Talking Pets with Paul Vallas

pet expert Steve Dale invites animal loves to Paul Vallas listening session


When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Susan Russell as executive director of Chicago Animal Care & Control (CACC), I authored several posts expressing my absolute dismay. It didn’t make an sense. And now that Rahm isn’t running for Mayor after all, the move has proved positively idiotic.

Several of the higher profile candidates for Mayor shared my posts in social media, and said they would follow up with me. However only Paul Vallas followed up, and he was the only candidate who felt it was important enough to personally attend the protest of Russell’s dismissal held at CACC.

Still, Vallas declined to speak at the protest. He told me he didn’t want to appear exploitative. I was impressed.

We met for breakfast about a week later.

  • He indicated he would publicly express outrage at Russell’s dismissal, which he did.
  • He asked for a listening session with animal welfare experts, veterinarians and others so he can learn. The first candiate for Mayor I have known to elevate animal welfare so it’s actually a campaign issue.  
  • Instead of attempting to micromanage CACC (as Emanel’s administration has done), and make uninformed and/or politically-based decisions regarding animal welfare issues, he promised that when he becomes Mayor he will create an expert Task Force. (At the direction of then Alderman Shirley Coleman, and later then Alderman Gene Schulter, Vallas was aware that I formed and co-chaired the City Task Force on Companion Animals and Public Safety. I will say that without our direction, a pit bull ban (and likely Rottweilers thrown into the mix) would have happened in Chicago. We beat back Aldermen several times on this issue at the time). Instead of reporting to aldermen, this Task Force would report directly to Mayor Vallas.
  • Vallas also promises more dollars for CACC’s budget.


The listening session with Paul Vallas IS happening, October 15 at  6 p.m. at the Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.

Many who work and volunteer at various City shelters have been invited. Also, many in veterinary medicine, or who work with animals. However, the organizers, myself with Erica Bishaf, founder Pet Gotcha Day! and Paul Sippil, financial advisor and Community Dining host feel strongly about welcoming anyone who cares about animal welfare relate issues. The room only holds so many folks, it’s first come first serve for tickets. Tell your animal loving friends.

Click HERE to order tickets.

We will also Facebook live the event on the Pet Gotcha Day! Facebook page.

By hearing you out, perhaps Vallas, who is a viable candidate, can better formulate his views. This event is meant to inform Paul Vallas, elevate the status of companion animals into the political realm, and an opportunity to meet and mix with others from shelters, rescues and veterinary medicine sharing similar interests and values where we can share our perspectives in a robust discussion.

Of course, the event is free.