Chicago animal shelter under fire for turning away badly injured pit bulls

FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago’s Animal Care and Control Shelter is under fire after a worker there refused to help three badly injured pit bulls early Monday morning.

The dogs were brought there by animal rescue volunteers who say the shelter broke its own rules by turning the animals away.

FOX 32: What was your reaction when the guard told you we're not gonna take them?

"I cannot believe it. I was so frustrated. I said I have three injured animals, three injured dogs. They need to be in the shelter,” said Barbara Kitzerow.

Kitzerow is a Chicago police officer and animal rescue volunteer. She was off duty at 1 am Monday morning when she got a call from police that someone had dumped three injured pit bulls into a South Side neighborhood near the Dan Ryan woods.

Kitzerow and another volunteer drove to the scene and found the frightened dogs.

"They had like bloody scratches on their foreheads. One had like an ear unattached... So you could tell they were in fights,” Kitzerow said.

They then drove the dogs to Chicago’s Animal Care and Control facility at 27th and Western so they could be sheltered and treated. But a security guard told them there's nothing they could do.

"The security guard said the dogs are injured. She cannot take them because of their policy,” Kitzerow said.

Two on-duty Chicago police officers showed up to plead their case, but still the guard refused, forcing the rescuers to take the injured dogs to a private shelter outside the city.

"Our city doesn't sleep. It's a 24/7 city. Our animal shelter should be the same way,” said Alderman Raymond Lopez.

Alderman Lopez, who has been critical of ACC management, says the agency's budget is more than sufficient to handle the situation.

"That is unacceptable. In a city that prides itself on having an open shelter, that is open to any animal that can come in injured or otherwise, to turn our backs on them and refuse to help people do the right thing is just deplorable,” Lopez said.

Two of the pit bulls underwent surgery Tuesday at the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, where the director told FOX 32 that she hopes to be able to adopt out all three dogs in a few weeks.

"I was so worried about them but now this is great news. Very good news,” Kitzerow said.

In a statement, an ACC spokesman says policy only allows police officers-not civilians-to drop off animals after hours. Problem is, there were on-duty police officers who were called to the shelter and urged the security guard to take the dogs, to no avail.

Alderman Lopez says he plans to question the director of animal care and control about the incident.