CHICAGO (CBS) — The case of the Humboldt Park alligator is shedding light on illegal animal dumping, which rescue groups call a major issue in Chicago.
Experts say the problem is getting worse and more frustrating, with people ditching everything from cats to full-grown pigs.
The five-foot alligator captured the nation, but he was not the first to temporarily call Humboldt Park home.
“In Humboldt Park we see it quite often,” said Heather Weidmann of Whiskers and Tails Rescue.
Pets all over the city are being ditched, dumped or abandoned, she said.
“We have what I believe is an epidemic of people dumping animals,” said Weidmann, who has been rescuing them for almost 20 years.
“When they have no need for them anymore, they just dump them out on the streets.”
Just a couple weeks ago, a full-grown pig, along with cats, dogs, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, and roosters.
“One of the biggest dumps is roosters,” Weidmann said.
It’s a problem, a crime actually. And it’s not solved for free.
Jenny Schlueter, of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said: “If you leave them outside, it can be difficult to capture them. It involves a lot more resources.”
The city’s Animal Care and Control team does everything it can, around the clock, to find, capture, treat and relocate abandoned animals.
“What we do want is for people to be responsible,” said Schleuter. “That is why Chicago animal care and control exists. Bring them here.”
The city is holding a special adoption event this weekend, in part because of the dumping issue.
Chicago police say people who abandon and dump animals can face criminal charges. CBS 2 is still waiting to learn how many have faced those charges here in the past year.