A Chicago alderman is calling for new legislation restricting livestock in the city following recent allegations of animal abuse at a property in the Englewood neighborhood.
Authorities are investigating after a horse was found dead Saturday, Feb. 15, at a home on the 1000 block of W. 61st Street.
Some neighbors expressed concerns that a dog may have been eating the animal’s carcass.
Chicago police along with Animal Care and Control responded to the property where they said a deceased horse was found at the location, along with a second horse and a dog. CACC said the animals found at that location did not present any signs of mistreatment, were not emaciated and there were no signs of poor health. They also said the allegations of a dog eating the horse are unfounded.
In response, the horse's owner, Leo Beltran, called the allegations "insane."
He works and lives in Chicago, but keeps the animals on a ranch in Mendota. Beltran said the 28-year-old horse was only in the city to receive medication because it was sick.
“We brought them because they needed some medical attention which I couldn’t give to them at the farm,” he said. “We had him for many years. I loved my horse. This is a lot of sadness for me, my kids, my wife.”
The controversy has renewed calls for tighter restrictions on livestock which neighboring Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) says are limited. An ordinance he proposed in September would set minimum standards for care, impose a higher license fee and require neighbor notification.
“Until we rectify it, we will continue to have these gruesome situations in our neighborhoods,” said Ald. Lopez. “We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to ensure the city’s quality of life is maintained, and these animals are treated humanely by people who are meant to have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure their well being.”
Ald. Lopez hopes there is renewed interest in his proposed ordinance at the next city council meeting in February. Currently, it is legal to keep a horse in the city of Chicago as long as the animals are licensed and receive proper care.
CACC says only one citation was issued to the property owner over the weekend for failure to provide updated vaccine records. However, there have been multiple complaints about animals at the property and past citations. NBC5 Investigates has found at least five complaints to Chicago’s 311 system, about problems with animals at 1020 West 61st Street, over a six-month period in 2019:
- March 31, 2019 – A “Nuisance Animal Complaint”
- July 27, 2019 – A “Nuisance Animal Complaint”
- Aug. 16, 2019 – A “Pet Wellness Check Request” was filed
- Oct. 1, 2019 – A “Pet Wellness Check Request” was filed
- Sept. 25, 2019 – A “Building Violation”complaint was filed
CACC confirmed the department issued six citations last year — four for one horse and two for the dog, for failure to have a license or proof of up-to-date vaccines, as well as failure to set up a screen frame to help address issues with fly bites during the summer.
The issues have since been corrected.