Newsmakers Making A Difference: Heather Owen, CRISP

Bob Roberts
September 27, 2018 - 7:29 am

CRISP/Facebook

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) --  "We're the last resort."   

Since 2016, Heather Owen and other Chicagoland Rescue Intervention and Support Program volunteers have stationed themselves Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays outside of the city of Chicago Animal Care and Control facility at 2741 S. Western Ave., hoping to intercept pets about to be given up.

"Their family couldn't help, their friends couldn't help, they couldn't go to one of the low cost clinics, so they are coming to surrender their pet and we are the last resort help," Owen said.

CRISP draws from eight Chicago area animal rescue groups, whose volunteers take turns out front. Owen, for instance, is executive director of the One Tail at a Time dog rescue. She said CRISP was born out of necessity when the dog flu hit Animal Care hard in 2016.

"We had to figure something out very quickly, so we decided lets just stop them from coming in. We literally had to go in front and stop them from walking into the building," she said. 

Not all dogs CRISP encounters become foster dogs. Owen said 300 have had owners who cannot afford the cost of emergency medical care, which CRISP can provide at low or no cost. They return home. But more than 700 have gone to rescue groups for adoption:

"We wanted to a build a bridge with communities that don't have access to regular vet care or know about dog training," Owen said.

CRISP is setting up a volunteer program of its own and accepts donations at crispchicago.com.  Heather Owen and CRISP, newsmakers making a difference.

As WBBM celebrates its 50th anniversary as Newsradio, this year we’ll be honoring 50 Newsmakers making a difference in the community.  Listen for reports each Tuesday.

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