A report released Friday by the Cook County Inspector General identified several issues at the county Animal Control, including a website the report said inadequately helped pet owners find lost or missing animals.
The review, sent to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and county commissioners, focused on the department’s operations, administration, budget, programs, officer practices and policies.
The report said Animal Control has accomplished its mission to offer low-cost rabies clinics throughout the county and identified numerous conditions and practices that reflect an efficiently operated department run by a dedicated staff, but it also pointed to outdated computer systems, inadequate dispatching practices and insufficient aid to pet owners looking for lost or missing animals.
The report called the department’s rabies tag data system "archaic" and "manually intensive." It concluded the outdated technology prevented Animal Control officers, law enforcement and animal welfare agencies from accessing the important information in the field.
It also cited that Animal Control officers lack regularly scheduled training. It said the practice of dispatching calls is "inefficient and ineffective."
The report called the department’s website inadequate in helping pet owners find lost or missing animals.
Among other complaints the Inspector General said the department lacked professionalism regarding the intake and dispatch of incoming calls for assistance and complaints.
It also claims some of the department’s budget estimates were exaggerated.
Animal control said it spends $400,000 on private veterinarians to spay and neuter animals, but the report says the amount is significantly less.
The Inspector General released a list of recommendations with the report, including a central registry that includes microchip and rabies information that can be accessed from the field. It also encouraged Animal Control to continue its partnership with animal welfare and rescue organizations.