Reform the Department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control
This is a petition demanding the Cook County Board of Commissioners accept the recommended changes by the Cook County Inspector General as a FIRST step towards fixing the problems with Department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control (CCARC).
The ASPCA estimates that 40-60% of animals in shelters are lost pets. Most of these pets do not need a new home; they simply need to go home. Every animal not reunited with its owner costs Cook County money.
Proactively reuniting lost pets with their families should be one of the main focuses of animal control departments. When barriers prevent people from reclaiming their lost pets, the system fails. Cook County Animal and Rabies Control fails.
The OIIG report revealed several areas of concern, including but not limited to:
· No centralized database for posting found dogs and cats for Cook County. Posting photos on a website allows families to search the site when it is convenient for them and with more frequency. There are many situations that make it difficult for owners to physically visit all the stray holding facilities in Cook County frequently to look for their lost dogs, including:
Access to transportation
· No facility. Nationally, it is incredibly rare for an animal control department to not operate its own facility. Kankakee, Lake, Kendall, Kane, Dupage and McHenry County all have their own facilities to house stray animals, reunite pets with their families and adopt out homeless pets. It is a complete maze in Cook County with 135 municipalities, including Chicago, having multiple facilities and making it very difficult for families to find their lost pets. With the sheer number of shelters within Cook County, a centralized database in lieu of a centralized physical facility is minimally necessary.
· No central repository system (microchip number and rabies tags number) available to other shelters and law enforcement to reunite pets with their families quickly.
· Animal Control website fails to provide guidance to pet owners and no listings of the stray holding facilities in Cook County.
· Disparity of budget and intake: Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Fiscal Year 2015 Budget $4 million - 2014 intake 262 animals; compared to City of Chicago Animal Care and Control Fiscal Year 2015 $5.5 million – 2014 intake 21,037 animals.
These are just a few of the items pointed out, which are disconcerting for taxpayers and voters in Cook County (including Chicago). City of Chicago – your rabies tag monies fund this department. What services do you receive?
There is a disconnect between what Cook County Rabies and Animal Control actually does and what is truly needed for residents and animals alike in Cook County.
It is time to overhaul the Department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control and reexamine its mission so the department can provide vital services, ensure that funds are spent effectively and allow for an efficient process for owners to get their pets back.
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