November 7, 2018

City Council Approves Mayor Emanuel's Appointment of Kelley Gandurski as Executive Director of Chicago Animal Care and Control

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Chicago City Council today approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's appointment of Kelley Gandurski as Executive Director for Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC). Gandurski has served as Acting Executive Director since June 30, 2018.

“Under Kelley’s leadership, Chicago Animal Care and Control will continue to fulfill their mission is to provide quality, humane care to animals and to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I'm proud that Kelley has been confirmed as the Director of Animal Care & Control, thank my colleagues in City Council and I know she will ensure the mission is fulfilled while enhancing the department's operations and growing our network of partners.”

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead the Chicago Animal Care and Control. Since I was a young child, I have always had a passion for animals,” said CACC Acting Executive Director Gandaurski. "They teach our children, assist residents who are disabled, provide comfort in our times of need, and perform special jobs in our society each day. The animals at CACC were once pets that provided these wonderful attributes to families, but through unfortunate circumstances, found their way to CACC. It is my mission and passion to find them a way home again."

Despite an increase in animals coming to the shelter this year, CACC has increased the number of pets successfully placed outside of the shelter, with more rescue transfers and adoptions this year than ever before. To date, CACC has conducted over 300 more dog adoptions and 300 more dog rescue transfers over last year. Under Gandurski’s leadership since June 30, and in partnership with animal rescue partners and advocates, CACC has:

  • Adopted out 772 pets, including 372 dogs and 400 cats;
  • Transferred 1,414 dogs, 1,187 cats and 347 other animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and chicken to rescue groups; and
  • Returned 552 pets to owner, including 493 dogs and 57 cats.

From Petoberfest, Adopt-o-ween and the upcoming Petsgiving and Home for the Holidays, CACC continues to promote adoptions and expand partnership. Since June, Gandurski has led efforts to create new programs that support’s CACC mission. Here are some highlights:

  • CACC launched a new initiative to utilize 60 mobile microchip scanners, donated by Best Friends Animal Society and Animal Farm Foundation, to scan lost pets in the community and return them faster while diverting them from the CACC Shelter. The first successful return, a young female shepherd mix named T-Rex, took place five days later.
  • Gandurski has secured private support for various efforts, including funds for medicinal heartworm treatment to treat CACC shelter dogs.
  • Gandurski also coordinated an effort between various animal rescue organizations, the Department of Buildings, Department of Family and Support Services and Chicago Fire Department to provide emergency aid to an elderly resident, and rescue more than 50 animals from the home.
  • CACC created a TLC Cat Team designated to providing more individualized care of CACC’s cats and to provide in-kennel enrichment for the cats during their stay at CACC.

Prior to her appointment, Gandurski previously served as CACC's Deputy Director and General Counsel. Before joining CACC, she worked for the Chicago Department of Law, where she was most recently a Supervising Senior Counsel in the Legal Information and Prosecutions Division and supervised the city's misdemeanor branch court cases and administrative review matters. She also worked closely with prosecutions, defense of prosecutions and drafting and reviewing ordinances for CACC. She has volunteered her time at various animal rescue groups, fostering dogs and assisting in fundraising activities.

Gandurski earned her bachelor's degree from Saint Joseph's College and her juris doctorate from DePaul University College of Law. She lives in the West Loop neighborhood.

CACC is the city’s only open admission shelter that takes in approximately 20,000 animals each year, focusing on increasing live outcomes and ensuring the health and safety of all animals under its temporary care. CACC continues to enhance adoption programs, simplify pet returns to owners and maximize transfers to rescues to further increase live outcomes of dogs and cats that are least likely to be adopted.

Here is what stakeholders are saying about the confirmation of Kelley Gandurski.

“We’re pleased that the city has put in place a new director who has demonstrated an ability to both understand the needs of animal welfare in Chicago while also understanding the unique responsibilities of Animal Care & Control as a government agency,” said Paula Fasseas, PAWS Chicago, Founder and Chair. “Kelley has shown a compassion and dedication to saving lives and a commitment to Animal Care & Control playing its important role in building and sustaining a No Kill community.”

“Kelley is fantastic! We’ve been working with her since she came on board as Deputy Director in May so we feel we know her already,” said Kathy Booton Wilson, President of Friends of Chicago Animal Care (FCACC). “You can talk to her—she listens. She’s an animal lover—you have to be for this job—and she’s a big picture thinker too.”

“Kelley knows saving lives on the scale called for at CACC isn’t going to be easy but she’s up for the challenge,” said Charlie Propsom, Founder and Secretary FCACC. “We know she’s already marshaling some of the best minds in the animal welfare community to work on it. She’s got our support, 100 percent.”

“Kelley has fostered multiple dogs for K94Keeps, and we know how much she cares for the animals of Chicago,” Erin Linklater, President of K94Keeps. “We are looking forward to her leadership at Chicago Animal Care and Control.”