Why Won't Chicago Animal Care and Control Punish Irresponsible Owners?

Why Won't Chicago Animal Care and Control Punish Irresponsible Owners?

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.


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  • hmm...I'd read the blog post, but the link you posted does not work!

  • Lots of links in the story - you mean the one in big letters? It does work - I tried it, always do before I post. I tried it just now too....

  • Thanks, got it now. I was clicking on the bold "click to read story" text. You have to click on the actual text before that for it to go through. All the other links show up clearly as links (in red).

  • ur right - don't know why it linked that way....

  • interesting ideas and good writing - I don't agree with most of it, though!! Too bad the blogger chooses to remain anonymous, but I understand why.

  • hapercollie - you can agree or not - but what I wrote is mostly fact. I appreciate your comments on the blog, and would be happy to actually speak with you anytime. CACC in Chicago has become a national disgrace, at least according to the people I meet randomly at conferences. . . Some come up to me and tell me they are grateful they don't live in Chicago where things have gotten so bad so fast.

    And there's much more - and it's all true, not my opinion to be right or wrong....and it's very sad.

  • Safe Humane Chicago gets funding for the Court Case Dog Program which is supposed to socialize and re-hab these dogs which I think is terrific. But I don't believe housing a dog in sub-standard living conditions and taking it out for just a half hour a day can be considered effective re-hab. These dogs need to be removed from ACC and placed in an environment where they can get the proper and consistant attention they need.
    As for the Commission , they are appointed by the mayor as an advisory body. So what kind of reports are getting back to the mayor? If they're not reporting the truth, who is?
    Many people have tried, talked to aldermen,the mayor's office and the media and nothing was done.
    Of course the commission knows what's happening at ACC and maybe they are afraid of the director. But they need to be more afraid of the media attention when something REALLY BAD happens-like a pit breaking out and mauling a child. (Yes, that is possible the way things are now. )
    Because there will be many calling the media to say they talked to many officials and nothing was done.

  • ex emp
    you really must be an ex employee - you know of what you are saying.

    Please continue to speak the truth! thank you

  • Chicago Animal Control can't afford really stringent laws against irresponsible pit owners.
    Once an owner signs over his dog, or once a stray dog has been held 5 days, that dog becomes city property. Therefore ACC and the city become pit owners.
    And they own quite a lot. At least 60 dogs in the adoption rooms are pits or pit mixes plus another at least 60 in the back waiting.
    ACC tries to evade responsibility by specifying these dogs are to be adopted by ("experienced"?) owners who then have to sign an agreement releasing ACC from any liability.
    So if it's not the owners fault that his dogs got out and mauls someone, it's not ACC's fault that a dog they adopted out goes home and attacks your neighbor, your cat or your child.
    ACC needs to re-think it's definition of "adoptable"

  • One more thing, I don't know you are - but hope you convey to your alderman - the truth.

  • ex emp - I know....a part of the solution would be more rescues and shelters allowing for transfers - but so many I talk to say they want nothing to do with it at this point....they sad but protecting themselves....It's all a shame - and doesn't need to be this way.

  • Maybe the rescues don't have the resources needed to work with these dogs.
    Maybe they don't want the liability.
    Or maybe they just don't like being treated like trash.

  • In reply to ex emp:

    take choice 3 perhaps....and intimidated....and health issues...but mostly choice 3 - at least that is what I am told.

  • I tend to agree with the blogger. A lot of pieces fall into place.
    After all the complaints from people across the board-employees, volunteers, rescues and the public and all the bad publicity, Travis is still there. The question was "who does she know?"
    I think that question was answered.She certainly wasn't appointed because to run a large city facility.
    She was brought in specifically to change the policy on court case dogs, I believe more as a puppet than a partner.
    That's when all the problems started. If she could save the court case dogs, what a rush to be able to save everything! Place the blame somewhere else when things didn't work.
    No room--double them up
    Sick or dead animals--must have come in that way
    Filthy cages--dump the staff and bring in prisoners
    Rumor has it that the puppet has become unmanagable and confrontations have occurred.
    How much longer can this "alliance" last?--till the puppet bites?
    till they find someone else to go along with their policies?
    should they just cut the strings now?
    Time will tell

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