CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago takes in 20,000 unwanted animals every year, and while most have to be euthanized, the city is doing better than most.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, all across the country, people in financial hardship have been giving up their pets for several years, and shelters have been feeling the strain.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

But Chicago is going the other way.

“Actually, our numbers are going down somewhat, which is really remarkable, and I’ll tell you that really has to do with the fact that Chicago, as a community, is doing really well by the animals,” said Chicago Animal Care and Control executive director Cherie Travis. “We have organizations like PAWS Chicago and Anti-Cruelty that are doing high-volume spay-neuter, and so spay-neuter is actually driving our intake numbers down, even in a bad economy.”

Travis says 30,000 to 35,000 low-cost or no-cost surgeries are conducted every year.

“So all those animals being sterilized means that there are fewer animals that are coming in that are unwanted,” she said.

Travis said when the economy improves, even fewer animals will have to be put down.

Ultimately, she says the goal is for Chicago to become a no-kill city, meaning only sick and dangerous animals would be euthanized.

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