Category Archives: Rescues and Shelters

Articles and tips for shelters/rescues to help capture a lost foster or adopted dog.

Apology from Lost Dogs Illinois Director – Chicago Animal Care and Control Return to Owner Statistics

I had been under the understanding that Chicago Animal Care and Control Return to Owner actually meant “stray” return to owner.  Little did not I know it included other categories which CACC  considered return to owner.

This is my statement to the Commission members of Chicago Animal Care and Control on July 19th.

My name is Susan Taney, Director of Lost Dogs Illinois.  Lost Dogs Illinois is a not for profit organization that helps citizens find their lost dogs and Good Samaritans find lost dog’s owners but we also work with Animal Controls to increase their Return to Owner rate and decrease their stray intake.. We have typically defined Return to Owner as the percentage of stray or lost dogs who are brought in to CACC which are reunited with their owners.

I would first like to address the return to owner statistics. I’ll refer to it as RTO from here on in.  This year on CACC’s website I noticed that in the month of March the RTO statistics were split into categories:  strays that were reunited with their owner and other dogs that were returned to their owner for other reasons.  (to give you examples: dogs surrendered and the owner changed their mind or evictions or owner went to hospital so these were “return to owner” ). In all the discussions we had with CACC we assumed we were on the save wavelength and only referring to the strays that were reunited with their owners.  Also, I noticed that there was a whole new description about the live release rate and other definitions in regards to statistics.  With that in mind, the RTO statistics that I have reported to both CACC and the public have been wrong and are not as positive as I thought they were.  Never was there any indication with discussions with any of the  directors and staff that RTO included not only strays but the other categories I mentioned earlier, as well.

So I am going to now tell you the actual number of stray dogs reunited with their owners for three months in 2017 compared with what I wrote about on our website and Facebook page in which I gave praise to CACC for their stellar improvement.

June, 2017              45%               actual            33%

July, 2017                42%              actual            31%

August 2017          53%               actual            33%

I am very disappointed and disheartened about this discovery in regards  to the statistics.

Stray intake has been consistently been at 60%. Progressive animal controls are taking a hard look at stray intake on how to decrease it.  At the last commission meeting I attended, I made suggestions.

I don’t know who the new Director will be but I am truly hoping the new Director will try to fix the broken animal control system in Chicago with being a leader in the field which will expand to Cook County.Obviously the Live Release Rate has increased but the actual animal control system needs to be addressed, supported by the mayor and public and brought into the 21stcentury.

Thank you for your time.

Below listed are the actual statistic posted on the CACC’s website.

Below are the actual statistics that I FOIA’d.  What is FOIA? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a United States federal law that grants the public access to information possessed by government agencies. Upon written request, U.S. government agencies are required to release information unless it falls under one of nine exemptions listed in the Act.  As a citizen you have the right to request information possessed by government agencies.

 

 

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Illinois Microchip Hunters

Zoey,
Senior Boxer

Lost Dogs Illinois has been helping Chicago Animal Care & Control (CACC) with dead end microchips, microchips that no long have current contact information. CACC staff do the best they can, but It is sometimes impossible to find an owner using the available information and given time constraints. However, Lost Dogs Illinois has volunteers who can dedicate hours to tracing disconnected phone numbers and researching online to find relatives of the owner. Sometimes this all comes together in a way that brings tears to your eyes.

A sweet old senior Boxer recently ended up at CACC. The microchip was not registered, but information showed the dog had been adopted out by Anti-Cruelty and they had owner information. It turned out the two owners had split and the girlfriend kept the dog. We reached the boyfriend. He discussed it with his ex and they decided their dog would be better off with him. Needless to say that senior Boxer is now safe at home. The Boxer did not need a home, the Boxer needed to go home! If you would like to learn sleuthing skills to get lost dogs home or if you know a shelter who would like this free service, contact this page. 

BTW – the boxer’s name is Zoey!

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Just a reminder….. Rescues and Animal Shelters

On January 1,2016, a new Illinois law was passed to require what is necessary if a rescue, shelter or veterinary clinic  holds a stray animal.  We also confirmed this information with Dr. Mark Ernst, State Veterinarian.

The law is Animal Welfare Section (225 ILCS 605/3.6) of the Illinois State Statutes.

Sec. 3.6. Acceptance of stray dogs and cats.
(a) No animal shelter may accept a stray dog or cat unless the animal is reported by the shelter to the animal control or law enforcement of the county in which the animal is found by the next business day. An animal shelter may accept animals from: (1) the owner of the animal where the owner signs a relinquishment form which states he or she is the owner of the animal; (2) an animal shelter licensed under this Act; or (3) an out-of-state animal control facility, rescue group, or animal shelter that is duly licensed in their state or is a not-for-profit organization.

(b) When stray dogs and cats are accepted by an animal shelter, they must be scanned for the presence of a microchip and examined for other currently-acceptable methods of identification, including, but not limited to, identification tags, tattoos, and rabies license tags. The examination for identification shall be done within 24 hours after the intake of each dog or cat. The animal shelter shall notify the owner and transfer any dog with an identified owner to the animal control or law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which it was found or the local animal control agency for redemption.

Definition of animal shelter:

“Animal shelter” means a facility operated, owned, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other non-profit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. “Animal shelter” also means any veterinary hospital or clinic operated by a veterinarian or veterinarians licensed under the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 which operates for the above mentioned purpose in addition to its customary purposes.

While we understand the reasoning for this law, it still creates a maze of holding facilities for an owner to find his/her lost dog. For example:  If I lost my dog in Chicago.  I would first check City of Chicago Animal Care and Control to see if my dog has been taken there but then I find out my dog could have been taken Animal Welfare League (there are two of them), Animal Care League, Paws Chicago, even some rescues,vet clinics and police dept. hold dogs.

Our solution is to use Helping Lost Pets, a centralized database that Lost Dogs Illinois partners with.  www.HelpingLostPets.com/ORG . We recommend having a common login account that all of your staff share, allowing any of your staff to access private contact information for pet owners.

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Patience, setting up a feeding station, creating a safe zone and luring Minnie to safety!

Minnie was what we call a “Kentucky Stray”.  She was transported from a high kill shelter in one of the states south of Illinois and brought up to a rescue.  Minnie went into a foster home but unfortunately escaped.  Dogs who are used to being out on their own take time and patience to get them comfortable with a home environment.
Flyers were posted when Minnie first went missing.  Calls were coming in and her foster mom would rush to the location but she would be long gone by the time anyone got there. Minnie was figuring out where to find her necessities; food, water and shelter.
After she was missing for about a week and a half, a group of volunteers offered to start mapping the sightings, doing more flyers, and doing “driveway drops” hear sighting locations.   She was very, very, close to her home but a busy street was between the area where she was living and her home.
With the flyers and drops, more sightings came in and a pattern of location and time started to emerge.  She seemed to travel at night, which is very common  for dogs in survival mode.  It keeps them safer from predators, including humans.  It’s quieter at night…
While looking at her pattern, we noticed a few houses on Caton Farm that had pole barns.  One of the volunteers knocked on a door and asked if she could look around the property.  The owners were eager to help and let us do whatever we needed.  The volunteer found a pole barn, with an opening in the back. She also found several canine prints that were Minnie’s size, along with some dog poop.  The home owners had dogs but said theirs did not go back to that part of the yard.  The back of the pole barn was alone a fence line, and on the other side of the fence was a subdivision of town homes where there had been sightings of Minnie.  She was definitely there.  We thought maybe staying in the pole barn for shelter.

Signs that a dog was living there.

Minnie’s safe place.

Using a crock pot of smelly food to keep Minnie in the area. It was very cold out.

Since the flyers were doing their job, the next step was food and a game camera.  A camera was put up on Friday and food was trailed into the subdivision and along the fence where we thought she was traveling. Saturday morning proved what we thought.  Minnie showed up the night before and was eating the food.  That night a trap was deployed, more food trailed and within a half hour of setting it all up she was back.  It took a short time for her to decided she wanted the yummy chicken legs in the back of the trap and she was safely caught!

Minnie checking out the trap

Minnie trapped safe!

After a week and a half of trying to catch a glimpse of her when the sightings were called in, more flyers went up on day 13, driveway drops done on day 14, sightings mapped on day 15, camera and feeding station on day 16 and safely trapped on day 17.  Following the advice of Lost Dogs Illinois and Helping Lost Pets make this a textbook rescue.  Minnie was eventually adopted by her foster family and is now known as Lucy and is loving life.

Minnie now called Lucy

Thank you, Elaine, for sharing Minnie’s story.

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When Every Thing Goes Right – Capture of Leia

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

Steps taken:

  1. Flyer. Flyer. Flyer. (This was done immediately for Leia)
  2. Sightings start coming in

    Leia being sighted in a backyard.

  3. 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.
  4. We established a good area for a feeding station and camera and trap. All the meanwhile still flyering.
  5. 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….
  6. Set and watched the trap.
  7. Safely trapped Leia

Leia checking out the trap!

 

 

 

 

 

Gotcha 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.

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Follow-up on LDI’s meeting w/the Mayor’s staff and Cook County President’s staff

Wally

Update on December 18th Meeting with Rosa Escareno, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor.

LDI’s Director, Susan Taney and Kathy Pobloskie, LDI advisor, along with five members from Advocates for Chicagoland Animals and Chicago Rescue Round table, were asked to meet with Rosa to discuss what we felt was needed to hire an Executive Director for Chicago Animal Care and Control. Rosa said the Mayor had received our petition, calls and letters from Chicago residents for a nationwide search for the new ED. An ad has been posted on three national websites with applications closing January 11, 2016. We were very pleased with the meeting. We want to thank everyone who took the time to sign the Advocates for Chicagoland Animals petition or called their aldermen and the Mayor. They heard us.

The second meeting that day was with Martha Martenez, Cook County’s Director of Administration, who oversees the department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control. We discussed the following:

  • Encouraged Cook County Animal and Rabies Control to use reasonable priced microchips which includes registration. Profits from these sales could provide low cost or free microchip clinics for under served areas.
  • Search for grants to help fund these types of clinics. Gave them names of organizations that may have available grants.
  • Encouraged the County to use Helping Lost Pets, a free national map based database, since there are multiple stray holding facilities in Cook County and Chicago
  • Gave them our municipality listing for Cook County animal holding facilities.
  • Asked that they add Lost Dogs Illinois to their website as a resource.
  • Asked for the copy of the ordinance saying that rabies tag monies have to be spent towards rabies education, etc.
  • Asked what the plans are for the surplus of money for CCAC.  As of 2015 that was approximately $8 million.
  • We were told that CCAC are working with the Cook County Sheriff’s department.

We, at LDI, hope to continue a working relationship with Cook County and CACC.

 

 

 

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Fireworks and Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families

aspcafireworks

Last year we were honored to present a free webinar for ASPCA Pro that included a lot of helpful information for shelters and owners for dogs that go missing after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Please feel free to share this link.
“In preparation for July 4, experts from Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin will give you practical advice to offer support, resources, and tips to worried families searching for their lost dogs. Teaching people how to find their lost pets and avoid common mistakes can avoid heartbreak for many people and animals.
This free, 60-minute webinar will benefit staff and volunteers from any animal welfare agency.”

Click this link to view the webinar slides and access the webinar recording: http://www.aspcapro.org/webinar/2014-06-18/fireworks-rto

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Keeping Our Fans Informed!

Slide1

Since the Chicago City Council and Mayor approved the 3 day stray hold, the Director of Lost Dogs Illinois has made a commitment to try to attend the City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) Commissioners Meeting. The meetings are held every two months at CACC starting at 8:30. After the meeting is over, the public is allowed to read a statement or ask questions.

On March 19, our Director read this statement to the Commissioners.

Our Director attended the next scheduled meeting. This is the statement she read: “Since Animal Welfare League and other facilities have been approved to hold Chicago stray animals, aren’t their Return To Owner statistics posted publicly like CACCs.

  • What are the fees and fines that each facility charges and are they posted publicly like CACC does?
  • What is the cross communication among these facilities in order to help owners find their lost pets?
  • Since all these facilities have been approved to hold stray animals for CACC, why are they not required to post photos on the internet or Facebook?”

CACC is supported by Chicago taxpayers. As taxpayers, you have a voice and should not settle for anything less than excellence from CACC. The next meeting is Thursday, July 16th at CACC.

For more information:

Commissioners Meeting Schedule

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Miracles and happy endings do exist!!!

Coqueta

Coqueta was reunited with her family the next day after her mandatory three day stray hold at Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

Miracles and happy endings do exist!!! Thanks to the guidance and help from the two animal welfare organizations, Red Door Shelter and New Leash on Life; Coqueta’s Good Samaritan was able to pull Coqueta from CACC and foster her. A team of volunteers distributed fliers and in one night she was reunited when her owners saw one of the posted fliers.

One of Lost Dogs Illinois’s (LDI) concerns with reducing the stray hold from five days to three days was owners would not have time to find their lost dogs. Coqueta’s story verifies this. Many owners who are looking for their dogs do not find them within three days. More time is needed.

A LDI shout out to this special Good Sam who went the extra mile to find Coqueta’s family! Coqueta didn’t need a new home. She just needed to go back home.

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