Animal & Rabies Control Home


The Department of Animal & Rabies Control provides health protection to the residents of Cook County through preparation, education, rabies vaccination and stray animal control.

Services include:

  • Spay and Neuter Program
  • Stray Patrol
  • Community Partnership Program
  • Community Assistance Program
  • Education Program
  • Pet Return Service
  • Pet Registration Program (Rabies Tags) – Checks made payable to: Cook County Animal & Rabies Control


Winter Weather Brings Seasonal Challenges for Pet Owners

How to keep your dog and cat safe in cold, snow and during the holidays

The early cold snaps of the past few weeks should serve as a reminder to pet owners that special precautions should be made for health and welfare of their dogs and cats as winter gets under way.

Dr. Donna Alexander, Administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, offered a number of tips for pet owners to keep in mind during winter and the upcoming holidays.

“Given that this is only December, and we realistically have several months of severe weather ahead of us, it is important for pet owners to remember that they should adjust their pets’ normal routine.”  Dr. Alexander further advised that, “Prolonged exposure to cold, snow and ice can be as dangerous for dogs and cats as it is for humans.”

Among her recommendations:

  • Bring all pets indoors. All dogs and cats, whether acclimated to outdoor living, must be brought indoors during sub-zero weather. Even creatures of the wild seek shelter when temperatures plummet. As the responsible caregiver of a pet, you should provide an indoor heated shelter for your animal. Despite their abundance of hair, all domesticated dogs and cats are subject to frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Salt and ice. Both salt and ice can irritate your dog’s footpads. If your dog will tolerate them, foot coverings are advised. If your dog will not tolerate foot coverings, avoid the salt when possible and wash their paws with warm water when you return home. Walking the dog in the snow as opposed to the salted sidewalk may be advisable, but in extreme low temperatures this could add to frostbite concerns.
  • Frostbite. Dogs and cats may have fur coats but they also have exposed areas that are susceptible to frostbite. Limit their time outdoors for waste elimination only. Walks should not exceed 10 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. Check their pads when you get home and wash with warm (not hot) moist towels. If you suspect frostbite on any extremity (don’t forget the nose or the tips of the ears) contact your veterinarian.
  • Properly secure potentially poisonous material, such as antifreeze. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to all living creatures. It is sweet to the taste but even a drop can be lethal. Keep antifreeze bottles out of the reach of animals and clean up all antifreeze spills immediately.
  • Feral cats and wild animals will seek refuge and warmth wherever they can, Dr. Alexander said. A car’s engine, for example, may provide a warm spot to “hole up” in sub-zero conditions.  “Honk your horn before you start your car to give a wake-up call to any critters before you turn on the ignition,” she advised. “If an animal has chosen your attic, your garage or even space under a deck as refuge, close off access to the rest of the house. Contact local officials for their removal but be prepared for an assessment of your home for its accessibility to wildlife intrusion.”

Dr. Alexander also reminds pet owners that they should have an established doctor-patient-client relationship with a veterinarian close to home and establish an emergency protocol.

“If your pet is receiving ongoing prescription treatment, make sure you have adequate amounts in case of closures due to weather,” Alexander said. “Know where your closest emergency veterinary clinic is located or the policies of your primary care veterinarian regarding emergencies.”


Rabies Vaccine and Microchip Clinic

The Cook County Animal and Rabies Control clinics, provide affordable rabies vaccinations to bring all citizens into compliance with the law, while providing an essential public health protection against a deadly disease that has caused public health concerns in four states over the past two years.

Rabies vaccines will cost $7 for a one year and $21 for a three year.  Ferrets may only be vaccinated for one year and the cost of the vaccine is $9.  Pet owners can have their pets microchipped for $10; however, this does not include the national registration fee.

2015 Clinic Dates

Cook County’s low cost clinic services will be offered starting late March and running through early October.  The mobile clinics will operate at various locations throughout the County.  Clinic hours are 10:00 am until 2:45 pm.


The 2015 Clinic Date Calendar will be available for viewing soon.


Cook County Funds Comprehensive Urban Coyote Research Project

Originally known as ghosts of the plains, coyotes have now become ghosts of the cities – occasionally heard but rarely seen. This species is now becoming one of the top carnivores in an increasing number of metropolitan areas across North America. However, we know very little about how coyotes are becoming successful in landscapes dominated by people.

The Cook County Coyote Project (, largely funded by the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control agency, is a comprehensive ecological study of coyotes in the Chicago metropolitan area, specifically Cook County, Illinois.

To learn more about this unique project on the project website at

County’s Pet Spay-Nueter Program Will Continue Through March

Cook County’s annual partnership with private veterinarians to offer discounted spay and neuter services for pets has been extended through March. The program provides discounts of up to $40 per procedure and is available for up to two pets—dogs, cats or ferrets —per household.  Previously, the program was administered only in February.

To be eligible:

  • Pets must be owned by Cook County residents
  • Limit of two pets total per household
  • Must show proof of your pet being current with the rabies vaccine
  • Must have a Cook County rabies tag

Cook County pet owners who want to have their pets spayed or neutered under the program can simply go to a veterinarian of their choice and ask for the Cook County discount. No coupons or bar codes are needed.

The program helps prevent animal overpopulation in Cook County and acts to stem the possible spread of dangerous diseases to pets and people through stray animals.


Chapter 10- Animal Ordinance

The Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Ordinance was developed and passed to establish guidelines in the relationships between animals and man. This Ordinance is the law in all municipalities within Cook County. The purpose of this Ordinance is to provide harmonious relationships in the interaction between man and animal by:

  • Protecting the citizens of Cook County from rabies by specifying such preventive and control measures as may be necessary;
  • Protecting animals from improper use, abuse, neglect, inhumane treatment and health hazards, particularly rabies;
  • Providing security to residents from annoyance, intimidation, and injury from cats, dogs, and other animals;
  • Encouraging responsible pet ownership;
  • Providing for the assessment of penalties for violators and for the enforcement and administration of this Ordinance.