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Park District Reaffirms Dog Ban At Maggie Daley Park

(CBS) -- The Chicago Park District said Tuesday that its decision is final, and said it will not reverse the newly-imposed ban on dogs in Maggie Daley Park. But its Grant Park Advisory council heard from both sides during a meeting Tuesday night in the park's fieldhouse.

One man cited Centers for Disease Control dog-bite statistics. A woman said she once felt like a city ambassador when stopped by tourists as she walked her dog in Grant Park, but said she now is ready to move to a place that welcomes her collie.

Most other speakers, however, were far less emotional.

Supporters of the ban said the problems with dogs off their leashes and owners who fail to clean up -- despite Park District ordinances requiring leashes and clean-up -- are epidemic.


"I don't like it when they urinate in our front flower box." said one woman, while several dog owners said better planning could have prevented the standoff.

"Plan parks that we can use without destroying them," one dog-owner asked.

Several owners who live in adjacent high-rises asked for a pathway that would allow them to walk their dogs to the lakefront. Both sides agreed that existing leashing and clean-up ordinances could be better enforced.

The dog owners have been counting on the support of Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), who owns two dogs and said almost immediately that he would ask the Park District to reconsider the ban. But Reilly sent a representative to the meeting who told the crowd that the Park District Tuesday reiterated its commitment to the ban.

A ban also is in effect in neighboring Millennium Park. Most other Chicago Park District facilities allow dogs so long as they are on leashes of six feet or less and that owners clean up after them.

Some dog owners said they feel double-crossed by the city, saying they had been assured as early as two years ago that dogs would continue to be welcome in the refurbished park, built on the site of the old Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Park.

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