Mayor names new commissioner of Animal Care and Control

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Susan Russell to oversee the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control. (WLS)

A new commissioner is taking over the agency that takes care of Chicago's animals.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Susan Russell to oversee the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control.

As the new commissioner, Russell's mission is to make the transition from the streets to new homes as loving as possible for the animals.

"We are doing our best to get a handle on this," she said.

The dog flu outbreak from last winter is still a present danger.

"I will tell you it is really tough because we are an open admission city shelter we are doing our darndest to separate those animals that come in that do not have signs of any kind of coughing or nasal discharge," Russell said.

Out behind the shelter, play time for the dogs happens with help from some of the 200 volunteers the facility depends on.

Behavioral programs delivered through partnerships with Safe Humane Chicago, and hundreds of other rescue organizations, CACC said, is an answer to problems of neglect and poor morale, highlighted in the past by the ABC7 I-Team.

Some of Russel's top values include respect for life, humane stewardship of animal, good people and compassion.

The agency takes in 20,000 animals a year, and has reduced euthanasia for cats and dogs by 27 percent since 2014. Russel wants to get that to zero.

"If all Chicagoans just microchipped and tagged their pets we would have far fewer animals in our shelter," she said. "It's critical."

Russell will be holding an open house at the shelter on 2741 S. Western Avenue, this Saturday.
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