In November 2014, the Chicago city council approved an ordinance which reduced the mandatory holding period for stray animals at Chicago Animal Care and Control. Stray dogs of unknown ownership now only get three days for their owners to find them. Stray cats of unknown ownership now get zero days. Litters of puppies aged four months and younger of unknown ownership (as well as their dams) also get zero days. Here are two relevant snippets from the ordinance, which can be read in full here:
At that time, Brad Powers, the assistant director at CACC, used the word “perfect” in describing the ordinance to local media:
“Based on analysis of best practices, and recommendation from a variety of shelter experts we think this ordinance strikes the perfect balance between giving a pet owner enough time to look for their lost pet, and giving the stray animal a better chance to be rescued or adopted,” Powers said.
To clarify, when it comes to lost cats, he’s saying that zero days is the perfect amount of time to give owners to find their family members. Now you know where you stand, cat owners.
But assurances were reportedly given that despite the language within the ordinance, animals would not be killed before five days:
When the city initially reached out to PAWS Chicago, one of multiple humane groups it consulted, about the change, founder and chair Paula Fasseas said the rescue organization’s first concern was that this move not increase or speed the number of animals being euthanized by the city, a concern that had been echoed in earlier city hearings on the matter. Those rules—that an animal brought into CACC cannot be euthanized for at least five days—Fasseas was assured, would not be changed.
Sounds like a slippery slope to me.
And a final GFY to cat owners from Fasseas:
For pet owners concerned the shorter hold could mean their lost animals would be at risk of being adopted by another family, Fasseas says the ordinance’s passage has the added benefit of encouraging microchipping, a practice she calls “critical.”
“[I]f owners are upset because the cat’s not being held for five days, then they should microchip their cat.”
And if you don’t like being poor, you should get a job as a banking executive you slouch.
In its recent newsletter sent to rescuers, CACC states that stray cats won’t be held:
CACC makes no mention of the promise that cats of unknown ownership won’t be killed before five days. Slope, so slippery.
Chicago is the latest city to treat cats like second class pets by refusing to grant them equal protections as are provided to dogs. And by extension, cat owners are treated as second class citizens with so-called animal welfare experts decreeing they must not love their pets as much as dog owners love theirs. This is an unconscionable view and all those promoting it are diminishing pet owners’ rights.
The city employees at the Chicago pound need to do their jobs and protect lost pets from being harmed while their owners look for them – including the harm caused by breaking up families. Shame on the city of Chicago for enacting this destructive ordinance and shame on CACC for failing to advocate for the lost pets in their care.
(Thank you Susan and Mary for sending me info on this story.)