|(L to R) Susan Taney, Lost Dogs Illinois; Becky McKinley Monroe, author, advocate and blogger|
(I took the picture!)
On a very snowy day in January 2015, Susan Taney, Becky McKinley Monroe and I took the train into Chicago to attend a Cook County Council meeting at Chicago City Hall. We entered written testimony to the County Council about the dysfunctional lost pet recovery system at Cook County Animal and Rabies Control. You can read more about this here and here on the Lost Dogs Illinois website.
Change is often agonizingly slow when it comes to government. But thankfully, the animals of Cook County have a champion on the Board of Commissioners, Commissioner John Fritchey. He had already been hearing complaints from his constituents and also had a personal bad experience with the department.
John Fritchey requested an audit of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control and the findings were released on Friday, August 23, 2015. You can read the entire fifteen page report at this link. I have reproduced my favorite section below:
Will this bring about change? Will more lost pets make it back home and less be killed in the shelters that contract with Cook County? Time will tell. But at least, there is now some documentation and recommendations to work from. Going forward, the citizens of Cook County will need to hold the Department's feet to the fire. They will need to hold their government accountable and make sure that the changes recommended are implemented.
Advocacy is boring. And it's slow. And it's frustrating. But the animals can't do it for themselves.
So please go ahead. Make that call to your local representatives. Write that email. Find that champion on your local council. Attend council meetings and introduce yourself. Shake their hands. Ask them to listen to your concerns. It is never in vain.
On that slow train ride home we never would have dreamed that in such a short amount of time, such a comprehensive report would be released.
Thank you to Susan Taney of Lost Dogs Illinois for the countless hours you devoted to making this happen. You are my hero.
In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength but through perseverance. - Author Unknown