City Hall recently decided to crack down on rats by fining Chicago property owners for dog poop not removed within 24 hours. Two weeks ago, I offered to bring animal advocates and property management groups to the table to help Mayor Emanuel work on meaningful legislation that holds pet owners responsible and changes behavior of those individuals that do not pick up after their pets. The ordinance as presented does neither. It is a fact that we are seeing a rodent explosion in many communities,but putting blame solely on pet and/or property owners is misleading and wrong.
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The possible unintended consequences resulting from this ordinance are real. First, tickets are not received in a timely manner, thereby not seriously raising “awareness” with a problem property owner for up to six months. Second, property owners may not be the actual owner of the animal, and thereby would be punished for someone else’s responsibility. Third, landlords may ask for a change in the Tenant’s Rights Ordinance demanding that security deposits be withheld from animal renters pending any possible citations from their outgoing tenant. Fourth, landlords may decide animal owners simply are not worth the risk and choose not to rent to them. Fifth, we are not addressing other more likely causes for the increase in rodents, particularly the massive water/sewer main replacement program in effect throughout Chicago. Lastly, the central dietary argument for this ordinance fails to address all the many food sources of rodents: what’s next, ticketing people for gardens, mulch bins and bird feeders? They also attract rats, but do not have fines associated with them — yet.
We have all the laws we need to address any concern Chicago residents have on this issue. Our time and energy should be used on more important matters, such as simply enforcing the laws we already have on the books.
Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward
Who made fireworks legal?
This 4th of July weekend has been the worst in terms of fireworks nonsense that I can recall in my 67 years as a citizen in this city. The new superintendent of police had previously indicated that he would use all of his tools during this weekend to curb wrongdoing. What exactly were the police doing during this outrageous craziness? Are fireworks legal?
Mike Koskiewicz, Portage Park
Trump’s foolish take on terrorism
In response to the suicide bombers at the airport in Turkey, Donald Trump said that we should “fight fire with fire.” This statement is preposterous and disturbing. Is he suggesting that we employ suicide bombers against terrorist organizations? Is he suggesting that we imitate the terrorists and attack innocent civilians in public locations such as restaurants, hotels, museums and airports? The fact that we play by the rules and they don’t is what makes us the good guys and them the bad guys.
Steven Stine, Highland Park