May 25, 2012
She’s One Lucky Dog! Wilma to Proudly Represent All Chicago Dogs in City Clerk’s First-Ever Dog of Distinction Promotion
Chicago has a new top dog and her name is Wilma! The chocolate lab owned by Gregg and Erin Syzmanski won City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s first-ever Dog of Distinction promotion.
According to the Syzmanskis, Wilma enjoys long walks in bungalow-filled neighborhoods, playing catch with the frisbee at the park, and lying by the fireplace on cold Chicago nights. Some of her other hobbies include burying bones in the backyard, barking at garbage men in the alley, and playing at the dog beach!
The Dog of Distinction contest encouraged Chicagoans to register their dog with the City. Earlier this month, five dogs were chosen at random to compete for the title of the Chicago’s “Dog of Distinction” and the public then voted online for which dog they thought would best represent Chicago.
The promotion helped dramatically increase active City Dog Registration by 122 percent. Last year at this time the City had only 17,000 active dog registrations. Currently the City Clerk’s Office has almost 38,000 active dog registrations. “The Dog of Distinction promotion exceeded all my expectations in dog registration numbers, and reinforced that many people simply were not aware of the need to register their dogs,” said Clerk Mendoza. “We will continue to remind people of the many benefits of registering their dog with the City, including the public health benefit, but we will also be working closely with enforcement agencies to carry out the registration requirement,” continued Clerk Mendoza.
Program Details and Prizes
Contest finalists included: Coco, a Chorkie mix owned by Amanda Fuller; Lump, a German Shepherd owned by Tyra and Nick Notorangelo; Margaret, an Affenpinscher owned by Karen Race; Trina, a German Shepherd owned by Conrad Mocarski; and winning dog Wilma, a Chocolate Lab owned by Gregg Szymanski.
Finalists receive prize packages donated by Chicago’s pet-loving businesses. Chicago’s winning Dog of Distinction receives a custom-designed dog tag with real rubies and topazes valued at $2,000 created by Sherry Bender of famed The Goldsmith Ltd., an appearance in a ‘WCIU, the U’ TV ad, a weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton, a photo shoot at Urban Out Sitters, and a feature story in Chicagoland Tails magazine.
All dogs – and their owners – receive two tickets on a Shoreline Cruise dog-friendly architectural cruise, a reservation to the exclusive Palmer House Hilton Doggie Tea Party, an Urban OutSitter gift bag filled with the latest in dog treats and accessories and a Chicagoland Tails gift package created just for Chicago’s prize-winning dogs.
The Dog of Distinction promotion was developed by Chicagoan and civic leader Kathy Posner in conjunction with Clerk Mendoza, at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
Benefits of Dog Registration
Dog registration benefits the public health. All dogs registered with the city must have a current rabies vaccination.
City dog registration helps reunite owners with their pet should the dog stray away from home. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, less than 20 percent of dogs who go missing are returned to their owners. Most dogs reunited with their owners were identified with tags or other identifying features, reinforcing the advantage for owners who register their dogs.
Chicago’s dog registration tag is a simple sticker that adheres to the back of the rabies vaccination tag. The sticker contains the unique dog registration number as well as the phone number for the City Clerk’s missing dog and registration hotline, 312-744-DOGS (3647).
Dog Registration Cost and Fines
Dog registration is $5 for neutered or spayed dogs or $2.50 for sterilized dogs with a Chicago owner over age 65. Unsterilized dogs are $50 to register or $5 if the owner is age 65 or older. City dog registrations are available in 1 or 3 year increments, with the expiration date coinciding with the rabies expiration.
Fines for not registering a dog range from $30 to $200. Dog registration can be purchased online using EZ Buy at chicityclerk.com or an application can be mailed to the owner by calling 312-744-DOGS (3647). Registration is also available at any City Clerk’s office location, 121 N. LaSalle in Room 107, 5674 S. Archer Ave. or 5430 W. Gale St.