AP Images / David Banks
There's a new head of the city department that takes care of animals like Charles the Cat.
The executive director of Chicago’s Animal Care and Control department was fired Friday, a move she said “was a complete surprise to me.”
City spokesman Eve Rodriguez, in explaining the decision to fire Cherie Travis, only said Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration “decided to go in a different direction.”
Travis, an adjunct professor of animal law at DePaul University, has held the position since former Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed her in November 2009.
“She’s not being accused of any wrongdoing,” said Rodriguez.
“The news was a complete surprise to me,” Travis said. “I am very proud of the significant, positive changes I’ve made over the last two years at Animal Control.”
On her facebook page Sunday, Travis said, “Obviously, I am devastated by the news -- I gave my heart and soul to transforming the Department. In the past two years, we’ve set records for reducing euthanasia and increasing transfers -- more than 7,000 animals were transferred last year (36 percent of intake). Plus, we had been successful in finding new funding through grants and corporate sponsorships.”
Emanuel appointed Sandra Alfred to fill the role. Alfred previously served as deputy director of Animal Care and Control for 11 years and twice served as interim head of the department.
“Sandra Alfred is a champion for animal rights and advocate for animal care. She knows every facet of the Department of Animal Care and Control and is a natural choice to lead the department’s efforts,” Emanuel said in a statement in which he also thanked Travis for her leadership.
The agency impounds about 20,000 animals a year.