WEST TOWN — A stir on Facebook and criticism from Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey led to the owner of two dogs being cited for allegedly leaving the animals outside during this week's frigid temperatures.
But the owner of the dogs said the citation was unwarranted.
"They are furry dogs," and she only let them outside for 20 minutes at a time, she argued. She also complained that the neighbors "took to Facebook" to gripe instead of talking to her directly.
"It's good people are concerned, but there's nothing to be concerned about," said Theodora Kamaratos, the owner of Lexi, a 3-year-old collie, and Lucky, age 5, a Shetland sheepdog.
After visiting a home in the 1400 block of West Fry Street in West Town, area police wrote an "Administrative Notice of Violation" ticket at 9:25 p.m. Tuesday.
The owner is accused of violating city Municipal Code 7-12-290 B, which states that no person shall fail to "provide adequate shelter for any animal on the person's care or custody with proper food, water, air or sanitary shelter."
Kamaratos has a Feb. 3 court date at the city's Central Hearing Facility, 400 W. Superior St., and could be fined $300 if found guilty.
At 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Alex Esparragoza, an investigator with Chicago Animal and Care Control, determined that there was "no cause" for the ordinance violation after visiting Kamaratos's home, according to a document signed by Esparragoza that Kamaratos provided to DNAinfo Chicago.
Brad Powers, a spokesman for Chicago Animal and Care Control said "We've been made aware of this report and visited in relation to the report and cannot provide further details because it's under investigation."
Kamaratos had been unaware of the stir a photo of one of the dogs was creating on a private Ukrainian Village Facebook page and on Fritchey's social media feed.
On Tuesday evening, Fritchey posted that he was "furious" and wrote, "I got an e-mail from a constituent about some asshat who has left their dogs outside for the last two nights. NOT acceptable and I don't even know how those poor dogs survived. I'm working to get the right people out to visit the owner asap."
Fritchey said he wanted the dogs taken from their owner.
Kamaratos said police made five visits to her home, and each time the dogs were inside.
"He [Fritchey] believed it, and never even bothered to check with me," Kamaratos said.
A local real estate agent, Kamaratos was working from home earlier this week. She said that her two dogs "always want to go outside."
Theodora's mother, Thekla Kamaratos, said that neighbors have thrown rocks at the dogs when they bark. On the Facebook page, some neighbors said the dogs frequently are left outside.
Theodora Kamaratos said she aims to contest the ticket. The citation says that a neighbor alleged that Kamaratos failed "to provide adequate shelter from cold elements."
After his initial posting Tuesday evening, Fritchey updated his Facebook page, stating that according to the responding police the dogs "appeared to be okay."
"The officer said that a neighbor came out and was willing to file a complaint but based on what they saw, they didn't feel they could order the dogs removed. I told her that I'd also file a complaint saying that I saw the dog shivering outside. The officer was very nice, and apparently a dog lover, but said she didn't have enough to go on. I'm not sure what it takes to rescue a dog under these circumstances," Fritchey wrote.
Fritchey posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon that Kamaratos had contacted his office.
"The owner of the dogs contacted my office to say she's being harassed and that people are driving by saying they are going to steal the dogs. Please do NOT do this," Fritchey wrote. "The proper authorities are handling this and I want to see it resolved in the right way. You all helped me put the wheels in motion, now please let the professionals handle this. Thank you all for your support and good intentions."