Chicago Animal Care and Control Update

by Mary Haight on November 22, 2010

This question came up in my last post, Chicago Animal Care and Control – New Incident, how many stories like Ellen Graham’s does it take to get media involved?  How about 65?  That’s the number of individuals Graham says have reclaimed their animals from ACC and found they were ill, many with distemper. Graham has heard many stories similar to her own while collecting signatures.

According to her latest figures, Graham and her friends are closing in on 2000 signatures on her petition to change conditions and procedures at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control after she suffered the loss of her cat, Boo, and the infection of her two other cats with the deadly Panleukopenia virus.  Her cats were released by CACC without giving her notice that they had been exposed to this virus in the facility.  Graham reports that records show her cat  Boo was treated with a vaccine for FLPV.  CACC knew this disease was present.

There is one more bit of news from Graham – the Chicago Animal Care and Control vet, Dr. Yamaji, spent his own money covering the bills for her two other cats.  He also went above and beyond the call of duty by calling  every couple of hours to report on Boo’s condition.  When he had to go off duty, he put Robert Zborek, a vet tech, in charge of watching Boo. Zborek saw Boo put her head up in the  morning.  She died a few hours later. There are good people who care working at CACC.

If there are that many people out there with animals who have gotten sick at CACC, I would hope they come forward, report their experience, offer what proof they have.  People need to be aware of these issues so something can get done to change them. 

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11 comments
ex-emp
ex-emp

The only reason there has't been a serious outbreak at CACC is due to sheer luck.There are still animals being found dead in cages and it's not getting any better. As far as cleaning, there's NO WAY all those cages can be cleaned properly. Every disinfectant-even bleach needs a contact time, usually 10 minutes, to be effective. There's not enough staff and not enough time. One of the main causes of disease is overcrowding. As long as animals are in half cages and multiple animals are in one cage-that's overcrowding. And when there's more than twice the animals a facility is chartered to hold, it's a disaster waiting to happen. It's a shame all those animals have to suffer when downtown is aware of what's happening and chooses to do nothing.

AnimalAdvocate
AnimalAdvocate

(*con'd) Stray populations are often unvaccinated and many have not received vet care. Many animals will come in with disease -- at no fault of a municipal or private shelter. At a huge shelter where 1,000 (I really have no idea -- just a guess) animals are there at any given time, you are certain to have animals with virtually every possible virus. Good shelters will have minimal cross-contamination, but due to how virus' spread (droplets and fomites, usually), it is impossible to make sure there is no spread. To write, "Her cats were released by CACC without giving her notice that they had been exposed to this virus in the facility," is unfair. Any shelter may have any number of virus' present as new stray populations continue to enter and are legally held for the owner to reclaim. There is no evidence to suggest that there was any large outbreak that shelter staff ignored. And, in fact, if Ms. graham's cats were the only ones affected, that indicates the cleaning of the shelter is fairly good. If cleaning methods were unsatisfatory, you'd expect a full-blown outbreak.

AnimalAdvocate
AnimalAdvocate

The post is a bit misleading. You wrote, "Graham reports that records show her cat Boo was treated with a vaccine for FLPV. CACC knew this disease was present." There is no FLPV vaccine. My guess is that you are referring to FVRCP, which is the standard vaccine ANY competent shelter gives animals the minute the enter their facility (as they would give a DAPPC or similar canine vaccine). Giving the vaccine is not an admission of knowing a certain disease is present; it is, however, the best chance at providing some protection for a stray animal whose vaccine history is unknown when it comes in the door. If CACC had NOT done this, I would agree that there was a huge problem. But, they did.

Mel
Mel

I hope that change can come soon. It makes me sad that Ellen had to lose one cat and bring two home sick in order for people to take notice (although you've been reporting on this issue for a while Mary). I also know that where there are bad people, there are also good. I am glad you could recognize those folks here.

ex-emp
ex-emp

All animals entering CACC are routinely vaccinated. This is a procedure that has been in place for years. So it's not as if they knew there were diseases, all animals are vaccinated just in case. Of course, with the severe overcrowding and lack of staff to clean properly you can bet there's a lot of stuff floating around there.

ex-emp
ex-emp

Dr. Yamaji is a prince, going way beyond what he needed to do. He makes CACC proud

Helen
Helen

It's good to know that amidst all the other horrors, there are some good apples!

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