In the Know – October/November 2018

Here’s what’s going on in Chicago’s animal community.

Chicago animal control officers recently started carrying microchip scanners, allowing them to return lost pets directly to their caregivers instead of sending them to the city shelter. The strategy was announced earlier this year and finalized in late August. Animals will be scanned on site where they are found and returned to their guardian’s address, provided the animal is in good health and a proper I.D. can be presented to confirm the animal belongs to them. The 60 scanners were donated to the city by Best Friends Animal Society and the Animal Farm Foundation.

A new program pairs up Cook County prison inmates with dogs from Chicago Animal Care and Control for training and companionship. The program, called Tails of Redemption, was announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and Chicago Animal Care and Control late this summer. The one-on-one partnerships between inmates and dogs will take place over eight weeks, with the dogs receiving basic training that the city hopes will make them more adoptable and inmates gaining experience for future job opportunities. “This program will empower detainees to help change the future for these dogs, and hopefully in-turn, they realize that they have the power to change their own future as well,” Sheriff Dart said.

Chicago Animal Care and Control has a new executive director. Kelley Gandurski has taken over the role, previously held by Susan Russell, who was fired unexpectedly in June. Gandurski is former deputy director and general counsel of the city shelter, and has a history of volunteering and fostering for local rescues.

The brand new Horner Dog Park on the North Side is now open for play! The three-quarter-acre dog park at Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave., follows six years of negotiations and fundraising. Locals are now working on fundraising for Phase Two, which will add a water feature, artificial turf, and separate small and large dog areas to the park. Visit HornerDogPark.org for more information.

The fight between animal advocates and Chicago’s horse-drawn carriage companies continues to heat up. Protests over the carriage companies has been going on for years, with activists citing the many violations and threats to the horses’ welfare, including long days in extreme weather and a lack of water in the summer heat. A proposed ordinance, supported by at least four aldermen, seeks to ban the carriage companies from operating in the city. Recently, the carriage companies upped their fight against the ban by suing the activists and accusing them of defamation and interfering with their businesses. A decision on the ban is ongoing, with the City Council committee declining to vote on it in early September, citing the need for more time to decide.

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