News Item | PAWS Chicago

New Chicago Stray Animal Ordinance Saves Lives

Mar 10, 2015

In November 2014, the Chicago City Council approved an ordinance to improve the survival rate of stray animals in Chicago.  PAWS Chicago and other local animal welfare and rescue groups, including the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, worked with the city to help structure the ordinance in a way that will save more lives.  This ordinance is now being used by national shelter medicine experts as a model ordinance for other communities to adopt.

Read the RedEye article on this ordinance from November:

Key benefits of the ordinance include:

  • Prevention of disease transmission.  Disease is the leading cause of preventable euthanasia in city impoundment facilities. Chicago Animal Care & Control takes in nearly 20,000 animals each year. In these overcrowded conditions, stressed animals get sick and spread disease quickly.
  • Quicker release for lifesaving. By enabling animals to be transferred or adopted quickly, it reduces sickness and resulting euthanasia and promotes lifesaving. It also frees space for other animals coming in, reducing the need to euthanize for cage space.
  • No increased speed of euthanasia. The ordinance is carefully crafted to ensure that animals will not be euthanized any faster than they were under the prior ordinance. Animal Care & Control will still keep animals for five days before they are at risk of euthanasia. No animal will die faster due to the changed ordinance.
  • Promote microchipping. All pet owners should microchip their animals to ensure the best chances of being reconnected with a lost pet. Discounted microchipping is available at Chicago Animal Care & Control and PAWS Chicago.

Ordinance Facts:

  • Every year, more than 12,000 animals without owner identification come into Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).
  • In 2013, less than 1% of the stray cats and less than 10% of the stray dogs who came in without identification were claimed by an owner.
  • Stray dogs without collars or microchips will be held three days before being released from stray hold, rather than the prior ordinance’s five days.
  • Stray cats and litters of puppies with moms will not have a stray hold, as these pets are the most at risk of disease.
  • The new measure does not impact animals with microchips or tags that identify their owners. These animals are held for at least seven days while CACC thoroughly researches owner information and actively pursues every possible avenue to reach the owner and facilitate a reunion with the pet.

PAWS Chicago is working around the clock in partnership with the CACC and other rescue and welfare groups throughout the Chicago area to build a No Kill Chicago, finding new homes for all treatable and healthy homeless dogs and cats in the city. The 2014 ordinance will play a valuable role in helping reach these important goals.