Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States, but estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million. And unfortunately, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes.
Shockingly, 25% of animals that end up in a shelter are purebred, and only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.
With extreme numbers of homeless or neglected animals amazing organizations who tirelessly work on the behalf of animals, like the SPCA, exist. Unfortunately, we see that sometimes good intentions aren’t enough and see rescue leagues with problems of their own. Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) is one in particular with serious issues involving skills, training, and drive.
In April 2015, a dog named Missy was put in a CACC vehicle after an adoption event and forgotten there for five days with little food or water. Which is something that can have an animal removed from a home. Luckily Missy survived this ordeal, but that does not excuse the CACC employees’ negligence.
In May 2014, the facility accidentally euthanized a 5 year-old rescue dog named Chance. The reason for his death was that he wasn’t put on a “do not kill” list. He was only at the facility for 9 days before he was needlessly killed.
Just a few weeks ago, a video was released showing the horrific strangling of a shelter dog at the CACC facility. The workers used two catchpoles to restrain Spike with two loops around his neck, cutting off his oxygen. You can see him jumping around surrounded by several workers. When they step away, Spike is no longer moving. Then one of the workers drags Spike down the hall by the catchpole that was still looped around his neck. Spike reportedly died 30 minutes later.
The employees directly involved in these instances of animal neglect and abuse have been reprimanded, and the director has since retired. But the years of reported abuse and neglect at the CACC facility suggest a much deeper problem than just a few bad eggs. There needs to be some serious reforms at the CACC facility and until their track record improves, there also needs to be regular third party inspections and surveillance.
There are cases like these all across the country, but we can only do so much at one time, together. If we put enough of a national spotlight on Chicago’s animal abuse problem, then it is more likely that the city’s government will take concrete steps to better ensure the animals in their care are safe.
You can sign the petition created by Susan Raatz, who has been rescuing dogs in the Chicago, IL area for 15 years. When Susan saw the recently released video from the CACC, she decided it was her time to address the issues to the attention of Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel. Share your voice here.