CITY HALL — Seeking to halt the spread of rats, the mayor and several prominent aldermen are seeking to put the legal onus on property owners to keep their lots free of dog poop.
Lead sponsors Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) submitted an ordinance at this week's City Council meeting that calls on property owners to police their lots daily to keep them free of dog poop — or else face fines of $50-$500.
The proposed ordinance amendment includes language stating: "Feces from pets deposited upon any private property must be collected and removed daily by the property's owner or agent."
The ordinance calls on the dog poop to be bagged and deposited "in a city-issued or otherwise rodent-resistant lidded waste container."
The ordinance doesn't supersede the city's standing ordinance calling for dog walkers to clean up after their pets, which sets fines in the same $50-$500 range, but it does place the onus on homeowners and building owners to make sure their lots are clean on a daily basis.
Of course, it holds homeowners responsible for keeping their own backyards free of their pets' waste as well.
It justifies the measure by pointing out the city registered 32,855 rat complaints through 311 calls in 2014, 36,425 last year and is on pace for 50,000 this year.
That's after the Orkin pest-control firm named Chicago the nation's "rattiest" city in 2013 and 2014.
"One of the rodents' main food sources in the city is the pet excrement they find in alleys, yards and front lawns," the ordinance states.
Aldermen Milly Santiago (31st), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Deb Mell (33rd) and Carrie Austin (34th) have also signed on as co-sponsors.
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