The idea began with the late Judy Baar Topinka when she was the Illinois State Treasurer, and a program she called Treasured Pets. When she became the Illinois State Comptroller, she changed the program’s name to Comptroller’s Critters – but didn’t change the purpose. Like PetFinder, it was another outlet for people to see adoptable animals online, in this instance from Illinois shelters and rescues.
It’s hard to put a number on it – but so many animals were adopted as a result of Topinka’s vision to use the Internet to support pet adoption. As State Comptroller, Mendoza’s job is about fiscal responsibility. She pointed out at a press conference on April 27 at CACC that pets actually support human health, saving all of us health care dollars. And several studies demonstrate that Mendoza is correct. Also, there’s a real cost to keep animals in shelters, and a cost to euthanization. What’s more pet care, from pet supplies to veterinary care, supports the economy. Nationally, the pet industry infuses nearly 70 billion dollars into the economy. It is one of the most significant sectors of the U.S economy.
Chicago Alderman Daniel Solis (25th Ward) said “Three Aldermen are here, but we’re not alone; most Aldermen have a pet, dogs and maybe cats for those not allergic.”
Mendoza pointed out she’s severely allergic to cats, though her director of external affairs Charles Hagopian just adopted a cat. His is the first official adoption in this new program.
Mendoza hopes that all rescues/shelters in the state participate. There’s no downside.
Mendoza also worked with Aldermen, particularly Nick Sposato (38th Ward), to support passage of an ordinance to prevent dogs and cats from being sold at pet stores because those poor animals are sourced at puppy mills. Chicago (and also entirety of Cook County) is among over 200 cities across America to have a similar law/ordinance in place. Cari Meyers of the Puppy Mill project explained that in Illinois, a bill sits in the senate that would abolish the law to prevent dogs/cats sold at pet stores, and in Chicago some stores have ignored the law and continue to sell pets. Mendoza also spoke about the same.
Alderman James Cappleman (46th Ward) is a licensed social worker, and he told a touching story of how much dogs can mean. When a dog was snuck into a facility to say goodbye to a dying women; she died the following day. “She needed to say goodbye to her dog,” Cappleman said.
I also spoke about the human/animal bond, and noted that Mendoza is right about calling the current director of Chicago Animal Care & Control, Susan Russell, “a rock star.” I pointed out that today things are very different in Chicago, compared to when Judy Baar Topinka first began her program. I said, “We’re doing as well as many other cities our size, defined as getting animals out of the facility alive, yet with fewer resources including a smaller budget.” I credited Russell, but also a legion of rescues, the staff and volunteers.
Resurrecting Comptroller’s Critters isn’t only a way to save the State money and save animal lives, all agreed it’s the best way to remember and honor Judy Baar Topinka.
And as a way to celebrate Comptroller’s Critters, CACC will have a special adoption event! FREE adoptions.
Spring is the beginning of the busy season at Chicago Animal Care & Control, so the shelter is joining forces with the Bissell Pet Foundation to “Empty the Shelter.”
The department is waiving the adoption fee for all animals in an effort to help residents reap the benefits of the unconditional love of a pet. The public can view adoptable pets eligible for the promotion on Saturday, April 29th from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Chicago Animal Care and Control, 2741 S. Western Avenue.
Other activities including a DIY cat and dog toy-making station, cat and dog behavior consultations, and educational materials courtesy of the volunteers of Friends of Chicago Animal Care & Control, and Safe Humane Chicago – two of CACC’s non-profit partners.
“We want to make it as easy for Chicagoans to adopt pets and to help as many animals as possible, which is why we are planning fee-waived adoption events throughout the year,” said Susan Russell, CACC Executive Director.
All dogs and cats available for adoption at CACC are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped prior to adoption. In addition to a new best friend, families who adopt during Empty the Shelters will take home free pet care supplies as our thank you for choosing adoption. You may save a life, or your friends may – spread the word.
Comptroller Mendoza explains further on my WGN Radio show.