Rescue Of The Month
Our Rescue of the Month for November is Chicago-based animal welfare organization and animal shelter, The Anti-Cruelty Society. We sat down with the non-profit's very own, Christine Natarelli (CN) and Colette Bradley (CB), who both shared some great insights into this amazing organization.
The Anti-Cruelty Society has been around for nearly 120 years. Can you tell us about how it was started? Do you know if there was a personal story behind the organization's inception?
CB: The Anti-Cruelty Society was founded by Mrs. Rose Fay Thomas along with other Chicago citizens who were concerned about animals in the city. Their goals were to suppress cruelty to animals, to educate the public on humane treatment, and to create a refuge for strays, all of which are at the core of what we do today.
What are some of the biggest challenges The Anti-Cruelty Society faces?
CB: Funding is always a challenge. While we have amazing donors, sponsors, and partners, our costs are always much higher than any fee we charge for services. Our adoption prices are very affordable and do not even begin to cover the costs of feeding, housing, spaying/neutering, microchipping, and vaccinating the animals.
We also have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic that is open to the public. The cost for the surgery is much lower than what you’d find at your private veterinarian, but we believe spaying and neutering is crucial to helping keep pets out of the shelter that we are happy to offer this service at an affordable cost.
Expenses for these programs, along with many others we offer, are supplemented through donations, so it’s very important to continue to fundraise and we’re grateful to all who are able to give either monetarily or through supplies. Every bit helps!
We love how involved in the community The Anti-Cruelty Society is. It seems like you put a lot of focus and importance on education. Can you share more information about your educational programs?
CN: The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Humane Education team promotes empathy by inspiring others to show compassion. Our Humane Education team utilizes a variety of interactive approaches to educate and engage people of all ages. We are promoting kindness throughout the community with on-site programs, off-site lectures, interactive games, behind the scenes tours, animal encounters, service learning projects, and more! From toddlers and teens, to teachers and corporate groups, we have interactive opportunities available for everyone in the community.
Running a rescue and helping dogs can be tough, both emotionally and physically. Can you share a tough experience or trying moment for The Anti-Cruelty Society, and what you did to overcome it?
CB: I think anytime we receive an animal that has been abused or neglected is tough to see. We may not know exactly what happened or what the circumstances are, but the staff and volunteers that work here are so compassionate; we all feel for the animal. Seeing that animal recover emotionally and physically, and find a forever home is what keeps us all going. We know once that pet has entered our doors, we are going to do everything we can and offer compassion and love every step of the way.
Do all animals stay at your adoption facility or do you have a network of fosters in the Chicago area that help care for the dogs?
CN: Both! We are very fortunate to have a network of over 90 foster parents who house, feed, and care for animals in need throughout the year! This helps alleviate our staff’s time and our resources so we are able to help even more animals that arrive at the shelter. We also have animals on-site at our adoption center where we do same-day adoptions.
Where does your primary financial support come from?
CN: The Anti-Cruelty Society primarily receives financial support through donors, we also host special events throughout the year to raise money for our animals, we receive grants from various places, sponsorship and partner opportunities, and through third party events hosted by businesses and individuals in the community. We’re very lucky to have such amazing donors and supporters who want to help make a difference through financial support.
How many dogs on average do you place in their forever homes annually?
CB: We place about 5,000 cats and dogs in forever homes each year, about half of which are dogs.
For those reading this, if they want to help fight the good fight, what can they do to help?
CN: There are many ways to help and get involved with The Anti-Cruelty Society. Becoming a volunteer or foster, attending a special event, hosting a third party fundraiser of your own, joining our development council, helping us spread the word of our work and mission, and of course donating (both supplies and monetary donations) are just a few small ways to make a huge impact on an animal’s life!
What are the plans for the future of The Anti-Cruelty Society?
CB: The Anti-Cruelty Society has been increasing the number of animals we take in from shelters across the country. Whether they are animals that were in shelters prior to a hurricane hitting their home turf, or coming from a small shelter or rescue that does not have the same resources we can offer, we have been helping more and more animals in need from across the country. We take them in, care for them, and help find them the perfect forever home. We hope to continue this important work in the future!