Chicago Animal Control Sued for Withholding Records

Posted on January 23, 2014

For immediate release:


Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animal Legal Defense Fund Takes City Shelter to Court for Failure to Produce Public Documents on Treatment of Cats and Dogs

shelter-cc-beverly-pack-article-image-500px-v2CHICAGO – Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) for failure to produce crucial public records regarding the safety and well-being of hundreds of cats and dogs held at the shelter. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, comes under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, which gives the public the right to access information such as veterinary treatment–or lack thereof–and numbers of animals held by the facility. CACC has routinely cited “undue burden” in response to public records requests despite its legal obligation to cooperate with and share its public documents. CACC is a publicly funded facility with electronic records of the regular impoundment of animals in the Chicago area. ALDF seeks a court order to inspect these public records in order to ensure that homeless animals are receiving the legal protections to which they are entitled.

Chicago’s shelter—which houses over 500 animals—has regularly failed to produce medical history reports and kennel cards for the animals in its care. In December, 2013, the CACC lost track of 1200 cats when it released them to a rescue group that subsequently could not account for the animals. Media reports broke a story this week that questioned CACC’s role in a recent stray dog attack in a suburban Chicago neighborhood.

Illinois received top rankings for animal protection laws, according to ALDF’s eighth annual State Rankings Report—the longest-running, most comprehensive report of its kind. Illinois’ Animal Welfare Act, Animal Control Act, and Humane Care for Animals Act are examples of the state’s strong animal protection laws. Without enforcement and access to records, today’s lawsuit argues the public cannot hold facilities accountable to these animal protection laws.

“Public transparency is crucial when it comes to the welfare of so many homeless cats and dogs,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Chicago taxpayers want the best for the city’s homeless animals, and this secrecy by taxpayer funded CACC tramples upon our ability to prevent the abuse of animals.”

Copies of the lawsuit are available by request.

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10 thoughts on “Chicago Animal Control Sued for Withholding Records

  1. Lori Hessinger Benefiel says:

    I think you should pay them for who they save,not pay for all they kill

  2. Barry says:

    I’ve not read the full suit but have wonder whether this a case of wouldn’t or couldn’t. By that I mean to ask whether the organization has the means, resources, and knowledge to be able to sufficiently manage the information they should have. My hope would be that the result of the legal action helps to secure what is needed and/or highlights the gaps. Kudos to the state of Illinois for being a leader, hopefully the legislation has the financial backing it needs.

    1. Cheryle says:

      I am lost on your words Barry. You say “Kudos to the state of Illinois for being a leader”??? How are they leading anything? This happened due to ALDF filing a law suit against the City of Chicago. The way I am reading this, Illinois is not taking part in this on their own merit!

  3. Ellen Ewers says:

    Please stop it now!!!! :(((((((((

  4. gene says:

    perhaps they are simply selling them to research facilities. Hope not but in any case they are not above the law and they cant claim national security or some other lame excuse. More likely its a cover up for poor performance.

  5. Michelle Bringas says:

    Have you been to CACC? I volunteered for a short stint. They’re way understaffed, in my opinion. These people WORK! Funding??

  6. Jeannie McGrew says:

    Put them in a cage and see how quick they change their minds!

  7. end this please it is just so sad

  8. Lia says:

    CACC is one of the worst run facilities I’ve ever stepped foot in. Yes, they are short staffed, but have many volunteers there on a daily basis. The Vets just want the animals out, they don’t effectively keep track of medical records, the animals there need medical care which they don’t get enough of and the city could care less and allows this facility to handle records, animals, sanitation (lack of) and weak employees to do as they please.
    Spend an hour there, you’ll understand.
    It needs to be under investigation for multiple reasons!

  9. Shell says:

    Hmmm? Public records are being witheld from the public…SOMETHING STINKS IN DENMARK!!!!

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