In my view, nearly everything at Chicago Animal Care and Control is today broken.
Check this blog post:
Who runs CACC and why won't Chicago Punish Irresponsible Pit Bull Owners? (click to read story)
I congratulate the author for having the courage to address the problems, though there are inaccuracies in the blog post (important to point out) - the essence of much is on target.
I said the 'courage' to address - but there are threats which come out of that building should anyone 'dare' to question.
Watch the video embedded - that is VERY accurate, the WGN-TV report by Marcella Raymond.
Here are some additional points:
- I've been around long enough, where at this point I've know the past five executive director's of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC), and none of the extreme problems/issues occurring there today existed with any of these others.
- I absolutely stand against breed bans, but I am an advocate of public safety. When dogs (of any breed or alleged breed or mix) attack, owners must be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law. In fact, I believe that laws ought to be looked at and perhaps be made stronger. On this, I stand with Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd ward). Still, if - as the blog states - if indeed Travis said that dog attacks by Pit Bulls (or any other breed or mix) leaving a victim in critical conditional or worse are rare, she's correct. This is not my view - it's a fact.
- To me, it's so sad that a few days after the dogs attacked the jogger, Joseph Finley, a little boy was shot and killed. That story about the boy was in the news cycle for about 24 hours - and here we are still talking about the two dogs who attacked. Listen, I am not attempting to lesson the significance of this serious dog attack. I believe it was tragic, and never should have happened. Here is my WGN Radio Podcast with Alderman Fioretti and Dr. J.B. Bruederle where all this is discussed in more detail.
- I personally question the way which dogs are deemed dangerous in Chicago, currently the deal is that the CACC executive director makes the determination. If a citizen wants to question the designation, a hearing officer will determine - the same hearing officers who deal with parking tickets (not much expertise on canine behavior there). I believe it is in the city ordinance that the primary mission of the executive director at CACC, and a primary directive of the department is to oversee public safety.
- The Commission on Animal Care and Control was originally set up to oversee the CACC executive director and the inner workings at CACC (and you'd think would be involved in hiring for the top job there too), but the Commission have been given no 'weight' by city ordinance to do any of that. Among the members of the Commission (which I was asked to be a part of twice - and declined each time thinking I could do more from the outside, and never foreseeing that what is going on there today ever could happen....I made a mistake by declining). Most Commission members there now will either not dare to question the executive director - not even privately, won't go public with what they know or simply don't know anything about what's really going on at CACC because meetings aren't attended.
- I was the founder of the Chicago Task Force of Companion Animals and Public Safety. For what it's worth, it was my idea which I then took to then Alderman Shirley Coleman. Later, Cynthia Bathurst came on as co-chair (which I am grateful), and the Task Force worked with former Alderman Gene Schulter. We even created a paradigm which proved so successful other cities followed. However, over time, the reigns were politically pulled away from me to better an individual agenda. This coincided with the post divisive mandatory spay/neuter debate (I opposed the mandate and still do as the vast majority on the Task Force opposed - but I was very public and a target), those pro MSN wanted to see me and the Task Force go away. When Alderman Schulter decided not to run for election, that's exactly what happened. It's a shame the Task Force helped to develop guidelines for dog day care in Chicago, overall opposed the mandate to pediatric spay/neuter all cats/dogs, offering veterinary expertise to the city, made it possible for dogs to legally 'dine al fresco' at restaurants who wanted this opportunity, and together we pushed back a breed ban twice by my count using facts and expertise of the volunteer members of this Task Force.
Personally, I admire some individuals and organizations mentioned in the blog post who have become entrenched with the state of affairs at CACC. The author of the blog post offers some implications which aren't on target.
For example, I was once on the steering committee of Safe Humane Chicago. Based on the original charter, and the work the group conducted when I was involved, what I saw with my own eyes was pretty impressive. Safe Humane affected a shift from an entrenched culture of violence to care for animals. Research suggests those who care for animals are more likely to be more empathetic as adults.
Chicago is too great a city to let this happen...it's a tragedy - but is continues to happen....I am astounded at how employees and volunteers CACC have been treated and most of all, ahh yes - the animals.
Tags: Alderman Bob Fioretti, Alderman Shirley Coleman, animal abuse, Best Friends, breed specific ban, BSL, Chicago Animal Care and Control, dog attacks, Pit Bulls, Safe Humane Chicago, Steve Dale, Steve Dale archives, Task Force on Companion Animals and Public Safety