CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's no shortage of dogs in Chicago, but the number of residents buying licenses for their pets is at an all-time low. The number of registrations purchased have dropped so much that the clerk's office is taking action.
Seven-year-old Echo the dog wears his Chicago tag with pride, but the same cannot be said for many of his furry colleagues.
"A lot of dogs don't even have collars," said dog owner Doug Herbert. "In all honesty, people just don't know."
We learned that just a fraction of residents who vaccinate their dogs actually purchase the mandatory city tag.
The clerk's office said registration purchases are way down from the more than 27,000 in 2011 to just over 12,700 so far this year and that awareness might be the issue.
Cassie Lawton's dogs Jack, Nikki and Stella just got their tags, but she said she learned about it by word of mouth.
"OK, makes sense, the city wants a license for everything else it makes sense that you have a license for your dog," said dog owner Cassie Lawton.
Dog owner and trainer Luis Rojas told said that ABC 7 broke the news to him.
"I didn't know that they had a license," said Rojas. "I've been in the industry and I didn't even know this was happening."
But registration dodgers may not have an excuse for long.
The clerk's office said they're currently in talks with Cook County's Office of Animal Care and Control to track down owners through vaccination records and remind them that the tags aren't optional.
The clerk's office also said they'll be sending out renewal notices to dog owners before the end of this year, which is something that they haven't done for five or six years.
Information about registering a dog in Chicago may be found here: http://www.chicityclerk.com/community-affairs/dog-registration
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