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Rescue groups, foster homes step up to help Chicago shelter animals at risk of euthanasia

Leonor Vivanco-Prengaman, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

CHICAGO -- Nearly a dozen dogs got a break from shelter life and were checked into a pet hotel recently to free up kennels at Chicago's animal shelter, which was on the verge of considering euthanizing dogs for space.

Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control, a nonprofit group, answered the urgent call for help and committed to paying about $1,500 for 11 dogs to be boarded at the PetSmart PetsHotel in the South Loop, said founder Charlie Propsom.

"We can't do this indefinitely. It was just a stopgap measure to get the shelter a little more space," she said. "We'd board them all if we could, forever, but that's not possible. We're trying to alleviate the pressure immediately. We succeeded in that, and the hard work continues in getting to rescues and convincing them to take dogs."

Dog population at the Chicago Animal Care and Control shelter recently reached 300, a critical level that prompted the city shelter to consider euthanizing animals for space if the population didn't decline. The shelter must take in any dog that is brought in, and more are coming than are leaving, creating the crowded living quarters.

A statement from the shelter said it was "very encouraged by the downward trend in its dog population and wants to thank Chicagoans for their efforts and concern for the dogs at the city shelter. The department looks forward to its continued hard work with the community to give our shelter animals the second chances they deserve."

Transferring dogs to the pet hotel and rescue groups helped drive down the number at the shelter.

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The 11 dogs -- including Miley, the 6-year-old bully breed that is the shelter's longest resident, there since July -- were transferred late Thursday and will be allowed to stay at the pet hotel for up to two weeks as the group works to get the dogs to rescue groups to find them foster homes or get them adopted.

After Propsom got the call from Animal Care and Control about the crucial need for space, she in turn picked up the phone to find out where she could temporarily board some dogs.

One place she called was Found Chicago Boarding and Training Center in the Horner Park neighborhood.

"I didn't realize it was to a point where within a day we either need to move dogs or euthanize dogs," said Brittney Frazier, co-owner of Found Chicago and founder of Canines & Company rescue group. "That's a pretty serious situation."

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