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Two dog deaths at city pound blamed on 'poor controls'

Chance, a stray dog rescued last month, had a shot at the good life, until he accidentally received a lethal injection from Chicago’s Animal Care and Control department.

Chance was supposed to be adopted or fostered. But in the latest sign of trouble at Chicago’s taxpayer-funded animal pound at 27th and Western, the young male mixed-breed was accidentally euthanized by injection when a city employee neglected to put the dog on a do-not-kill list, the agency confirmed Thursday.

And that’s not the only problem in recent weeks.

The Better Government Association and WBBM Newsradio learned that another Animal Care employee may have choked a dog to death — apparently using a “catch pole,” a pole with a nooselike rope at one end often enlisted to get animals under control and prevent bites — as the dog was being brought into the pound.

Sandra Alfred, executive director of Animal Care, said “we don’t know exactly how” that dog died but added that “the staff could have acted more appropriately than they did.”

Between the two cases, four city workers have been or will be disciplined, Alfred said. The employee involved in the possible dog choking has discipline pending that may involve a “severe” suspension of 20 days or more, she said.

Meanwhile, the incident involving Chance is having larger implications: Don Levin, a wealthy benefactor of Animal Care who co-founded the Chicago Wolves hockey team, said he learned of Chance’s demise and became so upset, he complained to city officials.

“There have to be changes in the way dogs are euthanized; it has to be more than one person” making those decisions, Levin said. “It’s poor controls.”

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