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Please, consider delaying having children. Rescue a dog.

Really, can't wait? Those eggs getting stale? It's not always about you. They are literally hundreds of Rovers and Muffies about to be marched off a cliff and you do nothing.


Get off your fat ass and adopt a dog and a cat. And buy a Hoover carpet cleaner while you're at it. You'll need that.


Bleak outcomes at overcrowded shelters

Illustration of a dog collar with a metal pendant in the shape of an emergency symbol with an exclamation point.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios


Chicago's public animal shelter is overcrowded and running out of places to send the thousands of dogs and cats it's taking in.


Why it matters: Without enough people adopting to keep up with the rise in intakes, more dogs and cats are being euthanized or dying in care at the city-run shelter than at this time in 2022.


Driving the news: Chicago Animal Care and Control's intake of dogs and cats was up almost 8% in the first half of 2023, totaling roughly 7,700, compared with about 7,160 during the same period last year.


  • Meanwhile, more than 450 dogs and cats have been euthanized or died in care than at this time last year, per CACC data spanning Jan. 1 to Aug. 22 in 2022 and 2023.

  • That means about 25% of the cats and dogs CACC has taken in this year have died, up from 20% during the same period in 2022.



Data: Chicago Animal Care and Control; Note: Includes owner-requested euthanasia, shelter administered euthanasia, and other deaths; Chart: Axios Visuals


By the numbers: CACC is on track to surpass its highest intake total in the last five years, as well as the highest numbers of dogs and cats dying at the shelter.


More than 2,500 dogs and cats died at the shelter last year, the most since 2018.


Context: CACC is mandated by city ordinance to take in strays, and it often takes in owner-surrendered animals to care for them or find them new homes.


What they're saying: Intake is up partly because spay and neuter services were paused during the pandemic, hence the dog and cat population grew, department spokesperson Armando Tejeda tells Axios.


CACC has taken in 730 more strays than it had by this time last year.

The big picture: Animal intakes at public and private shelters nationwide are expected to reach a three-year high in 2023, and animals leaving shelters through adoption or returns to owners are not keeping pace, according to the Shelter Animals Count (SAC) database.


About 51,000 dogs were euthanized from January to July 2023, a 37% increase from that same period in 2022, according to data submitted by organizations that report to SAC.

Between the lines: Housing and economic strain are driving more people to relinquish their pets, Stephanie Filer from SAC tells Axios.


Filer particularly noted a squeeze on renters, given that many landlords require pet fees, adding to the costs of owning an animal.


Plus, once counties lifted their pandemic eviction moratorium, some pet owners faced housing insecurity.


Of note: Last September, CACC launched a "diversion" program that helps connect pet owners with resources that they may not be able to afford, such as veterinary care, food or behavioral services, to prevent animal relinquishment.


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