Want to prance your pooch around with a $2,000 dog tag encrusted with topaz and rubies? Come April, one dog in Chicago will be wearing it, having been named Chicago's Dog of Distinction.
The campaign comes from the Chicago City Clerk's Office in an effort to increase the number of licensed dogs in the city.
A city ordinance requiring that dogs be licensed has been on the books for years, but just just bout 30,000 dogs are registered in a city that has a dog population estimated between 560,000 to 590,000, officials say.
Mendoza's office said last fall they'd step up enforcement for dogs that aren't licensed. First, though, comes educating the public of the requirement.
"I don’t think it’s fair to ticket people who are not even aware of the legal obligation,” Mendoza said at a Wednesday event. "First, we’ll educate, then follow up with a strong enforcement campaign."
All dogs registered with the city through March 31 will automatically be entered into the campaign. Five of those dogs will be selected at random, Mendoza said, and their profiles put online for public voting.
The dog who earns the most votes will be named Chicago's Dog of Distinction in April and will receive the Goldsmith Jeweler-designed dog tag. Their companion will receive a photo shoot from Urban Out Sitters, a weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton, a write-up in Chicagoland Tails magazine and an appearance in a WCIU-TV ad.
All of the prizes were made available by Chicago's business community and were of no cost to taxpayers, Mendoza stressed.
Enforcement of Chicago's compulsory ordinance will begin after the campaign.
Licensing a dog enhances public health efforts because the canine must be vaccinated for rabies in order to get one. Licenses for dogs who have been spayed or neutered cost just $5; otherwise, it's $50.