Animal Welfare League of Chicago Celebrates 80-Years


Animal Welfare League of Chicago, celebrating 80 years! Hear this radio show, about the shelter where we adopted Hazel.

First, I speak with newsman Dave Schwaynee about an odd lost dog story, and Dave agrees.

I tell Hazel’s story, and Terri Sparks offers the story of the Animal Welfare League of Chicago.

I honestly forgot to mention what Merrick Pet Foods has done. To celebrate this amazing facility’s anniversary, they are donating 80 four lb. bags of food for the BEST PETS EVER!

Also, yo can help them to celebrate 80-years  of serving the community and the homeless, abandoned and abused animals at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park on September 26. For more information, click here.

Animal Welfare League Celebrates 80 Years of Serving the Community

with a Gala Event, September 26, 2015


Chicago Ridge, IL – August 31, 2015. On Saturday, September 26, 2015, the Animal Welfare League (AWL) will be hosting an 80th Anniversary Celebration Gala at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park, Illinois. Everyone is invited to attend as we celebrate 80 years of saving homeless, abandoned and abused animal’s lives.

Tickets are $60 each or a full table for $575. Ticket price includes buffet dinner, live music by Centerfold, soft drinks, dessert and coffee. Be sure to check out all the awesome raffle baskets available as well. Tickets may be purchased at the shelter, online at or by calling 708-636-8586 x268.

The funds raised during this event will “Help Us Help Them” by underwriting event costs leaving more resources to promote shelter adoptions and provide a safe haven for those in need. This event is proudly sponsored by the Petco Foundation, Merial/Heartgard, Thornton Powell and Desmond & Ahern.

HISTORY OF THE AWL:  In 1935, a vision became reality when a group of compassionate humanitarians came together to relieve suffering among animals… the Illinois Citizens Animal Welfare League.

Decades ago, the streets of Chicago were teemed with horse-drawn coal, watermelon and junk wagons driven by peddlers. Some owned their horse and wagon but many hired horses and equipment from stables. These stables were often poorly maintained. Most in fact were fire traps in deplorable condition. Horses were sometimes kept in stalls on the second floor making it practically impossible to safely bring them down raps to the ground floor exits in the event of an emergency. Urine soaked into the dirt or wooden plank floor of the stalls. There was no drainage. Hoards of flies gathered in the unscreened stables, attracted by improperly handled and stored manure, adding to the horses’ discomfort. Often the stables were not tall enough for the horses to stand erect. Horses were found with sores from poor harnessing and shafting.

Money more often than not was made at the expense of the horses pulling the wagons, given the peddlers’ intense competition to earn a buck. It was not uncommon for loads of coal and watermelons to be so heavy that several men had to push the wagon to get it rolling.

The Chicago Horse & Wagon Peddlers Ordinance in effect at the time was not utilized fully by the Chicago Police Department. The burden of enforcement appeared to fall upon us at the Animal Welfare League. The League would investigate complaints and take immediate steps to have the violating peddler arrested and fined.

The League was instrumental in having the police department become more aware of this ordinance and its provisions thus relieving the suffering of these beautiful beasts!

Eighty Five years later, the AWL has grown to become the largest humane facility in the Chicagoland area, serving over 19,000 animals annually from more than 54 communities. Its multi-faceted mission: to prevent cruelty to animals, provide quality homes through its adoption program, promote respect and compassion for all creatures through education, provide shelter and care for homeless and unwanted animals, reduce pet overpopulation through low cost spay/neuter clinics, provide veterinary care for low-income pet owners and relieve the suffering of all animals – is carried out by a dedicated staff and volunteers.

Today, the Animal Welfare league operates two shelters in the Chicagoland area.  Our founding shelter is located on Wabash Avenue in Chicago serving the impoverished area.  Our main office, located in Chicago Ridge, is a full-service shelter open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The AWL operates a full service clinic that is open to the public Monday through Saturday.   The Animal Welfare League prides itself on the fact that every animal that makes its way to our door is accepted: no animal is ever turned away.

Approximately, 120 employees and over 200 amazing volunteers put their heart and soul into their work at the League.  Among the services provided by the League are:

•                Adoption services

•                Veterinary care

•                Low cost spay/neuter services

•                Assisting owners find lost pets

•                Microchipping of pets to help ensure lost pets are re-unite with their owners when separated

•                Foster care program for sick, infant and injured animals

•                Education outreach program on the humane treatment of animals

•                Monthly distribution of pet food at the Wabash facility to pet owners residing in economically  challenged areas of the city

•                Volunteer Program for adults and students