After months of debate, Evanston aldermen Monday adopted a revised dangerous dog ordinance, but signaled that debate over animal control issues is far from over.

The ordinance establishes a procedure under which the police chief can declare a dog dangerous and require that owners take steps to control it.

It was approved after the City Council accepted two amendments proposed by Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward.

One would give the owner of an accused dog time to get an evaluation by a certified animal behaviorist before it was declared to be dangerous.

The other specifies that a dog’s owner could seek judicial review in circuit court of the police chief’s determination that a dog was dangerous.

Alderman Judy Fiske reads from a letter relating an incident in which she said an 80-year-old woman’s small pet dog was euthanized after the city’s animal control officer declared it was dangerous — an incident that she said showed the need for more due-process protections for dogs and their owners.

The council’s Human Services Committee has already begun discussion of an additional possible ordinance to deal with irresponsible pet owners.

And Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asked Monday that the Rules Committee consider whether oversight of the city’s animal shelter should be moved from the Police Department to the Health Department. “The Police Department is too busy with other things,” Rainey said.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Neuter them all

    No person should have a need to breed any animal, unless of course they are licensed and certified breeder.

    Therefore, the law should prevent anyone to keep an animal if it is not spayed or neutered. I know of two female pit bull right now, in the close vicinity of my house, that are left out in the back yard, just waiting for a stray male dog to come by and reproduce.

  2. Why doesn’t Fiske recuse herself from this issue?

    The fact that Ald. Fiske makes money from the dog industry represents a clear conflict of interest.  


    Ald. Burrus always recuses herself from voting on Northwestern issues, Fiske should do the same on issues pertaining to her industry..

  3. Pitbull, pitbull, pitbull!

    Pitbull, pitbull, pitbull!! I'm sick of people labeling this one breed!

    Any dog can be trained to be vicious. I was attack by a German shepard as a kid! But I'm not labeling all them as bad! Every time a dog story happens the pit bulls are being bought up.

    I love the breed and have never had a problem! Look at the owners, not the dog.

    1. Actually you’re the only one bringing up pitbulls!

      This is a funny comment since neither the article nor the comments thus posted mention pitbulls!

      Making it easier for the cops to deal with dangerous dogs makes sense.  We'll see if the Fiske signature  stall tactic works with this one!

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