Ald. Raymond Lopez Calls For More Regulation Of Farm Animals In ChicagoBy Steven Graves

CHICAGO (CBS) — There was outrage in Englewood Sunday over a dead horse found in the backyard of a neighborhood home.

Then scene unfolded Sunday morning, when activists clashed with an owner who they say should face consequences.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, the local alderman is now getting involved.

It was an unusual, dismal discovery on 61st Street near Carpenter Street Sunday morning. Chicago Animal Care and Control was on the scene as a company hauling away a dead horse that was in a condition too graphic to show on television.

“I wanted to cry,” said animal activist Michelle Pietzke. “I really wanted to cry when I saw all of this today.”

Police were notified about the dead horse on Saturday, but officers came back out Sunday.

Pietzke came after he friend relayed something even more disturbing.

“A dog that was on the property was actually eating the deceased horse,” Pietzke said.

But the horse’s owner said that never happened. After some convincing, he came off his porch to talk with Graves.

“We bring only the ones that need help,” said Leo Beltran.

Beltran said he brought the aging horse named Casper to his Englewood residence from his ranch outside the city.

He said Casper died on Saturday after treatment, but the horse lay in Beltran’s yard because he needed help taking the animal away.

“I think it would have been worse if I would have left it at the ranch to die and I would have found out days later,” Beltran said.

Beltran said he has licensing to keep horses at the Englewood site. But he said people who aren’t even neighbors keep accusing him of neglect.

CBS 2 found four nuisance animal and pet complaints were filed with 311 over the past year.

But now, aldermen like Raymond Lopez (15th) want to see more regulation of farm animals in the city.

His proposal is being met with opposition from groups such as urban farmers, who say it threatens their livelihood.

“I think we can find a balance, but refusing to address the issue and engage in a discussion is leading to situations like this,” Lopez said.

Activists say it could lead to harsher punishment. But as of Sunday, police said this case in Englewood is in the hands of Animal Care and Control. The owner said he is not worried about it.

Meanwhile, Lopez’s proposed ordinance is in committee. It also has the backing of Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th), whose ward includes the site where officers found the horse.