Demonstrating in front of Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge on Saturday morning were former volunteers, employees and local residents. The spot is under a voluntary quarantine for an outbreak of “dog flu” according to the news outlet.
According to The Patch, close to 100 protestors showed up, calling AWL director as well as board president, Linda Estrada to resign as well as clean house in regards to the shelter’s board of directors. According to the news outlet, this is due to a leak of graphic photos and videos last week depicting dogs caged in terrible conditions.
Estrada says due to an outbreak of dog flu, the shelter has since put a temporary hold on both dog and cat adoptions and rescues, according to the news outlet. And on AWL’s Facebook page, the group attempted to quiet any social media rumors of mass euthanasia said to have taken places since the voluntary quarantine, stating the shelter also planned to “spoil the heck out of dogs” until the shelter reopens.
A volunteer for a dog rescue transport team, Shannon Gaglione, said to the news outlet she volunteered at Animal Welfare League from March to October 2017 – where she was banned from the premises for violation the shelter’s 4-page non-disclosure statement. Gaglione says she was kicked out as a volunteer after speaking out on her Facebook page regarding a bulldog being euthanized when she was on her way to pick the dog up for rescue transport, according to the Patch.
Gaglione continued, revealing that instead of leaving on a rescue transport, the dog, Austin, would be leaving the shelter in a black garbage bag. In AWL’s non-disclosure statement, it prohibits volunteers and employees from criticizing the shelter on social media, also stating it regularly monitors social media accounts of both volunteers’ and employees’ for negative comments.
Pete’s Fresh Market sent over sandwiches and oranges to the protestors, while a Chicago Ridge pizzeria sent over complimentary pizzas to the demonstrators who were gathered at a candlelight vigil in front of the shelter last week according to the Patch. Cars along with trucks blasted their horns in support of the demonstrators at 10305 Southwest Highway, the news outlet reported.
Emily Raimondo, an AWL board member, also came to speak to the protestors on the sidewalk. Raimondo said the allegations were not true and that the graphic photos that were released this past week were of animals who arrived at the shelter in poor condition, according to the Patch.
Raimondo, according to the Patch, then stood in the driveway where cars were attempting to pull in to visit the AWL’s veterinary clinic – which is currently open. Raimondo refused to back off the driveway, walking away from the demonstrators.