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Dog-Licensing Numbers Lowest in the Loop, but Stats Poised to Change

 The Loop has the fewest registered dogs in Chicago, according to a DNAinfo Chicago study.
Loop Dog Ownership
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THE LOOP — Based on city dog registration numbers, you'd think Loop residents don't like dogs at all — or maybe they just don't like licensing them.

Three of the four ZIP codes contained exclusively within the Loop ranked in the bottom four for dog registration numbers in the city, a DNAinfo Chicago study of dog registration numbers found. Only 76 dogs were registered in the 60602, 60603 and 60604 in August 2013, according to the City Clerk's Office, which counted 38,525 licensed dogs citywide that month.

The numbers remain low even though the area has seen steady residential growth. Between 2000 and 2010, the Loop population more than doubled from 7,056 to 15,710.

Liz Felde lives in Logan Square, but works in the Loop. Once a week, she brings her pit bull/boxer mix Duke for "puppy play dates" at her friend's apartment at Washington and Dearborn streets.

Felde said her friend's spacious apartment gives the pups plenty of space to run, but she doesn't think the neighborhood's conducive to dog ownership.

"Aside from just walking around to take them out, I don't feel like there's a lot of places in the Loop to take them," she said, adding that she wasn't surprised the Loop's dog-licensing numbers were low.

"As long as I had a dog, I don't think I'd move into the Loop," Felde said. "It would be super convenient to live here, but I'd feel bad having a dog in the Loop. ... [In Logan Square] I have a little backyard that's fenced in. It's not a great yard space, but it's better than living in a high-rise with just an elevator to get downstairs."

Adjacent neighborhoods, like the South Loop and River North, don't have the same dearth of dog licenses. Both have vibrant, pet-loving communities packed with dog parks and dog-friendly areas.

In the nearby Fulton River District, dog owners walk their pups in such high numbers that area parks were flooded with poop last summer — so much so that one "Movies in the Park" screening had to be canceled.

When Maggie Daley Park opens in 2015, it will permit leashed dogs — good news for people like Tim Cross, 60, who lives across the street from Millennium Park and said his Queensland heeler, Murph, never has enough Downtown spots to hang out.

"It's hard," Cross said. "I'm glad [Maggie Daley Park] is going to be dog-friendly. I was worried they were gonna cut us out. I was hoping they would put an area where they could go off-leash," like Grant Bark Park, an 18,000-square-foot dog-friendly area at Columbus Drive and 11th Street he frequents.

With a 515-foot tower in the works at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street bringing 432 new residences to the Loop by 2016, demand for dog-friendly infrastructure in the heart of the city could rise if animal lovers move into the building.

At the very least, a growth in dog registration numbers Downtown would require more cleanup stations and doggie bags scattered around the neighborhood — if the ongoing battle over dog poop in neighboring areas is any indication.

As Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said in the fall during a conversation about pet waste in the central business district, "We've got some real turkeys for neighbors" who don't clean up after their dogs.