Keep The City of North Chicago a No-Kill City!

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Despite years of successfully managing feral cat numbers through TNR and adoption programs, SEVERAL NORTH CHICAGO ALDERMEN WANT THE CITY TO REVERT BACK TO UNNECESSARY TRAPPING AND KILLING. Why? Simply because they believe it is the animal control officer’s “job” to kill.

Please make it known that you value the progress the city has made as a no-kill community and that you stand with the current AC officer’s highly successful no-kill approach to feral cat management.


For over two years, the City of North Chicago(located in Lake County) has been a 100% “no kill” municipality. This means that all the stray animals picked up by the city’s animal control department are adopted out to loving homes. Zero healthy animals are euthanized. This humane and enlightened approach to animal control has proven to be a highly effective and highly desirable model for shelters and pounds across the country.

But North Chicago wasn’t always so progressive in its handling of strays. Just two and a half years ago, North Chicago Animal Control was a house of horrors for animals. The former animal control officer was known to leave dogs uncared for in kennels for days without food and water. He used catch poles to noose dogs and dangle them up by their necks to hoist them into his truck. He also illegally trapped wildlife, which he often left in the back of his truck with no care, no water and no air-conditioning, sometimes for days on end. The city’s feral cat numbers were also out of control, a problem the former animal control officer responded to by haphazardly trapping and killing as many cats as he could. But it didn’t work—the feral cat population remained unwieldy and a thorn in the city’s side. In other words, the massacre of countless cats and kittens was all for naught. Many, many animals were killed unnecessarily and suffered agonizing deaths during the former animal control officer’s tenure.

Finally, in July 2012, the Mayor of North Chicago brought in a new animal control warden, a woman named Dana Deutsch. From the moment Deutsch took over North Chicago Animal Control, the city became a no-kill municipality. Two and a half years later, still not a single healthy animal has been euthanized, and TNR has brought down the feral cat numbers so that animal control has not had a single killing. The amazing turnaround was done by quickly mobilizing a network of compassionate individuals and rescue organizations. In response to the feral-cat overpopulation issue, Deutsch began working with Fat Cat Rescue, a nonprofit organization that provides humane “trap-neuter-return” (TNR) services, veterinary care, and adoptions for the communities of Lake County, Illinois. Because of this partnership, and only because of this partnership, North Chicago is a model of TNR for other communities.

In addition to implementing a system that ensures every healthy stray in North Chicago finds a loving family (whether in the home of a Lake County resident or in a cozy, well-crafted shelter carefully managed by a feral cat community caregiver), Deutsch has also increased the funds available to the city’s animal control department by soliciting tens of thousands of dollars in donations and issuing fines to individuals who commit ticketable offenses. This year North Chicago Animal Control has taken in 100 more animals than last year, and still North Chicago Animal Control has managed to keep the operation 100% no-kill. In short, Dana Deutsch has turned her predecessor’s hopelessly broken, severely inhumane department into a well-oiled and compassionate system of animal care and management thanks to the volunteers, supporters and rescues that work with her.

Even North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham and Chief of Police James Jackson support Deutsch and Fat Cat Rescue's efforts. In addition, even the City Treasurer has called the no-kill approach and partnership with Fat Cat Rescue a much more fiscally responsible system than Deutsch's predecessor’s.

Yet, despite the incredible progress North Chicago Animal Control has made, and the support  from these community leaders, several North Chicago aldermen want Deutsch to revert back to a “kill them all” approach to feral-cat management. The only reason these aldermen give for wanting this regressive change is their claim that Deutsch “is not doing her job”—a job which, in their minds, apparently mandates the killing of animals unnecessarily.

This is entirely inaccurate and an unacceptable rationale. The city did not hire Deutsch to be an animal hitman whose success is measured by her kill tally. (If anything, an animal control warden’s success should be measured by the number of animals she doesn’t euthanize.)

As animal lovers, we cannot let the aldermen’s proposal pass. There is a City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, December 15th at 6:00 p.m. to address this issue. We must act swiftly to convince the aldermen that North Chicago’s no-kill system is an essential feature of the community and must stay in place.

Please call, email, and fax the aldermen and the mayor to let them know the community cares about animals. (Contact information is listed below.) And if you are available Monday night, please arrange to attend the meeting to show your opposition to the aldermen’s regressive proposal. The meeting will be held at 1850 Lewis Ave., North Chicago, IL 60064.

The City of North Chicago needs policies that foster compassion and humane treatment, not policies that encourage the spread of death and devalue the lives of its nonhuman inhabitants. North Chicago must remain a no-kill city!


These are the North Chicago aldermen who want to kill animals. Please call and email them to let them know you do NOT support the killing of feral cats:

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