Our end of the year, Home at Last 2016 video. Thank you to our supporters – we couldn’t have done this without you!
Thank you, Elaine, for sharing Minnie’s story.
Two years ago, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey requested an audit by its Inspector General of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control (CCARC). Eight months later on August 21, 2014, Cook County Inspector General Pat Blanchard presented the summary of Operational Review of the Department of CCACC. This was just a 15-page summary of an 80 page report.
On September 25, 2015, Lost Dogs Illinois’s (LDI) director filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the President of the Cook County Board and the office of the Cook County Inspector General (IG) to receive the full and complete Operational Review of the CCARC from which the summary was prepared. The LDI Director was denied the full and complete report by the Inspector General’s office. The President’s office said they did not have the complete report in their possession. The LDI Director then filed for a review of the denial to the Attorney General’s Public Access Officer. The Public Access Officer upheld the denial.
On December 8, 2015, the LDI Director along with a LDI adviser, met with Martha Martenez, Cook County’s Director of Administration, who oversees the department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control. A discussion was had concerning several issues and solutions in regard to the report.
A year after the IG released the Summary Report, the LDI Director made another FOIA request of the Cook County Board President’s Office and the Inspector General’s office to find out the outcome of all the recommendations in the report. Both sent back denials. The LDI Director then sent a request for review of the denial to the Public Access Officer who then contacted the President’s office. After several contacts, the President’s office sent the Public Access officer the 10/2015 letter that was sent to the Inspector General’s office (standard 90 day follow-up letter).
It has been two years since Commissioner John Fritchey asked for a complete study of CCARC. It took the IG department 8 months to do this operational review. Nothing has really changed.
Lost Dogs Illinois believes in change for the better for Cook County residents and their pets. As stated by our Director at the Cook County Commissioner’s Budget Committee meeting (11/3/2016) “I am not discounting the importance of rabies and public safety but I really believe it is time to reexamine the mission of this Department and reorganize CCARC to provide better services. Cook County is the 2nd largest county in the US, we should be proud to offer an efficient way for owners get their loved family members back.”
We also would to state that according to the Fiscal Year 2017 Preliminary Budget – Special Purpose Fund Outlook Cook County is showing approximately $8.6 million fund in the Special Purpose Fund. What is the purpose of the fund and how is it helping Cook County residents and their four legged family members?
If you are as concerned about this issue as we are, please contact your Cook County Commissioner. You can find out who your Commissioner is by clicking on the link below. Tell them that you want an Animal Control Department, which better serves the community and their pets.
When a good friend and someone I have learned much from, Katie C, reached out to me to help with another loose rescue pup name Leia. I said yes. We followed our usual routine and started a group message with volunteers and the rescue. The rescue was totally engaged in doing whatever was needed and as was the foster family. This in itself helps the whole process in general. Sometimes we use the word “textbook” loosely because when helping with a lost dog anything and everything can happen. But , I do know this. There are some steps that have proven to make the journey easier. Leia went loose on a Saturday and was safely trapped by Tuesday morning
- Flyer. Flyer. Flyer. (This was done immediately for Leia)
- Sightings start coming in
- Speak with callers and get better details. Leia was seen several times in yards where flyers had been given to homeowners. Guess what? They called.
- We established a good area for a feeding station and camera and trap. All the meanwhile still flyering.
- Learned and saw for our own eyes Leia in the area and actually engaging the zip tied trap baited with irrestable food. We knew she was comfortable and….
- Set and watched the trap.
- Safely trapped Leia
To say this went like clockwork is true. Flyers generated sightings. Sightings told us areas where she was. Homeowners were willing to allow us to use the tools we needed. Finally, patience and observation helped us capture Leia safely.
Thank you, Rosanne, for sharing Leia’s story.
As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2016 Missing Dogs Albums one more time. or Helping Lost Pets. Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 5,500 reunions so far) we have many dogs that we are still searching for.
Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last six years).
A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased. By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found. Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water. Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely. Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.
Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator. Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator. Lost dogs simply want to survive – so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and traveling between their food sources and hiding places. If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.
Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal. Eventually they will start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats). If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs. This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.
Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area, and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple of act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home. Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Illinois shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.
The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner. Of course, this is illegal in Illinois, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenon that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online. This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back. We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home. They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.
Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our missing dog albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2016.
In the past, before the advent of today’s technology, the internet and social media, we had few options when it came to looking for a lost pet. Putting up flyers around the neighborhood and checking the local shelters were among the few choices available.
Along with the obvious options of microchipping, purchasing ID tags, even getting your pet tattooed, there are also methods or ensuring you’re reunited with your pet should they become lost. When inserting a microchip, make sure it’s properly registered and keep the information current if you happen to move, change your phone number or other contact data. Especially if you lose your dog, be sure to contact the chip provider and ensure the info is correct.
Keeping this in mind, here are some other ways to help ensure you’ll be reunited with your pet should they become lost or stolen:
For animal lovers, many of us post pictures of our pets online and this could be helpful if they go missing. Keeping your online friends informed about the connection between you and your dog could come in handy if you reach out to them to help locate your pet.
Again, back in the old days, when a pet went missing one of the first things we did was post flyers around our community notifying our neighbors of their absence. This is still one of the most successful methods of finding a lost animal, but think about using the internet to spread the word online as well.
Many of our email and text contacts are friends and family that live nearby. Send a post to them with a picture of your pet and ask for their assistance. Then request they forward this message to their nearby friends and family. This way your message has the potential of reaching hundreds or even thousands of other recipients.
Other Avenues To Explore
Speaking of the internet, don’t forget other options like checking out the Lost Dogs of America website. Here you can put a online listing about the loss of your pet and check to see if someone has posted they have found your dog. They’ll also provide you with a free flyer and list it on one of their individual Facebook pages according to State.
Thank you Amber Kingsley for your article contribution.
At Lost Dogs Illinois’s request, Santa Claus made a very special visit to Petsmart (Belleville, IL) to raise funds for Monroe County Humane Society and Lost Dogs Illinois. Thank you, Santa, for taking time out of your busy schedule to do Photos with Santa.
We are sharing some of the wonderful photos!