper disposal of dead animals. For more information, contact the Bureau of Animal Welfare at 217-782-6657.