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.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, chicago, citations, city clerk, crackdown, dog, dogs, enforcement, fines, license, licenses, licensing, pets, registration, susana mendoza, sweeps, threat, tickets
Boston’s six-year-old ban on pit bulls has proven to be “all bark and no bite,” according to a review by the Boston Herald.
While the city has issued tickets in more than 518 cases since the law went into effect in 2004 — all to owners who failed to register or muzzle their pit bulls, as the law requires – the vast majority of them (four of every five) have refused to pay their $100 fines.
Instead, many of them have opted to turn their dogs over to the city, meaning that, in addition to not collecting the fine money, the city’s burdened with the expense of caring for dogs whose owners have deemed the expendable.
“It’s a disposable commodity, and they don’t care. They’re not good dog owners,” said Sgt. Charles Rudack, director of Boston Animal Control, which has no authority to force scofflaws to pay the $140,000 in unpaid fines.
Rudack said about 1,000 violators have chosen to turn over their pit bulls to Animal Control rather than pay the fine.
Pit bulls under the care of Animal Control are put up for adoption. Those that aren’t adopted or taken in by other rescues are euthanized.
City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who co-sponsored the pit bull ordinance — it requires pit bulls to be registered, muzzled in public and for their owners to display “beware of dog sign” at their homes — defended the law.
“We never said this ordinance was going to be a magic wand that would make the problem go away. What we did say is that this would be a new tool that animal control and police could use to get a better handle on what I see is a problem with pit bulls.”
State data shows pit bull and pit bull breed attacks in Boston increased between 2006 and 2008, from 25 to 46. But that trend reversed last year, when the city recorded just 30 attacks from pit bull and pit bull breeds.
Still, people like Donna Fitzgerald, whose Shiba Inu “Rocky” was attacked by an unleashed pit bull in South Boston in 2004, say banning the breed seems to be the only solution.
“I’m a dog lover and I don’t mean to sound cruel about a certain breed, but there’s just no place for them in our society,” said Fitzgerald, who now lives in Florida.
(Photo by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, animals, attacks, ban, boston, boston animal control, breed-specific, charles rudack, citations, disposable, dogs, effectiveness, fines, ignored, law, legislation, muzzles, news, ohmidog!, ordinance, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, register, relinquish, tickets, turn over, violators
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to draft an ordinance creating fines for pet owners whose dogs violate leash laws (by being off them) and noise laws (by barking too much and too loudly).
The “administrative citations” would fine pet owners, possibly as little as $25, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Owners whose barking dogs have racked up complaints from neighbors will still face the possibility of being called to a Department of Animal Services hearing. But under administrative citation law, they also could be fined immediately.
“It’s a great enforcement tool for our animal control officers on the streets,” said Kathy Davis, the interim general manager of the city’s Department of Animal Services.
It’s also a great way for the city to bring in some needed money.
Although city officials have yet to decide on a fee structure, Davis said last year that other jurisdictions assess fines of 100 to $300. Considering the nearly 20,000 “notices to comply” the city sent dog owners last year, that could have amounted to more than $2 million for Los Angeles if fines had been in place.
The city’s Department of Animal Services is facing a proposed $1.8 million in cuts to its budget — nearly that same amount.
What a coincidence.
But the city says cracking down on dog owners isn’t financially motivated; instead, it’s for protecting everyone’s peace and safety.
“The object is to make people understand how serious the issue is they’re getting cited for,” Davis said. Unleashed dogs, she said, “could go into the street and get killed, they could cause an accident. They could bite someone … there are lots of good reasons to keep that dog on a leash.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barking, california, citations, department of animal services, dogs, fines, leash law, los angeles, news, ohmidog!, penalties, pets, tickets, unleashed
An off-duty Chicago police officer shot and killed a neighbor’s German shepherd Monday, claiming the dog was preparing to attack her.
The officer said she was walking her dog, described as pug, when the neighbor’s dog escaped from the backyard, attacked her dog and then threatened her.
When police arrived after the shooting, they issued a ticket to the owner of the dead dog for not having a license.
“Like killing my dog wasn’t enough?” the neighbor, Laura Bravo, said.
The shooting happened as Bravo’s three children were heading to school. They let their dog, Malachi, out into the backyard, heard gunfire, and then saw the dog bleeding on the sidewalk.
After the Chicago Sun-Times inquired whether the officer had a license for her dog, the department checked and discovered she didn’t, a police spokesman said. The unidentified officer, a female who has been with the department about three years, was then issued one as well.
The tickets carry a fine of up to $500.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacked, chicago, dog, dogs, fine, german shepherd, killed, laura bravo, license, licensed, licenses, malachi, off duty, officer, pets, police, shot, threatened, ticket, tickets
We like this little story out of Van Buren County, Michigan.
The county board has rejected a proposed ordinance that would have allowed ticketing of dog owners if their pets barked, yelped or cried for more than 15 minutes straight between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
The ordinance, which also required that dogs be on leashes while outdoors, had been debated for more than two years, with critics calling it an intrusion on their rights. Hunters objected, as did those who use guard dogs. Only one member of the county board voted for it.
But the real reason we like it is for its dateline, for the vote was taken in the county seat – a little town called Paw Paw.
(The town is named after the Paw Paw River, which was named by Native Americans after the paw paw fruit that grew abundantly along the river’s banks.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark, barking, behavior, citations, county, county board, dog, dogs, laws, leash law, michigan, off-leash, ordinance, paw paw, paw paw fruit, pet owners, pets, proposal, tickets, town, van buren, vote