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Tag: crackdown

Lotsa bark, little bite: Chicago crackdown on unlicensed dogs fizzles out

chicagodogbeach

Was all that talk about a crackdown on unlicensed dogs in the Windy City just bluster?

Chicago’s much publicized threat to conduct sweeps at dogs parks and beaches, track down scofflaws and issue tickets carrying fines of up to $200 — all in effort to get more of the estimated 653,000 canines living there registered — never really got rolling.

City Clerk Susana Mendoza said Tuesday that, despite publicity, free rabies clinics, contests and other citywide events aimed at encouraging dog registrations, licenses  rose only from about 30,000 to 40,000 this year.

Mendoza , who testified this week at City Council budget hearings, said her office followed through on creating incentives for dog owners to get licenses, but the city’s Commission on Animal Care and Control ”dropped the ball” when it came to the enforcement side of the campaign.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that was likely  “either because it is inundated and understaffed or because Mayor Rahm Emanuel changed executive directors just when a ticket blitz was supposed to begin with stings at dog parks and beaches.”

For years, dog owners who failed to purchase dog licenses were all but ignored by the city.

That changed in 2005, when software was put in place allowing a county list of dogs who had received rabies shot to be compared to a much shorter list of licensed dogs in the city.

Warning letters were mailed to those whose names appeared on the county’s list, but not the city’s.

Those produced only a small surge in registrations. Two years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel endorsed the planned crackdown — with fines for violators — but that produced only another small surge, and the stiffer enforcement that was promised never took place.

Licenses are $5-a-year for spayed and neutered dogs, $50 for those that are not, and $2.50 for dog owners who are senior citizens. Fines for unregistered dogs run from $30 to $200. (You can learn more about registering your dog in Chicago here.)

Mendoza estimated Chicago’s dog population at more that 500,000 but others say it exceeds 653,000.

Despite the “tremendous job” her department did, Mendoza said, the crackdown “was really predicated on a strong enforcement effort, which we’re not responsible for . . . I have not seen a crackdown that I would feel comfortable with in terms of really getting people to license their dogs. I’m very disappointed in it.”

Still more ado about poo

In a episode nearly as ludicrous as the case of the soiled condominium, an English great-grandmother was threatened with a £50 fine for picking up the wrong dog’s poop.

Pam Robson was accused by Sunderland Council wardens of failing to clean up after Derik, her Labrador, in a field in Houghton-le-Spring in January.

The council said the 60-year-old had picked up droppings that emanated from a different dog, according to the BBC.

How they knew that, I’m not sure, for Sunderland is not one of those jurisdictions that are performing DNA analysis on dog poop — a step that has been proposed at a condominium right here in Baltimore.

The board of the Scarlett Place Condominiums on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is considering a proposal to create a DNA database of its canine residents, then sending offending feces to a lab in an effort to find out exactly who, among their residents, is allowing their dog to poop in its ritzy hallways, and not picking it up.

Yes, everyone should pick up their dog’s waste — but going to such forensic lengths, and fining people for not picking up the right pile, are the actions of obsessive, power hungry control freaks who need to find better causes.

In Robson’s case, she refused to pay the fine and was threatened with court action.

Robson said she had been talking to her daughter on her cell phone when her dog ran off and did it’s doody. Robson walked over, scooped up a pile, and then was approached by two men (because policing poopers is apparently too dangerous a job to do alone).

“He said it was the wrong mess and that he was going to issue me with a fine for £50,” Robson recalled. “I picked up the other mess too and put it in the bag but he said I’d still be fined.”

“It felt like the worst kind of bullying,” she said.

Sunderland City Council, after she complained and asked for a review, later wrote to Robson, saying: “Officers at the time were satisfied that an offence had been committed. However it appears you may have collected faeces belonging to another dog.” In light of that, the note said, the council would not be pursuing the fine.

Four Missouri dogfighters sentenced to prison

A federal judge in St. Louis sentenced four Missouri men who admitted taking part in a multi-state dogfighting ring to more than a year of prison each today.

“These dogs were subjected to the kind of cruelty that is sometimes unspeakable for the purpose of entertainment,” U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson said during the sentencing hearing. “Most people would find it difficult to take pleasure in watching two animals tear each other apart. Unfortunately, there are people like you who facilitate this activity.”

Teddy “Teddy Bogart” Kiriakidis, 50, and Ronald Creach, 34, were sentenced to 18 months.  Michael “Missouri Mike” Morgan, 38, and Robert Hackman, 56, were sentenced to one year plus one day in federal prison, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The sentences exceeded federal recommendations.

All four men pleaded guilty in September to a charge of conspiracy to violate federal animal fighting laws. Kiriakidis and Creach received longer sentences because they both have prior felony convictions.

“Animals were severely maimed and killed as part of this conspiracy,” Jackson said. “I have to fashion a sentence that deters … and I hope people think twice about getting involved in this kind of activity.”

The defendants were among more than two dozen people in Missouri, Illinois and other states arrested this summer after an 18-month federal investigation into dogfighting. More than 400 dogs were seized and handed over to the Humane Society of Missouri in July in what has been called the largest crackdown on dogfighting in U.S. history.

Hackman operated Shake Rattle and Roll Kennel, Morgan operated Cannibal Kennel, and Creach operated Hard Goodbye Kennel.

In their pleas, Hackman and Creach said that after a Jan. 3 fight, Kiriakidis helped electrocute the losing dog, a female pit bull named Roho. Creach admitted that he killed a dog named Shady because she didn’t perform well in a practice fight.

The largest crackdown on dogfighting — ever

The most ambitious crackdown on dogfighting in American history has now led to the seizure of more than 450 dogs, with raids and arrests in eight states.

Following an investigation initiated by the The Humane Society of Missouri, officers from multiple federal and state law enforcement agencies made arrests and seized dogs in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in what was ”the largest simultaneous raid of multiple dogfighting operations in the history of the United States,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

“This intervention is a momentous victory in our ongoing battle to end the cruel, criminal dogfighting industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. 

Pacelle reported on his blog: “Four United States Attorneys and a bevy of federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA, raided multiple dogfighting operations, and seized at least 450 dogs, in what was the largest single day of actions against dogfighting in American history.”

The Humane Society of Missouri is sheltering more than 300 dogs —  mostly pit bulls — seized in the Missouri and Illinois raids. The dogs will be housed, cared for and evaluated at an  emergency shelter in St. Louis.

Read more »

Crackdown on unleashed dogs in Riverside

Just a quick word of warning for those who take their dogs to Riverside Park in South Baltimore.

Police and animal control officers were at the park today, prepared to dispense some of the city’s new $1,000 citations for violation of the leash law, according to our sources.

The same newly increased penalty applies to owners who fail to pick up their dog’s waste.

Crackdowns usually take place when the weather gets nice, and, thanks to the city council, they now carry a much higher price tag. So, no matter which city park you and your dog visit, watch your step — in every meaning of the phrase.

More leash law citations issued in Baltimore

Three times in 10 days, Baltimore city animal control officers and police have descended on the park at Mount Vernon Square to cite dog owners whose dogs were off their leashes.

According to a Baltimore Sun report, the crackdown was prompted by complaints from area residents who say some dog owners allow their pets to run wild and destroy flower beds.

Failing to have a dog on a leash results in a $100 fine for a first offense and up to a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders. Bob Anderson, director of the Animal Control Office, said those fines could soon increase. Officers have also been citing dog owners who do not pick up their dogs’ waste.

With spring on the way, and the city in financial straits, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more of these  — even more than the advent of warmer weather traditionally brings. Most likely, there will be one coming soon to a park near you.

Watch for a lone and dogless undercover officer acting like he’s enjoying a day in the park. If he sees you, he’ll escort you to animal control officers hiding nearby. There you’ll receive your ticket, while police stand by to make sure you don’t abscond. At least that’s how it works at the park I frequent.

Meanwhile, I suggest we all be good dog owner-citizens, keep our dogs on leashes (at least when the authorities are around), scoop our poop, and make sure our dogs don’t tiptoe through, or pee on, the tulips.

Another city crackdown on unleashed dogs

As they periodically do, Baltimore animal control officers and city police have cracked down on unleashed dogs — this time at Mount Vernon Square near the Washington Monument this week.

Bob Anderson, director of Baltimore Animal Control, estimated fewer than 10 dog walkers have been cited in the past three days for failing to have their dogs on leash.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the sweeps followed citizen complaints about dogs bothering people in the park.

Failing to have a dog on the leash can result in a $100 fine for the first offense and a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders. Those fines are set to go up soon, Anderson said.

City law requires dogs to be on a leash when not on their owner’s property. For my experiences with the law, you can click here.

According to the Sun, Anderson pointed out that dog owners have the option of using “the city’s dog parks” to let their pets run off leash.

In reality, the city of Baltimore has only one dog park, in Canton, though the city has promised to add more – with the first of them opening later this year in Latrobe Park in Locust Point. 

In all the city parks, as they now exist, leash laws apply — and with the weather warming up, expect crackdowns soon at a park near you.