Safe Humane Chicago

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Safe Humane Chicago
Founded 2008
Founder Cynthia Bathurst
Focus Animal protection, animal rights
Key people
Cynthia Bathurst, Director
Slogan A safe community is a humane community

Safe Humane Chicago was founded in 2008, and is a nonprofit animal advocacy organization. The program, founded by animal rights advocate Cynthia Bathurst, works with the community to get out its anti-violence message to high-crime areas.


The nonprofit partnered with the Chicago Police Department, the local Dog Advisory Work Group, and the Alliance for Community Peace to combat dog fighting through education.[1][2] Upon its launch, WLS-TV News quoted Chicago alderman Walter Burnett as saying, "Violence breeds violence. ... When young people see violence going on, they become immune to violence, and they want to proceed to do it themselves."[3]

USA Today, in a story about educating teens, quoted Bathurst saying that making dogs fight is "not something that's a thought process at all; it's just something (the teens) do."[4]

In 2014, the group launched the program VALOR (Veterans Assisting the Lives of Rescues), which matches service members and veterans with rescued dogs, plus provides them canine training.[5]

Court Case Dog Program[edit]

The Court Case Dog Program was founded through Safe Humane Chicago in January 2010 to establish dog-friendly approaches to canines confiscated by law enforcement and entered into the court system. The program evaluates and works with dogs subjected to neglect, cruelty and abuse.

In 2011, on the program's first anniversary, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about two abused dogs who were rehabilitated and adopted through the program. The dogs' owner was charged with abuse and neglect. In the past, because dogs used as evidence against their owners often languished in the Chicago shelter until the cases were resolved, dogs were often euthanized. Through the program, the dogs are now placed in foster homes, trained and rehabilitated for adoption.[6]

As of January 2012, more than 140 dogs have been placed. An Illinois case of illegal dog fighting involving 37 dogs several years earlier was the impetus for starting the program.[7]

The Bark magazine wrote about the work done in pairing dogs with teen boys from a local detention center: "The dogs transform into well-behaved pets, and the boys gain life lessons about compassion and caring for others."[8]

In August 2010, Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle and his wife, Jamie, did a public service announcement to support the program.[9][10]

The Berthoud Recorder in December 2010 covered two dogs who were rescued from euthanization through the program and placed with a trainer for rehab.[11]

A grassroots effort modeled after Chicago's program was started with Milwaukee's court case dogs.[12]


External links[edit]