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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Village's Feral Cat Ordinance Preempted

Cook County enacted a feral cat ordinance that allows residents in Cook County to maintain feral cat colonies provided they participate in trap, neuter and release programs.  The Village of Bridgeview , a home rule municipality, had its own ordinance on feral cats that prohibits Bridgeview residents from operating feral cat colonies within its borders.  Cook County sued the Village, claiming that the Village had no authority to adopt an ordinance that conflicted with the county feral cat ordinance.  

The question before the appellate court was whether Bridgeview exceeded its home rule powers in adopting the feral cat ordinance.  The court first determined that the regulation of feral cats is both a state and local issue, so the court must apply certain factors to determine which interest is more vital.  In this case, the court noted that the Animal Control Act vests authority in the counties to regulate and control the animal population.  Also, feral cats "freely roam" across municipal boundaries, beyond the control of the regulating municipality. Counties have traditionally had a role in animal control.  Based on these factors, the court found that the state and counties have a greater interest and more traditional role in addressing the issues of animal control, including feral cats.  As a result, Bridgeview exceeded its authority pursuant to its home rule powers and state statute when it enacted its own feral cat ordinance that conflicted with the county feral cat ordinance.  County of Cook v. Bridgeview (April 25, 2014)

We first reported on this case in January.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink 


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