PetravelR™ has been featuring private not-for-profit animal shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups on Adopt a Friend. This week we’re doing something a little different. Adopt a Friend is spotlighting DuPage County Animal Care & Control, a municipal government-run shelter in Wheaton, Illinois (about an hour west of Chicago). An animal rescue volunteer who works with the shelter recommended DCACC for Adopt a Friend.
DuPage County Animal Care & Control is a municipal shelter. But even though it is a department of the Dupage County government, DCACC receives no tax dollars and is entirely self-supporting.
When PetravelR™ began researching DCACC, we discovered something pretty amazing. DuPage County Animal Care & Control is the only open admission shelter in the western suburbs of Chicago, and it cannot refuse any animal brought through its doors. Yet, last year DCACC reached its goal of euthanizing zero animals in its care.
In addition to operating an animal shelter and finding good homes for homeless animals, DCACC conducts public education programs for adults and children, enforces state and county animal welfare laws, promotes responsible pet-ownership and animal welfare, and rescues animals that are lost, diseased, injured, or in peril.
But DuPage County Animal Care & Control does so much more. In addition to spaying/neutering each dog & cat that is adopted from the shelter, DCACC also participates in many spay and neuter projects, such as the Domestic Rabbit Spay/Neuter Program.
DCACC’s website provides a wealth of animal care tips, including extensive information on pet behavior. There’s also the Pet Crazy Kids Club, an after school club for animal-lovin’ kids, age 8-11. The club meets once a week for 6 weeks, and each session includes an animal-related art project or educational activity and interaction time with DCACC adoption animals!
Of course, DCACC can’t do all this without help from the community. They rely on a dedicated team of foster families who each year care for hundreds of kittens, puppies and dogs until they are old enough to be placed up for adoption. Then there are the many volunteers - Dog Walkers who walk, and exercise adoption dogs; Cat Fanciers who groom & exercise adoption cats; Animal Care volunteers who clean, feed, groom, and provide exercise for shelter cats; Animal Pals who accompany shelter staff and adoptable pets to the DuPage Convalescent Center to visit with residents; and Special Event Volunteers who represent the shelter and handle animals at special events and/or help with fundraising activities.
But being a self-supporting shelter also means that DCACC also needs community support to cover the costs of its programs and to care for all the shelter animals. The Friends of DuPage County Animal Care and Control Foundation is is a tax exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization committed to enhancing the humane initiatives of Animal Control by providing DCACC with the resources that its normal operating budget cannot furnish. The Friends of DCACC Foundation works to raise the funds needed to provide DCACC with the equipment, supplies and programs that it could not otherwise afford.
The Foundations many programs and projects include:
- The Critical Care & Rehabilitation Fund to provide for emergency medical treatment and long-term rehabilitation of the many stray and lost animals that have been critically injured in accidents and turned into the shelter;
- Low/No Cost Microchipping;
- Several subsidized adoption programs throughout the year; and
- The S.T.A.R. (Structured Training And Reinforcement) Behavorial Training Programs that provide training to make the shelter dogs more appealing to potential adopters. S.T.A.R. offers weekly obedience training classes for shelter dogs and opportunities for them to learn manners and socialization skills. This program provides newly arriving dogs awaiting evaluation and/or dogs awaiting transfer to a local rescue group with the opportunity to improve social skills and gain enrichment while they wait. It also gives the dog and his/her new owner access to basic obedience training that can be continued after the animal is adopted.
The Friends of DCACC Foundation has the long-term goal to help DCACC realize the dream of a new state-of-the-art facility for DuPage County Animal Care & Control through the New Shelter Fund. Until that dream is a reality, the Foundation helps with necessary capital improvements for the existing shelter.
If you live in or near Dupage County but can’t volunteer at the shelter, you can still volunteer with the Foundation to help with fundraising promotions, local adoption events, community events, and marketing campaigns. And whether you are part of the local Dupage community or you are an animal lover living somewhere else, the Friends of DCACC Foundation can use your support to help homeless animals. Give a donation (large or small, it alls helps!), make a planned gift through the Living Heritage Society, or contribute to one of the Foundation funds.
PetravelR™ urges you to support your local shelters and rescues by adopting, volunteering, and donating. And remember that spaying and neutering helps reduce overpopulation and makes your pets better family members.