Dirty conditions at Joliet Animal Control, ex workers claim

April 20, 2012 4:29:33 AM PDT
Two former employees of Joliet Township Animal Control claim cats and dogs are sometimes kept in cramped and dirty conditions.

They shared pictures and video with ABC 7 that they say show animals needlessly suffering. They appear to show a malnourished kitten too sick to stand, another with litter in its mouth, and an animal play area severely soiled.

"When Animal Control officers came back at the end of the shift, at 4 or 5 p.m., we'd find cages untouched. No food. No water. Litter all over the place. Total overcrowding at the shelter," said Bryan Jones, former Joliet Township Animal Control officer.

"If they needed to go to the vet, it wasn't a priority. It was more about the numbers," said former Joliet Township Animal Control worker Cindy Alberico. "They wanted to get the animals adopted and out, not treating the ones that were sick or needed medical care."

Former Animal Control workers Jones and Alberico say they took the photos in September. Both lost their jobs last month.

With just 45 minutes notice, Joliet Township officials allowed ABC 7 in to Animal Control on Thursday. We saw a clean and well cared for facility.

Joliet Township vet tech Patty Taylor concedes overcrowding has led to problems in the past, but she says adoptions are up 100 percent, the number of animals euthanized down 34 percent.

"We are in animal control. We're never going to be a no kill facility," said Taylor. "There are animals with aggression issues, medical issues, and unfortunately we only have so much space here. There are definitely animals put down here."

The former workers say summer is when the numbers of strays surge.

"It's going to start getting overcrowded again; it's going to happen again. It's just a cycle," Alberico said.

"I think one of the concerns we have is this is a temporary fix. If each municipality had the ability to send someone in, there's a check and a balance on it. There's accountability," said Dave Carlson, attorney and Republican Will County state's attorney candidate.

Twice in the last month, the state agriculture department inspected the Joliet Township Animal Control facility. Both times it passed.

Current and former staffs agree, the underlying problem is people who don't have their pets spayed or neutered.