WEST ENGLEWOOD — A 2-year-old pitbull named Nina has found a temporary home at Ald. Raymond Lopez's 15th Ward office after she was rescued from the streets by animal rights advocate Jenny Jurcak Thursday.
Jurcak, a Pilsen resident, has been rescuing animals in Englewood for more than 20 years, she said. Most people are afraid of the dogs, but she said someone needs to look out for them.
“I’m just a vegan who loves all animals and believes that no animal should be homeless, just as no human should be homeless,” she said. “They’re just another species, they’re voiceless and innocent and someone has to help them.”
Nina had been wandering the streets by O’Toole Elementary near 67th and Hoyne for the past two days, she said. Neighbors called the police to report the lost dog, but after a failed attempt to trap her, Jurcak was called in. Jurcak found her in an alley and snagged her with a leash she had in her car.
“She barked at first,” she said. “When you talk to them, if you don’t show fear, they won’t show fear.”
She took the dog to Lopez's office, where the shy dog, in a pink collar, had to be coaxed out from under a chair. They were able to reach her original owner through the dog's microchip but the family told them they lived on the North Side and had given the dog to a family friend four months ago because their baby was allergic. Lopez said the family now couldn't get through to the current owner.
Lopez now wants to return the dog to the current owner or find a new home for her. Lopez discussed putting the dog in isolation at Animal Care & Control, 2741 S. Western Ave., but he said he does not have immediate plans to take her there because he said half of similar dogs are euthanized. He said he hopes to keep her at his office until PAWS or another pitbull rescue organization can take her.
“We want to find her a more suitable forever home,” he said.
Stray dogs are a problem in the 15th Ward, Lopez said. He rescued two pitbulls in West Englewood last year, he said.
“We see this more and more in the neighborhoods,” he said. “People are letting them loose into the neighborhoods and that creates a very unsafe situation, both for the dog and the people.
“The dog will get hungry, will be scared and revert to a state that’s not safe when children and seniors are on the block,” Lopez said. “Thankfully Nina is a two-year-old, basically still a puppy, but we’ve seen dogs three times her size running loose in the neighborhoods.”
Lopez has clashed with Animal Care & Control before, saying last year he worried renovations at the facility would lead to an increase in the number of animals euthanized. At the time he called on the director of the agency to resign.