You need a special tag to use any DFA in Chicago, including the Dog Beach. This is not limited to just Montrose Dog Beach, and the tag is good at all DFA's.

Pursuant to a regulation issued by the Administrator of the Cook County  Department of Animal and Rabies Control, all dogs entering a DFA must have a permit and registration tag from a licensed veterinarian.  People bring dogs into a Chicago Park District DFA must have both a permit with them and a registration tag for each dog.  The  registration tag must be on the dog's collar or harness.  The permit and registration tag  may be used at any officially sanctioned Chicago Park District DFA.

The same reason you clean up after your dog; beacuse it's the rules, it's the right thing to do, and when you get a ticket, you'll have no one to blame but yourself. The tag also show other beach users that you are a responsible owner, and your dog is immunized. 

The fine for not having a tag can be from $250 to $500.

The permit and tag fee is a total of $10.00 per dog. This fee pays for the cost of instituting and processing the DFA tag program. This money doesn't go towards any DFA park or project.

Mondog doesn't recieve any of the money collected from tag fees, we have  to raise money for improvements ourselves.

Any permit and registration tag will be valid only for a single season  no matter when  purchased.  A single season is defined as the period  running from January 1 st of any year through December 31 st of the same  year.

The new Permits and tags will be available at participating Chicago  veterinary offices at the beginning of each year, and throughout the  year. Call ahead to make sure they have the tags.

Permits and tags will only be available at participating  Chicagoland veterinary offices.If you are an out-of-state resident  you must also contact one of the participating  Chicagoland veterinary  offices to determine what paperwork is necessary to obtain the permit  and tag.  Most of these veterinarians will help those whose own vets are  not  participating. You should call them first to confirm that they  will assist you and to determine how much they charge for an office  visit. Visitors to the city are not required to have a Chicago Dog  License.

Pursuant to regulations under the new Cook County Ordinance, dog owners  must show proof of:  

  1. Current dog license issued by the City of Chicago, or proof that the  dog has a current rabies vaccination.  
  2. Examination within the past year for any communicable diseases  including an  examination of a stool specimen for internal parasites.  
  3. Current vaccination or titer if possible for Distemper, Hepatitis,  Para-influenza,  Parvovirus, and Bordatella (kennel cough) unless an  exemption to this  requirement has been granted by the Administrator  upon the written recommendation from the Owner's veterinarian.    
  4. $5.00 fee per tag. 

No. You can substitute proof of rabies vacination for a Chicago Dog  License, but you will still need to go to one of the participating vets  to get a tag. If your dog is already vaccinated bring your records with  you. Most vets will want to perform an exam because they have to  certify your dog is in good health and may not want to sign  the form without an exam.  

There will not be a sliding scale. There is no visitors pass. Visitors  must follow the same procedures for obtaining a permit and tag.

There are no visitor or day passes.  Any visitor wishing to bring their  pet to a  Chicago Park District Dog Friendly Area must follow the same  procedures for obtaining  a permit and tag.

The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control will enforce DFA tag rules and regulations and issue tickets to violators.  Violators, along  with the Chicago Park District, will face a possible fine of $500. The Chicago Park District does not enforce the tag rule.

If a patron loses their dog tag or permit, they must reapply for a  permit and tag  for a $5.00 fee with a participating Chicagoland  veterinarian.

According to County regulation, "An exemption to this requirement (can  be) granted by the Administrator upon the written recommendation from  the Owner's veterinarian."

The Administrator of this regulation is Cook County Animal  and Rabies Control, so to get an exemption, you must send a letter to CCARC  along with a letter from your vet explaining why your dog is  not vaccinated. He will review it and decide if you can still use the  dog parks. This may take some time, so if you need an exemption, you may  want to get started on it. I would suggest that since you are asking  for a favor, you keep the commentary to a minimum.

Requests for vaccination exemptions can be sent to:
Cook County Animal and Rabies Control
10220 S. 76th Ave.
2nd Floor
Bridgeview, IL 60455


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Here is a list of races and events that the Chicago Tribune has reported on that take place at Montrose Harbor and may effect entry to the dog beach. 


 8/17/19 & 8/18/19 All Day  Chicago Air & Water Show (not specifically at Montrose)


9/22/19 10:30 AM Chicago Lung Run


See also the Chicago Tribune


We are traditionally challenged by the cost of keeping dog waste bags available at the beach.  We generally spend $1500 or more per year.

The board has decided that if we could find and acknowledge sponsors for each month, we could cover this cost and have a little left over for projects.  A sponsor could deduct this sponsorship as either advertising or a charitable donation to Friends of the Park, which is a 501c3 that we are affiliated with.  Since usage and awareness of MONDOG varies by season, the sponsorship would also vary by season: $120 per month for winter, $160 per month for spring and fall, and $200 per month for summer. 

If you or your organization is interested, the sponsorship of individual months for the next year are available at our online store.  Just click on the Donation Store along the top of our website page or click here.

Access to the Montrose Dog Beach for people and dogs is ALWAYS FREE unless the Chicago Parks District has set up a special event. In the case of the Dog Friendly Areas (DFAs) this is seldom to never.  However, another nearby event may restrict access to the DFA; but, going to the DFA is FREE.

There have been reports on our Facebook Page that people are trying to get admission fees for the Dog Beach.  These are SCAMS!  DO NOT PAY THEM!

This is not to say that you shouldn't follow the rules and have a DFA Tag to enter the Dog Beach.  These cost $5 - $10 from your vet and are good for the entire year.

Montrose Dog Beach was founded on a simple premise: “There is enough beach for everyone.” While our community has grown tremendously over the years, we believe the sentiment still holds true. We all love our slice of shoreline, but what many may not know is that the beach to our southeastern border is equally treasured by many species of birds and a large community of birders and nature lovers.

Unfortunately, the birders and nature lovers frequently contend with dogs that are illegally on both the main portion of the beach and in the two natural areas, Montrose Beach Dunes and Montrose Point. Dogs are not allowed in any of those areas whether leashed or unleashed.

The result, as the photo from a local birder shows, can be fatal for migratory birds that use the beach to rest and feed after long and exhausting migrations. Dogs are also a danger to the 11 bird species that nest at Montrose Beach. We’re sharing the stark photo of a Stilt Sandpiper, a rare bird for Montrose that was killed this past month by a dog that was on the beach illegally, to emphasize the importance of being thoughtful neighbors by only allowing dogs where they are permitted and always keeping dogs on-leash outside Montrose Dog Beach.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely part of the majority of people who love setting their pup free inside the dog beach, and then considerately leashes them on your way in and out. So we’re asking for your help to spread the word - both digitally and in person.


Thanks for your continued help keeping the beach safe, clean and fun for everyone.


Sandpiper being attacked by a off-leash dog

While the County and Chicago Park District post a long set of rules for the Dog Friendly Areas, we would like to remind everyone who uses the DFA of these essential rules:

 1. Be sure to get a new DFA tag at a participating local vet.

2. No food on the beach.

3. No prong collars.

4. No more than 3 dogs per person.

5. Pick up after your dog.

6. When you leave the Dog Friendly Area, make sure your dog is on a leash. 

Those bags aren't free!


The Bag dispensers at the entrances have been a great help in keeping the beach clean, but they aren't free.  Mondog purchases bags and fills the bag dispensers on the Dog Beach.

Donating to Mondog is a great way to support the dog beach, and keep those dispensers full. Help us help you keep Montrose Dog Beach safe and clean by making a donation today. Your donations are tax deductible.



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