The City of Chicago is looking to hire two people to fill the top two positions at the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) — it’s huge shelter. They are looking for someone to be the director and supervising veterinarian of the CACC. If history is any indication, the jobs won’t be filled with people who know anything about animal welfare or shelters.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that, “Sandra Alfred retired last week while attention was focused on City Council approval of Emanuel’s plan to raise property taxes by $588 million for police and fire pensions and school construction and impose a first-ever garbage collection fee of $9.50 a month.
“Alfred was replaced, at least temporarily, by her top deputy, Ivan Capifali. The Better Government Association has reported that Capifali has no previous experience in animal rescue and welfare, and a history of disciplinary suspensions at the city’s now-defunct Department of Environment. He was handed a $20,000 pay raise and appointed to the No. 2 job in April 2012.”
More information is provided on Capifali by the Better Government Association on their website. They state “… Ivan Capifali who had worked at the city’s Department of Environment until that department was eliminated by Emanuel. But Capifali received a $20,000 raise.” Also “Emanuel’s now-former chief of staff, Theresa Mintle, signed off on Capifali’s hiring, the spokesman indicated. Mintle did not return our calls.”
He admitted that he had no experience in animal rescue and welfare. According to the BGA article, his personnel file revealed problems and three disciplinary suspensions during his time with the Department of Environment. See the article for specifics, but the file cited “substandard work performance, tardiness, absenteeism, insubordinate actions” and more. This was obtained by the BGA from information they obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
In addition to his poor work ethics (according to the city personnel file), Capifali also dumped his family dog weeks after being hired at a salary of $95,000. His dog, a black Labrador retriever named Rocco, was surrendered to PAWS after he paid CACC to give Rocco rabies shots. PAWS came to CACC to retrieve his dog.
Really, Chicago? Someone in charge of the city shelter who DUMPS his own dog? The citizens of Chicago should not stand by idly while this happens.
According to the Change.org petition, Capifali has been appointed the temporary director of CACC, but for obvious reasons he is not qualified to be the director of the CACC. The petition states, in part:
“Now, two top leadership positions at Chicago Animal Care and Control are vacant: director and supervising veterinarian. The supervising veterinarian position has been vacant for more than two years, which has worsened the spread of disease throughout the shelter. Deputy Director Ivan Capifali has no previous animal sheltering experience and is not a suitable candidate to helm CACC.”
Another article posted on the BGA website written by Robert Herguth & Steve Miller (WBBM Newsradio) is titled “No Second Chance at City Pound” and it details how two dogs were accidentally killed. One was killed at the end of a catch pole — choked to death — and the other was killed by lethal injection. Chance was given only nine days to get rescued but had mistakenly not been put on a “do not kill” list.
These are just two of the many errors that have resulted in the deaths of innocent animals at the hands of CACC. One dog almost died after being left in a van for five days with no food or water after an event during a hockey game (see news report here). The people who know about what happens at the shelter are sick and tired of people running the shelter who don’t appear to care enough to want to make changes. Other cities can become no-kill. Chicago has people who are championing that philosophy.
Don Levin, a wealthy benefactor of Animal Care who co-founded the Chicago Wolves hockey team, has donated two million dollars to CACC for improvements. But even he is concerned about the practices there. PAWS Chicago opened the Lurie spay and neuter clinic to offer free or low-cost spay and neuter programs to help with the overpopulation problem that plagues big cities like Chicago. With caring people like that on the side of the animals, Mayor Emanuel needs to make sure that whoever is hired, for BOTH of those important positions, is someone who is also on the side of the animals. We need to make sure that it’s not just another political hire, not just another hire from within of someone not qualified to do the job.
The Change.org petition ends with these words:
“This transition is a unique opportunity to transform CACC into a place where lives are saved. The signatories to this petition ask that the City of Chicago conduct a nationwide search and appoint a Shelter Director with a commitment to saving healthy and treatable animals. Additionally, the signatories demand that an experienced supervising veterinarian be hired immediately and that the canine influenza outbreak be adequately addressed.”
It goes on to state, “The city of Chicago faces a choice. If we adhere to the current model, our tax dollars will continue to be spent to kill innocent animals. Instead, the taxpaying citizens of Chicago demand that our city’s animal shelter become a place of life, hope and love.“
As someone who lives in the suburbs of Chicago, this is important to me. Please share this story. Please share the petition. Please ask family and friends to share and to sign the petition. Let’s show the Chicago politicians that we ALL care about the animals in Chicago.
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