Home > Animal Rescue, Animal Welfare Issues, Lost Dogs, Missing Pets, Pet Adoption, Pet News > The shame of Chicago – Are they killing lost pets before they can be found?

The shame of Chicago – Are they killing lost pets before they can be found?


Having a pet become lost can be so devastating. Whether it be a cat or a dog or a bird, the loss is still the same. The fear and the pain one feels is overpowering. Sometimes it can be difficult to act because we are so immobilized with fear.

There are so many things that can stand in the way of being reunited with a pet, but among them are:

  • Not having your pet microchipped.
  • Waiting to spread the word. Hoping that he/she will come back in an hour or two.
  • Driving around the neighborhood instead of handing out flyers and getting the word out.
  • Not calling the police, shelters and vet clinics in the area to alert them that your dog is missing.

If you live in St Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and you do not do any of the above, you STILL might be lucky enough to be reunited with your pet. Why?  Because Minnesota has a five-day stray hold that requires pets be held at the animal shelter for at least five days to allow an owner to claim them.

And even if you don’t get them after the five-day hold, your pet may still survive because a rescue was able to take him in or the shelter was able to put him up for adoption.

But if you live in Chicago and your pet goes missing, you better hope and pray you have a lot of luck on your side. Why? Because Mayor Rahm Emanual, and the City Council did something pretty low down and dirty. They introduced, and passed, an ordinance to reduce the stray hold in Chicago from five days to three for dogs and zero days for cats.

YES, I said ZERO DAYS for CATS. 

IMG_8244Not only did they reduce the stray hold time for dogs and cats, but they also reneged on their promise to do an information campaign to inform Chicagoans about the change. Thus, most Chicago pet owners have no idea that their lost pets could be killed before they even have a chance to find them.

And, if you have a cat? Good luck. Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) will most likely have killed it by the time you start looking. Remember, cats have ZERO days to be saved.

So unless your pet is microchipped and you spread the word immediately that he or she is lost, you may never see your lost pet again. Ever.

Feeling a little pissed off? Good. Because I need you to let the mayor and his friends on the council know how you feel about them choosing to reduce the chances of an owner and their pet being reunited.

There is a petition posted on Change.Org demanding that the Mayor, the City Council and CACC revisit this resolution and reconsider the reduction in stray hold (Thank you Lost Dogs Illinois for the heads up!). They also demand the Mayor and City Council inform the citizens of Chicago about the change.

Let’s tell Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council what we think about them killing lost pets.

And one more thing, get you pet microchipped. NOW.

Don’t wait for CACC to tell you it’s too late and they already killed him.

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  1. March 10, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    I wills sign the petition and I will share it…. my tears are running… have no words, I’m just sad…

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 7:03 AM

      Thanks EasyWeimaraner. I find it equally upsetting.

  2. March 10, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Despicable, but considering what this administration has done to public schools and other areas in Chicago, this is not surprising but nonetheless quite sad. Kudos to the Land of the 10,000 Lakes for maintaining the 5 days rule.

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      Let us hope that some pressure can be applied and things can be changed. I don’t get CACC’s attitude towards pets. It’s like they hate animals or something. Thank God for the volunteers.

  3. March 10, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    Signed and tweeted. Found several FB pages for the mayor but couldn’t post on them. 😦

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 7:01 AM

      Thanks Coni! I should have looked to see if you could post on the mayor’s page. So sad that they put this through without a warning to people.

  4. March 10, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    That’s just horrible. I signed, tweeted and facebooked this D-bag. And I shared the link on facebook as well. I can’t imagine finding out that your pet has been euthanized after going through all the horror of them being lost.

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM

      Thanks Jodi. It is just disturbing to think about all the animals that may be killed or placed in a new home via a rescue because their owner could not find them soon enough.

  5. March 10, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Signed. Hope more people will sign.

    • Mel
      March 11, 2015 at 6:35 AM

      I hope so too Catherine.

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM

      Thanks Catherine! Me too.

  6. March 10, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog.

  7. Chicago Cat Rescue
    March 11, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    Actually, this information is not 100 percent correct. They have reduced the stray hold to transfer animals to rescue to open up more space so they don’t have to euthanize. Animals that come in as strays are being held prior to being euthanized the same amount of time as they were in the past. However, they do need a better system in place for people to follow the transfers.

    In the case involving a cat last week, Prince Charming was extremely ill and could no longer breath or stand on his own.

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 6:59 AM

      Great. So the purpose is to free up space, but the outcome is still the same… less lost pets getting reunited with their owners. I am sorry, but I have no knowledge of a cat named Prince Charming. This is purely about lost pets for me. This policy might fix a money and space issue, but it does nothing to help owners of lost pets. It only makes it less likely they will be found.

      • April 1, 2015 at 11:51 AM

        The ordinance is also an encouragement for all owners to microchip their animals. Low or no-cost microchipping is available throughout the city. Also, I’ve personally been to CACC on multiple occasions and they are anything but careless when it comes to microchip scanning and tag-checking. The people who work at CACC DO NOT WANT TO EUTHANIZE anyone’s pets, so they do everything in their power (and yes, unfortunately, budget) to return pets to their rightful home.

  8. Cat
    March 11, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    Before they adjust stray holds how about fixing the many issues at CACC such as no Return to Owner program! Even if your pet is chipped they may forget to scan it or carelessly scan the animal and miss the chip. There is no centralized data base to look for your pet in Chicago and there are limited hours for pet tours to try to find your pet. Many strays already have homes! They don’t need to be shipped off to a rescue or adopted out unless all avenues to find the owners have been exhausted.

    • For the love of Cats
      April 10, 2015 at 3:49 PM

      Not true. Every animal is scanned for a chip, once on intake and once before released to a rescue. If a chip is found, the animal goes on a 7 day letter hold while the chip is researched and owners are contacted.

  9. Natalia Zientek
    March 11, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    Sick world

    • Mel
      March 12, 2015 at 6:53 AM

      Sad one too.

  10. Ali Clyne
    March 13, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    That is so sad. They need to give owners time to find their pets. Pets are family and like children to a lot of people, if they found a child in the street their not going to kill them. Also pet owners need to be responsible for their for pets, always get a chip put in so if lost they can easily be returned.

  11. Kat
    March 20, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    This information isn’t accurate. Please check your facts!!! NO animal at CACC is going to be considered for euthanasia before 5 days. That did not change with the new ordinance. This is awful reporting.

    • Mel
      March 20, 2015 at 9:22 PM

      I am asking the questions Kat. In the end, the ordinance was hidden amongst a bunch of things passed by the council and nothing was ever publicly shared about the chance. Unless you count a press release that was hidden in the monthly business passed by the council section on the mayor’s website. I wonder why it was hidden if there was nothing so strange about it?

    • For the love of Cats
      April 10, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      Amen! This is complete misinformation!

  12. whatmo
    March 30, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    If only there were an election where we could tell this arrogant mayor how we feel?

    • Mel
      March 31, 2015 at 6:43 AM

      I don’t believe the mayor is the total issue.

  13. mike
    March 30, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Read the actual ordinance. The zero-day hold isn’t in there.

    • Mel
      March 31, 2015 at 6:42 AM

      I did. It is.

  14. K. Reinard
    April 10, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    I’m a volunteer at CACC. There is some bad information in this blog post. I would like the author to please read this press release from the Chicago Animal Care + Control, then make the necessary edits. If you’re not sure what those edits are, then please remove your post so not as to spread inaccurate info. Thank you. http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/mayor/Press%20Room/Press%20Releases/2014/November/11.05.14IntroAdoptions.pdf?hc_location=ufi

  15. Eleanor Sheets
    October 23, 2015 at 3:01 PM

    And Chicago is only one city where this goes on. I live in Canada and we have the same problems. We all need tougher animal abuse laws to teach these people that we won’t sit quietly while our animals get abused.

  1. March 15, 2015 at 9:20 PM

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