Mayor Rahm Emanuel made light of the dog licensing issue at a Friday news conference, but in the end, expressed support for plans to enforce the law.
The ordinance, which has been on the books for years, states that dog owners must license their pets, but only close to 28,000 dogs are licensed in the city, even though the population is estimated at more than 500,000.
City officials plan to start fining dog owners between $30 and $200 next year if their dogs are not licensed.
"We have a 9.8 percent unemployment and I have two questions on the unlicensed dog," Emanuel said Friday when responding to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman's query.
But after some good-natured ribbing, Emanuel explained the reasoning behind the coming enforcement.
"If we have a policy in place, I want it enforced. People should reflect and the enforcement should reflect that you can't have some people abiding by the law and others getting a break. So I want a comprehensive approach that way," Emanuel said.
Licenses for dogs who have been spayed or neutered cost just $5; otherwise, it's $50.