City Ordinance Seeking to Regulate Feral Cats in a Manner Conflicting with County Ordinance Invalid Exercise of Home Rule Authority.

Pursuant to authority granted by the Animal Control Act, a county adopted a feral cat ordinance designed to prevent the spread of rabies by reducing and controlling the feral cat population. The ordinance permitted county residents to maintain feral cats, provided they participated in trap, neuter, and release programs sponsored by human societies. Shortly thereafter, a city within the county passed its own feral cat ordinance prohibiting city residents from operating feral cat colonies and fining those who violated the ordinance. The county filed an action alleging that the city had acted outside of its authority and seeking to enjoin the city’s enforcement of its ordinance. The circuit court entered judgment for the county, and, on appeal, the court affirmed. The city’s ordinance was an invalid exercise of its home rule authority under Ill. Const. art. VII, § 6(a). The city also had no statutory authority to pass the ordinance. The court found that the state and its counties had a greater interest and a more traditional role in addressing the issues of animal control and preventing the spread of rabies than did local municipalities. As such, the city ordinance was invalid. County of Cook v. Village of Bridgeview, No. 1-12-2164, 2014 IL App (1st) 122164, 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 263 (2014).

 

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