I was hoping to get into the Christmas spirit and write something warm and fuzzy for the blog today. But, thanks to the good, the bad and the ugly of animal rescue, that isn’t going to happen. There is good news this week, thanks to efforts of animal advocates to keep North Chicago no kill. But, Critter Cache in Joliet has received the bad news that they need a new home. And, then there’s the ugly out of Lowell, Indiana.
First, the good news
Since my friend Dana Deutsch took over as animal control officer in North Chicago 2 ½ years ago, she has done what looked impossible a few short months before she was hired – gone 100 percent no kill (see story). Since she took over the beleaguered department all the adoptable animals that came into her care have been either reunited with their families or gone to rescue. She hasn’t had to euthanize a single animal for space.
Her no kill record was about to be upended by four aldermen who felt that killing cats was a good thing for North Chicago. They opposed the successful Trap Neuter Return (TNR) policy that had stabilized the community’s stray and feral cat population. When word hit last week, animal lovers came out in force (see post).
Petitions were signed and North Chicago’s city council meeting on Monday was packed with animal lovers who gave strong data and information about why TNR works and why it should be kept. Local rescues and cat lovers stepped up to testify. The group was also joined by Jenny Schlueter of Tree House Humane Society (who was instrumental in TNR taking root in Cook County). A wide range of other rescuers and legal experts also came to weigh in on an important issue.
Thanks to a joint effort, North Chicago’s TNR program stands…and cats (and Dana) have gotten a nice holiday reprieve. (Note: There are still issues brewing at some colony sites, so stay tuned.
The bad news
Cache Creek Animal Rescue is a small rescue organization in Joliet that has done a great job saving cats and dogs in Southern Illinois and Kentucky from high kill, open admission shelters, owner surrenders and puppy mill rescues. They’ve rescued the animals and kept them in their no kill shelter until they’ve been able to find homes for the dogs and cats in their care.
Unfortunately, the Grinch has visited them for Christmas and they need to be out of their current location because their building isn’t up to code and they’ve been at odds with their landlord over who is responsible for repairs. They also have issues with their shelter in Anna, Illinois where most of the animals come in for intake.
They have until January 10th to find a new home for the 30 to 45 animals in their care. It’s a tough order to fill this time of year.
Other shelters are bursting at the seams over the holidays and it’s hard to find a good, safe place to land dozens of animals on such sort notice. Their goal is to raise $50k to keep their shelter open. They’ve set up a GoFundMe campaign to help. Please pitch in and if you know of a place in their area that can take them in...let them know.
There is good news though. Since the media coverage has hit on their plight, donations have come rolling in. Now, it's time to find a new home.
The ugly, real ugly story in Lowell, Indiana
This particular story has me angrier than the normal stories of pets kept in squalor for a number of reasons. Paws Here Foundation has been shutdown and 10 dogs have been pulled from their care. They were emaciated, filthy and at least two dead German Shepherds were found on the property. A mass grave of dead dogs is also reportedly there.
This particular story is not only ugly, it has me and a lot of other people I know pissed off, hopping mad, fuming (pick your favorite adjective).
Because, these dogs were rescued this past summer from deplorable conditions. Lots of rescues pitched in to help pull them from their breeder/puppy mill/hoarder situation (you pick here too, they all really apply). Several of my rescue connections stepped in to get the dogs to safety. Unfortunately, the dogs moved from a hellhole to another bad situation on a farm outside Lowell, Indiana.
I am heartbroken over the fate of the dogs. But, I’m very angry because I also supported the rescue efforts and blogged about the rescue in July. There were a few times during the interview I did on that situation when I had an uneasy feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A few of my friends had also mentioned the same thing.
Now, the rescued are being rescued again. Some dogs never really got a reprieve because they moved from squalor to a situation where they died. I know that many rescues are in over their head…but in this case…Paws Here had made connections with a lot of other rescues in their community. There was help available if they had asked. No dogs needed to die or starve or go through whatever happened there.
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