CHICAGO – Chicago dogs need. The city’s animal rescue organizations are raising the alarm about a serious population problem at Animal Care and Control.
Unfortunately, more and more dogs are entering animal control, which has led to increased euthanasia rates compared to last year.
In total, animal control officers have picked up more than 4,000 dogs since the beginning of 2022, in addition to those brought directly to the shelter.
“There are a lot of animals coming to the shelter right now. They either come as strays, owners surrender them or confiscate them. It’s definitely an influx right now,” said Armando Tejeda, public information officer for Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Much also depends on the economy.
“A lot of people aren’t working right now. Some people have gone back to work and don’t have time for their pet anymore,” Tejeda said. “Evictions have started again, so that’s part of what we’re seeing as well.”
According to a FOX 32 Chicago Freedom of Information request, about a third of these dogs came from three zip codes: Roseland, South Chicago and Chatham.
“We found that these are areas, based on our data, that correspond to places that were simply underserved areas in general in Chicago,” Tejeda said. “So if you look at places like Roseland and Austin, there’s not a lot of green space there, for people in general, but also for dogs. There are no dog parks. These places are pretty much deserted when it comes to taking care of dogs. pets.”
Animal control officials say that, overall, they have been faced with a large dog population since pandemic restrictions began to be lifted.
“There are so many coming in that we are trying to find other avenues for these dogs to go,” Tejeda said.
Tejeda adds that during COVID many surgeries were not being performed due to social distancing restrictions or simply that several veterinary practices were unable to obtain the medications they needed to perform these surgeries.
Chicago Animal Care and Control says efforts through partner organizations go a long way toward managing the problem, such as the sterilization partnership they have developed with PAWS Chicago.
“So, we partnered with Animal Care and Control because there is a bottleneck in large dog adoptions,” said Susanna Wickham, CEO of PAWS Chicago. “There are actually a couple of bottlenecks. One is that they take longer to spay and neuter, especially large female dogs, so we started a couple of months ago offering weekly slots for free at the grooming and vetting of animals out of our clinic. We “Bring 10 large dogs a week here for surgery, providing the surgery, so those dogs can be adopted.”
All of the organizations FOX 32 spoke to say performing more spay and neuter surgeries and making them more accessible would go a long way toward solving the dog overpopulation problem.
“If someone is here looking to adopt a dog and that dog is already neutered, that dog can leave the same day, which means the shelter now opens for the next animal in need,” Tejeda said.
Another big step is to help keep dogs out of animal care and control in the first place – something the Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation has played a key role in since it was founded in 2014.
“We are able to defer 250 to 300 dogs a year from animal control,” said John Garrido of the Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation.
Garrido says that because his organization is an approved rescue for strays, they are able to take in dogs that come into Chicago police stations, often having great success in reuniting many dogs with their owners.
“We’re getting these animals home quickly. And we have an 85 to 89 percent return-to-owner rate,” Garrido said.
And of course, adoption, fostering or volunteering can also go a long way in getting dogs out of animal care and control.
“So when someone takes an animal into foster care it means that it creates space here at the medical center. We can take another animal out of animal care and control. So the fosters are really saving two lives,” Wickman said.
If you are interested in helping support Chicago Animal Care and Control’s dogs and rescue community in the Chicago area, please click on the following links: