Activism / Community Involvement


“Not since Roger Caras has a media person been as beneficial for animals as Steve Dale. America’s foremost radio advocate for vulnerable creatures. He speaks for all of us who care deeply “. – Mordecai Siegal, author of 28 books is the Dean of America’s pet book authors.

Mardi Growl:

ImageAfter learning the LASPCA, the largest shelter in Louisiana, was destroyed after Hurricane Katrina, Steve asked the executive director “Do you have a new building fund?” She laughed. So, Steve said, “I’ll start one.” He organized a benefit (a WGN listener thought up the name) at the dog friendly House of Blues Hotel, and enlisted help from the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, and their executive director Patricia Montgomery. Together, Patricia and Steve pulled the benefit together in about ten days. Nearly 500 people attended, not to mention at least 50 dogs.

Also, vets around the city and suburbs raised more dollars by providing canisters at their clinics; dog trainers belonging to the Chicago Area Pet Trainer Association passed ‘the kitty’ to raise more in their training classes.

Funds equally benefited VMAT – Veterinary Medical Assistance teams who respond to disasters (the American Veterinary Medical Association matched funds for that half of the money raised) as well as the LASPCA.

Steve and CVMA raised nearly $40,000, and the publicity prompted national attention to the plight of the LASPCA. See Mardi Growl print press: Advance press in both of Chicago’s major papers. Coverage in the Chicago Tribune. Letter to the Editor from LASPCA in Chicago Tribune. Click here to view the poster and pictures of the event.

Tax on Rabies Vaccines:

Politicians in Illinois created a bill to fund low cost/no cost spay/neuter which would have been funded by taxing rabies vaccines. Steve publicly fought this legislation, and participated in a meeting at the state capital to create alternative sources of revenue, 2005.

Firehouse Dogs:

After learning Chicago is one of the only American cities with a continuing firehouse dog tradition, Steve asked for and received a donation of a year of free pet food from Iams for each of the individual firehouse dogs. Steve presented the Chicago Fire Department and firefighters with the donation on live TV in 2005. Read the press release.

Ricky Fund:

Steve set up this fund, named for his cat Ricky, with the Winn Feline Foundation to fund research on feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. So far, several studies have been funded with the more than $65,000 raised since 2002. Learn more at

Pets for Afghanistan Kids:

President Bush asked children in the U.S. to each send a dollar to help care for the kids in Afghanistan. Steve and the American Veterinary Medical Association realized that millions of Americans only have ‘children’ with four legs or feathers, yet they too wanted to help the children of Afghanistan. The Pets for Afghanistan Kids fund made it possible to donate in their pet’s names(s). Steve and the AVMA set up such a fund, and countless thousands were raised and delivered directly to the White House, 2001. Read press release, story in Journal of the AVMA.

Breed Specific Legislation:

Greatly as a result of Steve’s public outcry on WGN Radio, and his on air interview with Alderman Shirley Coleman, he was requested by the City of Chicago to create and lead a task force to seek alternatives to breed specific bans, and to re-write the city’s animal control act, 2000. Read the story from the AVMA.

Chicago Welcomes Service Dogs:

After years of Chicago cab drivers refusing to pick up people with service/assistance dogs, Steve initiated a campaign to focus attention on these dogs. Working with the Chicago Department of Consumer Services, signage in all Chicago taxis now reads "Chicago Welcomes Service Dogs." Steve developed a leaflet which was repeatedly stuffed in paychecks of employees of hotels, the Chicago transportation authority, and dozens of tourist attractions in 2000. See the signage that appeared in all Chicago Taxis, and the paycheck stuffer.

Breed Specific Legislation:

Testified in Buffalo Grove, IL against breed bans, 2000.

Dog Friendly Areas:

Through his radio show on WGN, Steve helped to found DOG/Chicago and create a protocol for developing dog friendly areas in Chicago, working with various community activists, the Mayor’s Office and the Chicago Police.