Fiscal Focus
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Fiscal Focus



In Nov. 2021, Comptroller Mendoza visited shelter pets at the new PAWS animal hospital in Chicago. Credit: Erik Unger/IOC

Local governments around Illinois find themselves spending time and resources every year euthanizing abandoned, stray animals.

So the late, beloved former Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka started “Comptroller’s Critters” to hook up dogs and cats available for adoption at shelters around the state with loving families considering taking in a pet.

After a lapse under the previous administration, Comptroller Mendoza immediately resumed the practice upon taking office in Dec. 2016, helping adopt out 1,281 pets over the past five years.

In November, Comptroller Mendoza was honored to join PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Chicago to open the nation’s largest and most advanced medical hospital for homeless pets in Little Village, the neighborhood she was born in.

“Being here to celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting of PAWS Chicago’s new state-of-the-art medical center, the country’s largest and most advanced hospital for homeless pets, is so incredibly special to me,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “Most importantly, it’s going to be so special and important to the animals PAWS serves.”

Comptroller Mendoza was one of the officials to cut the ribbon during the 2021 PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic grand opening. Credit: Erik Unger/IOC

Mendoza and members of her staff toured the PAWS Chicago Medical Center and Lurie Clinic. They cuddled the cats and dogs, and her deputy director of external affairs Kevin Derrig was so taken with one playful puppy named Thunder that he brought his wife and their 5-year-old son Seamus back the next day to make Thunder the 1,253rd pet adopted under the Comptroller’s Critters program.

The Comptroller’s office also had success this past summer at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield when Wild Canine Rescue brought five puppies to the Comptroller’s tent, delighting children who came to the fair and catching the eye of Josh Gotch.

Gotch owns Baldy’s Pretzels of North St. Paul, Minnesota. His tent selling pretzels was just a few stalls down the main fairway from the Comptroller’s tent.

An 11-month-old Plott Hound puppy named Gigi that Wild Canine brought to the Comptroller’s tent stole Gotch’s heart, becoming the 1,100th pet adopted through the Comptroller’s Critter’s program. She is now in a loving, if cooler, home in Minnesota.

Comptroller Mendoza with an adoptable puppy at the 2021 Illinois State Fair. Credit: IOC

“I’m so happy we’ve helped get 1,281 rescued animals adopted throughout Illinois thanks to our Comptroller’s Critters program since I took office,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “I advocate for rescuing shelter animals because it’s the right thing to do and because finding loving homes for these wonderful pets helps reduce significant taxpayer dollars wasted on euthanasia.”

You can find out more about Comptroller’s Critters and how to find and raise a new family member of your own here. ■



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