From the Ashes, 1872-1900
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives

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November 13, 1872

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During the 1870s Chicago was still experiencing serious problems with stray cattle, horses, swine, sheep and goats roaming the streets, eating vegetation, fouling their paths, and generally causing a nuisance. In May of 1871 the city council addressed this problem with a revised pound ordinance. Substantial new pounds were to be constructed in each of the three divisions. To each pound was appointed a keeper who was paid $100 per annum plus impounding fees. In the West Division the pound limits consisted of West Indiana Street on the north, Western Avenue on the west, West Harrison Street on the south, and the Chicago River on the east.

If a stray animal was found unattended, the pound keeper or a private citizen could take it to the pound and be paid fifty cents for each animal so removed. If one discovered that one's animal had been impounded, he could recover his beast by paying a fine of three dollars plus a fifty-cent impounding fee. An additional fifty cents was charged for the animal's sustenance for each day it was held at the pound. If an animal went unclaimed, it was sold at auction after public notice had been given. The proceeds went to the city after all fees had been deducted. If one tried to retrieve an animal from the pound without the keeper's permission or if one interfered with the removal of an animal to the pound, the offender was subject to a fine of up to twenty dollars.

In this instance the council's Committee on Finance refused the petition. It found that the fine had been imposed in accordance with the pound ordinance and chose not to consider the mitigating circumstances Patrick Carey described.

Points to Consider

Why was Patrick Carey asking for a refund of his fine?

What was west of Western Avenue in 1872 and what is there now?

Why were fines and fees of twenty-eight dollars "a great hardship" to Patrick Carey?

Why would Mr. Carey have been herding his cattle in an area west of Western Avenue?

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