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The Tally Ho

Monday, June 12, 2006

Unfortunate news from Chicago

Despite the freakishly cool weather, summer is still bringing out the worst in the city's criminal youth, as reported by a friendly watchdog in the city's far-north Rogers Park neighborhood. (Fargo is a great source for neighborhood news and pictures, which you should read if you're interested in a ground-level view of the city.) I work in this neighborhood from time to time, and I feel a little protective of it. However, it has the same problems that the rest of the city does.

Chicago is considering an ordinance to allow dogs in restaurants. Chicago is supposedly a quite dog-friendly town, and already we have a Take Your Dog To Dinner night, where the pooches get gourmet and the restaurants get fined for participating. The department of public health worries about contamination. A professor of animal science worries about dog obesity. I worry that after the LATimes readers hear the names of the dogs interviewed for the story (Princess? Star? Mitzie? Prada?), they and their pets will decide to spend their tourist dollars elsewhere.


  • There's a lot more crime in Rogers Park than just that one. The real issue here is that the police have been running around telling people they can't do anything unless they have a police report (I kid you not - they've put that in writing). Meanwhile, our incumbent Alderman has been touting decreased crime statistics as a sign he's doing a good job. There's other stuff too.

    As for the dog thing, don't pay too much attention to the Gold Coasters they interviewed for that story - Chicagoans, and especially the dog owners, aren't those people. Right now, it's technically illegal to have your dog at a sidewalk cafe, and there are a lot of dog owners and sidewalk cafes around here. So the law is wildly overprotective. Probably more importantly, health regulations should be based in good science, and there's no scientific indication that there's a health risk in having a dog in a place where birds shit on the tables all day and all night. No one thinks they should be in the kitchen or storerooms, but no one is proposing having them there.

    Germans and French take their dogs into restaurants, and they're not exactly keeling over from disease or collapse of all belief in rules. There are a fair number of Chicago bars that let dogs in. Because they serve "food," beer and potato chips, it's technically illegal, but there's no good reason for the ban, and in years of having dogs in bars, I've never seen a problem. Banning dogs from restaurants and bars is a holdover from 1950s "scientific" hypercontrol.

    By Blogger Thomas Westgard, at 12:27 PM  

  • You should come to Portland then! Portland is very dog friendly and at a lot of restaurants or even stores, you can bring your dog. Of course, there are places that don't allow it, but dogs can be seen just about everywhere and most people don't seem to mind, as long as the dog is well behaved. I certainly don't mind, as long as the dog keeps quite!

    By Blogger Heather in PDX, at 1:03 PM  

  • Off topic completely.

    Thanks for what you said on L's post about breastfeeding. I didn't mean that comment to turn into a rant but I'm 68 and have seen so many "theories" come and go over the years.

    How did I miss your blog? I'll be back and meantime you're more than welcome at "granny" or Is America Burning

    Ann (aka Granny)

    By Blogger Granny, at 2:51 AM  

  • Granny, thanks so much for coming by! Don't worry, "topic" is obviously not an ironclad law in this blog.

    Heather, I would love to see Portland, in that case! I don't have any dogs, and don't really plan to get any, but I love to socialize with other people's pooches. I just want to be a dog Aunt.

    Thomas W, I totally agree that the dog law is overprotective... I also think it's funny that Taste of Heaven and their "well-behaved kids" sign made it into another out-of-state news source, as a contrast to dog tolerance in Andersonville. I feel that there's not much difference in my attitude between dogs and young kids; if you train them to behave well in public, you can take them anywhere and they'll be a credit to you and of value to the neighborhood. If you don't, you really can't take them anywhere at all without getting The Stare.

    But just imagine if the public health department barred diapered kids from restaurants as a sanitary measure... it would be appalling, but also hilarious.

    By Blogger Trope, at 9:14 AM  

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