Pit bull confronts city worker in alley

January 5, 2012 4:36:28 AM PST
A pit bull confronted a city Streets and Sanitation worker in an alley Wednesday morning, just two days after two unleashed pit bulls mauled a jogger on the city's South Side,

Now, there is a call for dog owners to be more responsible for their pets.

The most recent incident happened Wednesday morning in an alley near 84th and Sangamon as the city worker was emptying garbage.

Less than 30,000 dogs are licensed in the city, but there are an estimated 500,000 dogs in Chicago. A campaign to educate dog owners kicked off Wednesday about the need to license their pets. But recent events have sparked a bigger discussion about how to hold pet owners responsible.

Wednesday morning, a dog owner on South Sangamon was cited for not restraining his dog and for not having a dog license. The ticket was the result of an incident behind the home as a Streets and Sanitation worker was apparently confronted by the dog. Police say she injured her back in the confrontation but did not suffer any bites.

The incident comes after a jogger was bitten multiple times by two dogs on the lakefront. On Monday, Joseph Finley was critically injured by dogs that had apparently gotten loose from a nearby neighbor. Jimmy Johnson was issued tickets in that case. He faces a $2,000 fine.

Wednesday, some local officials suggested the penalties should be stronger for irresponsible dog owners.

"What I do think we need to consider, though, are stiffer penalties for people who are not licensed, and whose animals are in attack, like what happened over the weekend," said Chicago Clerk Suzanna Mendoza. "I don't think it's by any means fair to just give that person a $30 ticket for not complying with their license."

Mendoza urges dog owners to properly license their pet

"I do think we need to crack down more importantly than on the animal, on irresponsible owners of those animals as well," said Mendoza.

Alderman Bob Fioretti is drafting a proposal to study city ordinances about dog ownership.

"I think it's got to be comprehensive and thoughtful," said Fioretti. "And it can't be a kneejerk reaction. Usually, when we experience something as violent as this, people are out there, 'Let's do this, let's do that.' And we've got to come up with some kind of thoughtful approach."

Fioretti says the focus an any ordinance should be to protect residents and prevent incidents like what happened Monday.

"We have a high concentration of individuals in the city. We have a high concentration of pet owners in the city. And now we need to find some kind of solutions to avoid this tragedy that occurred," Fioretti said.

Alderman Fioretti plans to introduce his proposal at City Council later this month.

To register your dog in Chicago, your dog must have a current rabies vaccine. The fee for a spayed or neutered dog is $5.