CITY HALL — A City Council committee approved a measure Monday intended to streamline the adoption process at Animal Care and Control.
"Our goal is not to increase euthanasia," said Sandra Alfred, executive director of Animal Care and Control, but to increase the ease of movement for animals between the commission and the approximately 200 rescue groups it works with.
According to Alfred, the city impounds about 23,000 animals a year. It used to put down about 70 percent of those impounded, but last year euthanized about 6,000, and most of those were due to "health and behavior" issues.
The amended ordinance passed by the Budget Committee Monday says impounded animals must be held a minimum of seven days, but in the case of "unknown ownership" they're considered property of the commission after three days. The commission can either hold the animals or send them to "any agency the commission may designate to take possession of animals."
The ordinance, however, allows for the immediate transfer of "any impounded cat of unknown ownership" and "any impounded litter of puppies aged 4 months or younger of unknown ownership, as well as their mother."
PAWS Chicago founder Paula Fasseas endorsed it, for the sake of the animals' health. The proposed ordinance points out that "reducing the time an animal is held in a shelter significantly decreases the likelihood the animal will become ill or stressed." Yet she quickly added it makes it essential for pet owners to have a microchip embedded in their dogs and especially cats, as they'll be hard to track down once dispersed.
"If you have an unmicrochipped animal, Animal Control could just transfer it out to a rescue program that day," Fasseas said. "So people have to do the microchip if they care about their animals."
According to Fasseas, 97 percent of impounded cats are never claimed.
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