What a mess! Letter to Chicago Alderman


I sent this letter to my alderman, hoping to plant a seed. They  are terribly overpaid for the work they do. In fact, they have gotten us into a terrible fiscal mess by rubber stamping budgets submitted by out past mayor,  Hizzoner Junior, Richard M. Daley, and our current one, Rahm Emmanuel.

***

I am writing to you for two  reasons.  One is because of bad police service, & the other is because Chicago Animal Care & Control needs more money.

Last week, on a Saturday night, I let my dogs out in the yard and they started going crazy.  So, I went down to see what had gotten them so excited.  There was a cat in my stairwell.  So, I brought my dogs upstairs & hoped the cat would go home.

It did not go home. It was on my 2nd floor porch at  7:A.M. on Sunday morning. I had to go to work.  It was obviously not leaving because it had no where to go. My experience with pets has been that the cat that hangs around an environment where it almost got killed really  has no idea where to go.  It was either left by someone who moved, or, more unlikely, got out of its new home.

Anyone who knows animals and rescue knows that no animal shelter in Chicago takes lost pets—-They are supposed to go to Animal Care & Control.  CACC is a 30 mile round trip from my house.  So, my gut reaction was to take it to the 24th district police station—only a mile from my house.  I mean, that’s where you take  things you find that are lost, right?

How stupid of me. The desk officer told me not only that I should have put it over the fence, but she accused me of stealing my neighbors’ cat.  Really. Would I be bringing something I stole to the police?  & I have over 60 neighbors on my street. I did not have time to ask around, nor a way to keep this cat.

The officer bumbled around, and then she finally wanted me to fill out some paperwork, so I put the cat on the counter to do so, & she said to me, “Ma’am, you can’t do that. Pick up the cat.”  So I walked out. I had to get to work.

I volunteer with a group that does court watch that specifically addresses violation of animal care laws  (www.DAWGsite.org) , and I was referred to a board member for Treehouse Cat Shelter. She told me I should talk to the commander, because, in her police district, they have a way to get lost pets down to CACC….but she, and the person who referred me, told me that—due to  under funding, it could take CACC up to 2 weeks to collect a pet in distress.  & this is why people who find lost pets try to sell them on Craigslist. As a result, if you lose your pet in Chicago, & someone finds it, if you don’t look on Craigslist, you are, apparently …sol…

This week, I tried to talk to the commander of the 24th—& no officer would allow me to  leave a message on his voice mail. An officer who told me he was his secretary took my message that the desk officer told me I had stolen a neighbor’s cat. So, maybe you can find out if he (the commander) got my message. This could be a serious problem.

But back to CACC—-this is extremely serious. Whether you are an animal lover or not, stray, lost, and abandoned pets are a public health issues—& this is why we have dog pounds. & with this economy—even more pets are abandoned, because more are bred by ‘backyard breeders’.  Since Jan 1, I have flagged ( for removal) over 100 litters of Pit Bull pups posted on Craigslist in the Chicagoland area.  That is over 500 puppies. No other breeds.  Occasionally, you see a posting for a litter of designer dogs, or Shepherds, but it seems that not only can the ‘backyard’ Pit Bull breeders  not be able to read, they are in violation of the CL posting rules—which are because of an unfunded federal mandate  prohibiting internet sales of pet animals.  The state is broke. There is no way local law enforcement could go after all the illegal activity  on Craigslist.

I guess the thinking is that  because people see Pit Bulls puppies selling for $$$—that they think they all get sold. They do not. Most get sold to renters, who can’t legally have them, or homeowners who find their insurance doesn’t allow the breed. No matter. They end up at CACC, which can’t keep up.  Mandatory spay/neuter will not stop this.   A state law that would allow  the visiting of  breeders  posting puppies for sale & taxing them $50 per pup &  or confiscating the litter  would end the problem in less than a year (ask any shelter manager)—but would have to be done on a state level.

Thus, I am asking you, when Mayor Emmanuel submits the budget, to cut another department &  earmark at least another $200,000 for CACC. So they can get a lost or abandoned pet in 24 hours, and  take care of surrendered pets in a more humane fashion.

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