Tag Archives: return to owner

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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City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) Return to Owner Rate for Dogs is Steadily Improving.

For many years the CACC’s Return to Owner (RTO) rate for dogs was DISMAL. Six years ago we met with the then senior management staff to discuss what CACC could do to get more dogs home. It should be noted that 60% of the intake of CACC is stray dogs. That means many of these dogs are “owned”. These owned dogs need to go home; not have a new home or be euthanized.

Lost Dogs Illinois believed that by implementing the ideas suggested below, CACC would increase their Return to Owner Rates, reduce euthanasia and relieve pressure on the rescues that are carrying the burden to save lives. Slowly CACC started implementing the following suggestions (which we have noted in red) and this year the RTO for dogs has been over 40% (June – 45% and July 42%). Just think how many more dogs could be reunited if they implemented more of our suggestions.

  • Implement a Marketing Campaign to bring awareness to the public that your facility is where their lost pet has been taken. (Simply by having volunteers post flyers (other languages) in neighbor stores, etc.) Or place ads on Craigslist, newspapers, etc.
  • Develop a Volunteer Pet Detective or Lost Pet Recovery Team to do some of the following tasks listed below.
  • Use a dedicated email address for lost and found pets. Develop a lost pet report form on the website to enter information about lost and found pets. Use this to match against pets that are being held at other facilities or are posted on LDI, Craigslist or other internet sites.
  • Tracing dead end microchip and ID tags (Lost Dogs Illinois has volunteers who trace dead end tags and will train other shelter employees/volunteers) HAVE OFFERED
  • Door Greeter to help people with lost pets, post flyers on the board and give out lost pet information.
  • Use Helping Lost Pets as a centralized database. IMPLEMENTED
  • Volunteers can help individual lost dog families with lost dog recovery tips
  • Make sure any adopted dog or claimed dog leaves with an ID tag on a new collar. (Apply for an ASPCA Grant to receive an ID engraving machine) Research shows putting the tag on the collar when the dog leaves a facility increases the likelihood of a reunion. Research shows that more than 80% of Good Samaritans who find dogs want to find their owners. If the tags are not being attached to the collar it is defeating the purpose. IMPLEMENTED
  • Use AVMA Best Practices for Scanning for Microchips. WE HOPE
  • Implement Field redemptions by having scanners and computers on the trucks. If the dog does not have to come into the shelter there is less stress on the dog, staff, volunteers, and other dogs in the facility. This reduces euthanasia and makes more room for truly homeless dogs.
  • Negotiate or reduce fees so they are not punitive. IMPLEMENTED
  • Install a big flat screen TV in lobby for people to view the “found animals” that are being held. Many people have phobias about entering the wards. INSTALLED KIOSK IN LOBBY
  • Expand the hours of tours for stray wards.
  • Expand website to include different languages or install translator. Provide tips on how to find lost pets on the website.
  • Register microchip to the owner at implant. IMPLEMENTED
  • Use found dog signs at the location where a dog is picked up by field officers STARTED BUT STOPPED
  • Free or low cost microchip clinics along with ID tagging – HAVE BEEN DOING THIS
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Chicago Pets Benefiting from New ID Tag Engraver at Chicago Animal Care and Control

Misty getting her new tag.  Her family being reunited with Misty

Misty getting her new tag. Her family being reunited with Misty

Chicago Animal Care and Control took one giant leap for petkind recently by adding a high-tech ID tag-engraving machine to its shelter facilities.

CACC Administrative Services Officer Susan Cappello said the non-profit group, Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control, donated a VIP Pet ID tag machine to the shelter in January 2016.

“The Pet ID Tag machine will be used to provide free pet ID tags to all customers who adopt a new pet, find their lost pet, and attend our monthly low-cost pet vaccine clinic,” Cappello told Lost Dogs Illinois via email. “In less than one week of use, CACC made over 10 tags already to new or existing pet owners.”

Cappello added that CACC’s next low-cost vaccine clinic will be held Feb. 17 and that “[W]e plan to provide a pet ID tag to every customer” that day.

Providing pets with ID tags can help shelters reduce overcrowding. A 2010 study conducted by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggested that pet ID tags containing owner contact information make it easier for people to help get that animal home should it become lost. That allows a shelter to direct its resources to supporting true homeless pets.

ID tag and collar

ID tag and collar

“Having a microchip is a great safety measure for emergencies or if the pet loses a tag or collar,” Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told New York Times blogger Tara Parker-Pope in 2011. “But an ID tag is the simplest, easiest way to assure your pet is going to get home.”

Chicago Animal Care and Control strongly recommends that all pet owners microchip and obtain a collar and tag for their pets, Cappello said.

Cats that get lost are nine times more likely to be reunited with their owner if they arrive at a shelter with a collar and tag or microchip,” Cappello emphasized.  “Dogs are five times more likely to be returned home to their owner if they have a collar and tag or microchip.

“If your pet gets lost and is found by our shelter, we will research the tag and microchip information and contact you as soon as possible,” Cappello said. “Collars with identification are your pets’ fastest ticket back to you should they become lost.”

Joliet ID machine 5.2015

Engraving an ID tag at Joliet Township Animal Control

CACC joins Joliet Township Animal Control as two major Northern Illinois municipal animal control programs now offering ID tags as part of the adoption/retrieval package. JTAC, which serves Joliet, Joliet Township, Crest Hill and Rockdale, used part of a $20,000 grant awarded it by The Petco Foundation, in partnership with Natural Balance Pet Foods, to purchase its machine in March 2015.

ILresearch

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski for writing this article!

 

 

 

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“The Chicago Way” Helps Kyra Get Home

 

Kyra 2 11-30-15

Kyra

Long-time Chicago residents are familiar with “The Chicago Way”:  it’s often not what you know, but who you know, that gets things done in this city.

So when Andy Csapo opened the tool shed in back of his family’s funeral home on Chicago’s Northwest on Nov. 20 and saw two eyes glowing in the back of the shed, the first thing he did was tell his wife, Joyce.

“The shed is just an enclosed outdoor stairwell, and the door has a missing slat on the bottom, so it must have crawled through that,” Andy said.

“I could make out a large animal with a dark coat trying to hide under the lowest stair. I knew it was some kind of dog; too big to be a coyote or raccoon.”

Can you find Kyra?

Can you find Kyra?

There is Kyra!

There is Kyra!

The Csapos did not want to call Chicago’s Animal Control for help, because they didn’t want the dog taken to the city pound. Joyce called her daughter, Joy, and asked Joy to call a friend who does animal rescue transports for help.

The transporter, Lydia Rypcinski had never done an actual rescue. However, she knew Susan Taney, founder of Lost Dogs Illinois, and called Susan for advice.

Susan referred Lydia to Katie Campbell, an experienced dog rescuer who lives on Chicago’s South Side.

Katie suggested that Andy cover the opening in the door, provide the dog with blankets, food and water, and make sure it was secure until she could get to the funeral home the next day. With Chicago’s biggest November snowstorm in 127 years approaching that night, Katie’s concern was that the dog stay in one place, protected from the elements.

The next afternoon, Katie arrived with hot dogs and her “snappy snare” and was able to secure and bring the dog out of the shed. The dog had a collar and nametag – “Kyra” – with a phone number on the back.

Kyra, a handsome 3-year-old black-and-white pit bull, was bundled into blankets and lifted into Lydia’s car while Katie called the number on the tag.

“It’s their dog!” she shouted as she got off the phone. Kyra’s family had posted the dog’s picture on Lost Dogs Illinois eight days earlier, after Kyra escaped from the back yard of their house two miles north of Meiszner Funeral Home. Katie was able reference the posting to verify that the dog was indeed theirs.

Kyra’s owners, the Ortiz family, were ecstatic to welcome Kyra home.

“The kids were jumping up and down and their other dog knocked [Kyra] right over when I brought her inside,” Katie said. “You could see her family really loves her.”

“I thought I would never see her again,” Sandra Ortiz said. “My family and friends told me to file a missing dog report on Lost Dogs Illinois. Several people called who thought they had found my dog but hadn’t, and I was starting to lose hope. I have three kids. My youngest was asking if Kyra was not going to live with us anymore. I didn’t know what to say.

“When Katie called, we were in tears.”

Welcome Home Kyra!

Welcome Home Kyra!

A trip to the vet revealed that Kyra had dropped from 57 to 33 pounds, that her sugar levels were high, and that she had cold burn rashes on her paws but otherwise was in good health. She was microchipped right away, and the faulty latch on the back gate was fixed to pre-empt future escapes.

A week later, Kyra had regained much of the weight and was happily romping with the Ortiz children and their other dog, a Shih Tzu named Bear.

“Bear was really excited to see her again, he had been getting depressed without her,” Sandra said.

“We’re so grateful to have her back,” Sandra added. “Thanks to everyone who helped bring Kyra home.”

The Chicago Way and Lost Dogs Illinois.  That’s a winning ticket in The City That Works.

Kyra and Sandra Ortiz BEST 11-30-15

Kyra and Sandra – one week later!

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski for sharing Kyra’s story!

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Chicago Animal Care and Control commission Meeting – November 19, 2015

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We, at Lost Dogs Illinois, feel it is important to keep you informed on how we are trying to support our mission is reuniting lost dogs with their owners.

Last Thursday (November 19, 2015) our Director attended the open meeting of the Commission (advisory board)  for the City of Chicago Animal Care and Control. She read the following statement:

Since 2012 through the end of September 2015, over 70,000 animals have passed through the doors of CACC.   Approximately 4,400 were adopted; 5,400 were returned to owner and 37,000 were transferred to rescues. 24,000 were killed. What is wrong with this picture?

The management staff of CACC has been so concerned with increasing their live release rate that they have done this at the expense of owned family pets and rescues. Rescues are doing the heavy lifting. Many of these rescues volunteers are paying taxes to support CACC while they are funding their rescue organizations and volunteering their time to take care of these animals..

Many progressive animal controls have over a 50% return to owner rate for dogs and 9-13% RTO for cats. Many of these owned dogs and cats at CACC are being adopted out, transferred to other shelters and rescues or killed.

These same progressive animal controls have adoption programs and promote adoption events to find homes for the homeless.

Creating programs to keep animals in their homes and out of shelters reduces shelter intake. Preserving the owner/animal bond should be at the heart and soul of every animal shelter’s core mission

It is time for the City of Chicago to hire a Director who will implement progressive, proven programs like a lost pet recovery and viable adoption program including an intervention program to keep animals in their homes.

Illinois is ranked number one in animal protection laws in the US even though Chicago, a world-class city, is lagging way behind in saving lives and keeping animals in their homes.

One final note: Chicago’s shelters are rich in cash assets. I understand that it is good business practice to have a surplus and that some assets are locked in.  BUT when the three largest shelters have over $100 million in assets. Doesn’t it make sense to collaborate with CACC to offer free microchip events to Chicago residents, develop programs to keep animals in their homes, and to help with CACCs adoption program. I hope common sense will prevail to save lives.

photo credit: sue and flora via photopin (license)

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Action Alert! Cook County Animal and Rabies Control

Action AlertLast week we posted our action alert to encourage all Cook County Residents (including Chicago)  to please contact the President of Cook County Board and each County Commissioner Board Member and let them respectfully know that you support the recommended changes presented by the Cook County Inspector General as a FIRST step toward fixing the problems of Cook County Animal Control.

This week we have included a letter to send to each County Commissioner Board Member and the President of Cook County Board. We need to let the President and Cook County Commissioners know that the residents of Cook County overwhelmingly support changes to provide better services to the Cook County Residents and their pets. Please take a few minutes, copy and paste this letter.

Dear Commissioner ________________________,

As you are aware, the Cook County Inspector General recently completed an operational review of the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Department. The review analyzed the administration, operations, budget and overall practices of Animal Control. The report found things that taxpayers have long known to be true – that the department is woefully mismanaged and not adequately serving the public.

This report revealed several areas of concern, including:

* No centralized database for posting found dogs for Cook County.

* No facility. Nationally, it is incredibly rare for an animal control department to not operate its own facility. Cook County is one of the only local animal control agencies that does not have its own holding facility for stray animals. DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties have shelters to house stray animals, reunite pets with their owners and adopt homeless animals out.

* Millions of dollars budgeted and spent with nothing to show for it. When you compare the County’s animal control department’s budget to that of the City of Chicago, this fact is even more appalling. In 2014, the County only picked up 262 animals. In 2014 alone, the City of Chicago, with less square footage and fewer residents than the County, took in 21,037 animals!

* No central repository system (microchip numbers and rabies tags number) available to other shelters and law enforcement to reunite pets with their family quickly.

These are just a few of the items cited which are disconcerting for taxpayers and voters in Cook County.

Any pet owner in Cook County or surrounding areas is doubly concerned since a lost pet that ends up in this system has virtually no chance of being reunited with its owner and a high probability of death. I urge you to vote for and support major changes at the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Department.

Over 60% of residents in Cook County are pet owners. They deserve a system that works to protect them and their pets. They deserve your vote for change.

Thank you,

Here is the listing of the President and the County Commissioner Board.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle  – Phone: 312.603.4600

Commissioner Richard R .Boykin  – District #1

Phone: 312.603.4566                     Richard.Boykin@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Robert B. Steele – District #2

Phone:312.603.3019                      Robert.Steele@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Jerry Butler – District #3

Phone: 312.603.6391                     Jerry.Butler@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Stanley Moore – District #4

Phone: 312.603.2065                     Stanley.moore2@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Deborah Sims – District #5

Phone: 312.603.6381                     Deborah.Sims@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy – District #6

Phone: 312.603.4216                     Joan.Murphy@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Jesús G. García – District #7

Phone: 312.603.5443                     Jesus.Garcia@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. – District #8

Phone: 312.603.6386                     Luis.Arroyojr@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Peter N. Silvestri – District #9

Phone: 312.603.4393                     cookcty9@aol.com

Commissioner Bridget Gainer District #10

Phone: 312.603.4210                     Bridget@bridgetgainer.com

Commissioner John P. Daley – District #11

Phone: 312.603.4400                       John.Daley@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner John A. Fritchey – District #12

If you would like to thank Commissioner Fritchey for initiating this investigation, please contact him.

commish@fritchey.com

Commissioner Larry Suffredin – District #13

Phone: 312.603.6383                     lsuffredin@aol.com

Commissioner Gregg Goslin – District #14

Phone: 312.603.4932                     Commissioner.Goslin@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Timothy O. Schneider – District #15

Phone: 312.603.6388                     Tim.Schneider@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski – District #16

Phone: 312.603.6384                     Jeffrey.Tobolski@cookcountyil.gov

Commissioner Sean Morrison – District #17

Phone: 312.603.4215                     sean.morrison@cookcountyil.gov

 

 

 

 

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Inspector General Report – Cook County Animal and Rabies Control

DSCN0833After hearing taxpayer’s complaints and experiences as well as the concerns of Lost Dogs Illinois with Cook County Animal And Rabies Control (CCRAC); Commissioner John Fritchey filed for the Cook County Inspector General to do an investigative report on CCARC.

We are pleased with most of what the Inspector General has recommended. If implemented, these recommendations should help more lost pets be reunited with their families. We are still concerned about the disparity of fees and holding periods among the municipalities.

For you review, this is IG Audit report Cook County

Here are Lost Dogs Illinois blogs about how difficult it is to find your lost dog in Cook County.

Where Oh Where Could My Lost Dog Be Held in Cook County

Part 2 – Where Oh Where Could My Lost Dog Be Held in Cook County

Please be the voice for owners and their lost dogs.  Everyone who is a Cook County resident please contact their County Commissioner and the Cook County President.   Demand that change is needed!

Toni Preckwinkle, President  – (312) 603-6400

Cook County Government – click on Government – County Commissioners are listed.

Together we will get more lost dogs home.

 

 

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Pictures Matter!

The one thing Lost dogs Illinois has proven time after time on our page is pictures work in getting lost dogs home! Pictures are the universal language.

Point in case…… A match was made this week on the unofficial Animal Welfare League (AWL) – Found/Stray Dogs Facebook Page, which is run by a group of volunteers who absolutely understand the importance of posting found dog pictures. When a volunteer is able to get to AWL, she tries to post pictures of “found” animals to the page.

The match was Pepe, a 19 year old Chihuahua, who was posted as lost on Lost Dogs Illinois Facebook page on July 28th. Pepe

Pepe’s found dog picture was posted on AWL’s unofficial page on August 3rd even though Pepe was brought to Animal Welfare League on July 30th.

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Luckily one of LDI’s fans recognized Pepe and emailed his owner right away. A very Happy Reunited was made!

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 3.26.53 PM

So what do we learn from this?   If there was an official Facebook page or if AWL would use the Pet Harbor software to post found dog photos (like they use for their adoption photos), Pepe would have probably been home by August 1st.  This would have meant less stress for Pepe, Pepe’s family, other dogs in the shelter, volunteers and staff.   It would have also been less of financial strain for Pepe’s family and the shelter.

We hope successful reunions like Pepe will convince Animal Welfare League to post pictures on Pet Harbor or their own official Facebook page. Technology has made it so simple – a cell phone can be used to upload photos directly to Facebook. Don’t our Illinois dogs deserve the very best chance to get back home to their families?

 

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Best Friends National Conference… The Way Back Home – Reuniting Pets with Their People

Best Friends Conference

Lost Dogs of America and HelpingLostPets.com are pleased to be presenting at the upcoming 2015 Best Friends National Conference in Atlanta July 16-19.

Our joint presentation “The Way Back Home: Reuniting Pets with Their People” will provide proven strategies to assist shelters and volunteer groups to increase their Return to Owner rates (RTO).
For more information about the conference and register, please visit:http://conference.bestfriends.org

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