Clear the Shelters

Clear the Shelters: One woman's plea to reduce high euthanasia rates

NBC Universal, Inc.

As euthanasia rates for animals continue to rise, one woman is pleading for change as Chicago's municipal shelter is under the spotlight, NBC Chicago's LeeAnn Trotter reports.

A statement from Chicago's Department of Animal Care and Control in response to the rise in euthanasia rates is below:

"Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) would like to address the high number of animals being surrendered to shelters nationwide, and the misinformation that is being spread about this issue.

Our intake numbers have remained consistently high, with animals (both cats and dogs) continuing to arrive at our facility. CACC has to accommodate, on average, over 35 animals coming in at intake every single day.

Sometimes with the best of intentions people use emotional language to appeal to people's hearts and minds. However, this can also lead to people sharing information without thinking critically about it.

The next person may be quick to share that information that they believe to be true, even if it has not been verified. This can be especially dangerous when the information is about a sensitive topic, such as humane euthanasia. It's important for them to be mindful of the potential harm that misinformation can cause.

Euthanasia rates have increased across the country, and many shelter workers and volunteers are grappling with these challenges. This issue is not unique to us; it is a community problem that requires collective efforts beyond what CACC alone can provide.

Compared to last year, our intakes went up. However, our adoptions are up, our redemptions are up and our dog transfers are also up this year. It is important to note that the term "open admission" still has relevance to city shelters across the country.

It means that these shelters are not selective about the animals that they accept. They will
take in any animal, regardless of its age, health, or breed.

In accordance with our ordinance, CACC prioritizes the intakes of strays and has to ensure we have room when they arrive and are not ever turned away.

By managing our population, we are able to utilize our resources for the pets that truly
need our help. We always try to find homes for the animals in our care, but sometimes this is not possible.

Euthanasia is a difficult decision that shelter staff make only as a last resort. It is never done lightly, and it is always done with the best interests of the animal in mind.

These decisions are based on several critical factors, including the quality of life, deterioration, illness, public safety concerns, and adoptability of the animals in question.

We understand that these decisions are emotionally challenging. We have core volunteers who are here in the trenches with us, trying for the best possible outcomes.

The emotional burden of what happens to these animals is passed off and sits squarely on
the shoulders of the shelter staff, volunteers and the rescues trying their hardest to make a difference, to save lives.

We kindly urge everyone to be cautious about sharing false or inaccurate information. Such information can have a detrimental impact on our ability to fulfill our mission. Instead, we encourage people to join us in motivating others to support our cause, whether through volunteering, adopting, or promoting responsible pet ownership in our community."

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