Animal Control Information

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The Village of Norridge Animal Control Department was founded many years after the Police Department was first formed. It exists to assist in the control and abatement of animal issues by enforcing the animal control ordinances.

The Village of Norridge has strict ordinances concerning nuisance barking, leash laws, and cleaning up after your animal. On the animal control side, the Village can set traps and capture wild animals outside of the residence. Below are some animals common to the area and their behavioral characteristics:


Raccoons are medium-sized animals which have a bushy tail with 4 to 7 black rings. The tracks of the raccoon are very distinctive. The hind foot is long, narrow, and rests flat on the ground like those of a bear. The front paw is hand-like, with toes that are long and well separated. This permits the use of the front paws with almost the facility of a monkey's hands.

The diet of raccoons is extremely diverse. They will eat fruit, berries, grain, eggs, poultry, vegetables, nuts, mollusks, fish, insects, rodents, carrion, pet food and garbage. Individual animals may learn to eat specialized foods such as poultry, fruit crops, small livestock, or garbage by watching other raccoons.

Raccoons are nocturnal or night-time active, animals. Urban raccoon populations are frequently underestimated because people seldom see them traveling during the daytime. They are also territorial, particularly the males. Raccoons den up in hollow trees, drain pipes, homes and buildings, under decks and storage buildings, brush piles and abandoned burrows.

Raccoons can cause substantial damage. In urban areas, raccoons damage buildings (particularly attics and roofs), gardens, fruit trees, lawns, garbage cans and trash containers. They are also attracted to pet food left outdoors and will attack pets.

Raccoons are known carriers of rabies and other diseases. They are also infested with fleas, ticks, lice and mites, which are known transmitters of disease. Children and pets are particularly at risk.

Raccoons are attracted to urban areas by the easy accessibility of food, water, and shelter. Reducing or eliminating the availability of all of these factors will encourage raccoons to leave. Tight-fitting lids should be kept on garbage cans; pets should be fed during daylight hours and any leftovers removed immediately; water bowls should be emptied or taken in at night; gardens should be frequently harvested and windfall fruit picked up. Food should never be intentionally left out for wild mammals.

Raccoons can be excluded from a building by covering foundation vents with slotted metal vent covers and by using ¼-inch grid screening to cover attic vents and chimneys. Raccoons have been known to enter homes through pet doors; be sure these are locked at night. Raccoons sometimes take up residence under a low deck. Raccoons may be kept away from roof areas by trimming tree branches 10 feet from rooflines and by keeping climbing plants trimmed away from roof and eave areas.


Opossums are nocturnal, are great climbers and are often seen in trees or other high places such as hay lofts or attics.

If the opossum is cornered, because it is slow and cannot run away quickly, it may do one or more of several things, including: bare teeth, growl, hiss, bite, screech, and expel a smelly greenish fluid from their anal glands. If these protective methods are unsuccessful, the animal may play dead.

Opossums make living quarters in a variety of areas, such as culverts, tree cavities, burrows of other animals, brush piles and buildings. Because they are not afraid of humans, they have also been known to den in attics or garages.

The opossum is an omnivore, which means it will eat nearly anything. Foods preferred by opossums are insects, carrion and animal matter. They will eat fruits and grains, also. Any food with a fowl odor will attract an opossum.

Opossums are known to be a nuisance near homes and building sites where they eat food from bird feeders, pet feeders, and garbage cans. They can destroy poultry and game birds, also destroying their nests. Opossums sometimes live in buildings, particularly barns and outbuildings and sometimes live in house attics. They can create large messes with their fecal matter.


Skunks like to live along the edge of the forest, or in pastures where there are bushes, or on the grassy prairies.

Sometimes the skunk will dig its own den, but it may also move into the den of another mammal. Skunks also live under old buildings. They also like to live under cement stairs, decks and sheds.
During the day, a skunk sleeps. It hunts at night, walking slowly along, catching insects and looking for small fruit. It also eats grubs and slugs.

Self-Protection: The skunk has musk glands and can shoot a liquid that has a terrible odor. First, it gives a warning when something approaches it. With its legs stiff, the skunk stamps the ground with its feet, snaps its teeth, and its hairs stand up. Then, if necessary, the skunk swings its rear end round, lifts its tail up out of the way and shoots its musk. The liquid can shoot out as far as four meters. If it hits the enemy in the eyes, the enemy cannot see for several moments. One way to ensure you don’t get skunks is to use “Grub x” on your lawn.

HELPFUL HINT: Do you have critters threatening your garden? We suggest chopping a Spanish onion and a jalapeno pepper. Boil them, along with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, for 20 minutes in two quarts of water. Strain through cheesecloth into a garden sprayer and spray areas where opossums, skunks or domestic pets are becoming nuisances.

Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs Every cat or dog within the Village must have a Village tag and license. (Click Here for an application) The owner of a licensed cat or dog shall, at all times, have a collar around the animal’s neck with the tags issued by the Village. We strongly recommend that your cat or dog get an AVID® microchip (A.V.I.D. stands for American Veterinary Identification Devices). This is a tiny computer chip which has an identification number programmed into it. The chip is encased in smooth, strong, biocompatible glass, and is small enough to fit into a hypodermic needle. Once an animal is injected with the chip, he can be identified throughout his life by this one-of-a-kind number. His identification cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed. This device helps us return the animals to their owners.

It is important to remember the following with cats, dogs, and other animals:

  • Do not leave an animal in the car when the outside air temperature is 90 degrees or above.
  • It is unlawful to have any animal for fighting purposes.
  • It is important for every owner to provide water, food, adequate shelter, veterinary care, and humane care and treatment.
  • It is the responsibility of every owner to clean up after their animal, whether it is on their own premises or in a public place.

To help reduce the wildlife problems in our community, please: keep garages and sheds closed; trim up bushes and evergreens; keep all garbage lids closed tightly; and pick up all fallen vegetables and fruit. If you have any animal problems, please contact the Animal Control Officers at 708-453-4770, ext.5381, and leave your name, number and nature of the call.

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