FOX 32 NEWS - Nearly five thousand animals were euthanized at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control shelter last year.
And while that number is actually dropping, it's large enough that a majority of Chicago aldermen are now signing on to an order to make that shelter a no-kill facility.
It’s a good day at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control facility. At 430 animals, they're a bit below capacity right now.
Even so, it's likely some of these cats and dogs will eventually be euthanized, which is a practice some aldermen say needs to stop.
"It shows that we have compassion. And it shows that we care about those that cannot defend themselves,” said Alderman Raymond Lopez.
Lopez is one of 30 Chicago aldermen who have signed an order mandating that Animal Care and Control become a no-kill facility, which means fewer than ten percent of animals taken in are euthanized, and then only for health and safety reasons.
Last year, nearly 28-percent of the animals brought to Chicago's Animal Care and Control were eventually euthanized. That includes about 33-hundred dogs and eleven-hundred cats.
"We need a shakeup. We need a shakeup in the culture there where we're not just simply processing animals in and shipping them out. Euthanizing them to make space for the next batch we're shipping in. That mindset has to come to an end,” Lopez said.
"We do share the same goals as these aldermen of increasing live outcomes at the city shelter,” said Susan Russell, Director of ACC.
But Animal Care and Control executive director Susan Russell says banning euthanasia except in the most extreme cases could also cause problems.
As an open admission shelter, they have to take every animal despite temperament or health. She says that could lead to severe overcrowding, which causes disease and stress.
"It is something a shelter has to control. We look forward to keeping our capacity for care at a place where we have a healthy population, and better adoptions and better return to owners,” Russell said.
Russell says the shelter is working to improve its outreach with community partners and animal placement groups to find homes for more animals, something the alderman says needs to happen soon.
"We have to do a better job at getting those animals into forever homes so that will ultimately bring down our euthanasia numbers,” Lopez said.
The no-kill order has been sent to the city council's finance committee for further discussion.