Chicago ordinance cracks down on smell of horse urine

March 31, 2011

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(Flickr/Grant Gochnauer)

A new Chicago ordinance requires carriage drivers to clean up the urine horses leave behind.

You may never guess it, but cleaning up after horses has been an issue for decades in Chicago's City Council. Former Alderman Burt Natarus was famous for his bluntness in proposing that horses in his downtown ward wear diapers.

"Now when a horse poops on the street, people complain," Natarus told reporters when he left office in 2007.

But the City Council of today has shifted focus from horse poop to horse urine.

In a newsletter to constituents, current downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly's office wrote they get complaints about the smell of horse urine.

The new ordinance calls for carriage drivers to immediately dilute the horse urine with a liquid that is quote "eco-friendly, safe, recyclable, non-toxic and non-harmful to people and property."

Dan Sampson runs Noble Horse, one of the companies that gives carriage rides downtown. He said it's a waste of the city's time and money and that horse urine doesn't smell.

"What the city's doing now, it's just crazy. Absolute crazy," Sampson said. "It's not only unsafe and it's unreasonable, but it's ridiculous and nonsensical."

In the newsletter, Alderman Reilly's office calls the smell a "nuisance" and a "very serious concern."