Ex-Director Chicago Animal Care and Control, Susan Russell on WGN Radio


I’ve had the former director of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) Susan Russell on Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio many times, but listen HERE to the first time since the City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired her just before July 4. His timing of her firing wasn’t in the best interest of animals either, as we discuss.

The number of cats and dogs getting out alive increased under Russell’s stewardship, particularly dogs – and for both dogs and cats, now over 90 percent.

As Alderman Ray Lopez (15th ward) has for some time been pounding away that Chicago needs to be “no kill,” and has criticized Russell from the start. Lopez has not provided funding or any other resource to move the City into “no kill” territory, or a real plan for his idea or created a real coalition of animal welfare groups and veterinarians. And meanwhile, Russell, managed to move Chicago into “no kill” territory, despite obstacles, at least as defined by many communities, which is saving over 90 percent.

This is the live release rate for dogs and cats, the number are, so far, over 90 percent for both in 2018

Live – on the air – Russell challenged Lopez to a conversation. I will follow up to ascertain his interest. Previously, when I was on the radio with John Williams on WGN with Russell, he asked Lopez to join us, and he declined.

Over 14,000 animals arrive through the door annually. Like most municipal facilities, Chicago Animal Care and Control. by law, accepts everything. Speaking of which, Alderman Lopez, on WTTW-TV said “I think as we look forward to the new director, we have to look at a partnership between the new director at the City Council and the Mayor’s office to institute laws that limit the amount of animals that come through that shelter.”

Is this a Chicago dog? Is this dog inherently “bad” because of a certain look? Of course, the answer is “no”


Yes – the Alderman is right, limit the number of animals arriving at the door, and you will not have over-crowding.

However, where does he propose all the animals then go? Russell’s response: You can hear.

Russell does talk about how effective various groups are now at diverting animals before they enter CACC, which I call “a secret sauce.”

We talk about some of the fallacies involving pit bull looking dogs. “I don’t want to say a dog with a certain look is  better or worse than any other,” says Russell. “If we start embracing those that flood the city shelters, more of these animals would get homes.”