Overcrowded Shelters

Every year in the US, hundreds of thousands of shelter pets are euthanized because there is no room for them in municipal shelters. Overcrowded shelters are an issue throughout the country, and Chicago is no exception. Many of the dogs that we rescue come from Chicago’s city shelter, Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

CACC receives around 40,000 calls annually for people looking for help in a variety of ways. They house over 500 animals in their facilities. There are many reasons for overcrowded shelters. Advocating for the spay/neuter of cats and dogs is one of the main ways we can work together to help this issue.

OTAT runs Chicago’s only shelter-diversion program.

Underserved Neighborhoods

One Tail at a Time is committed to serving neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area that might not otherwise have the resources to care for their pets. Through our Pet Mutual Aid, OTAT works to serve these communities by providing supplies, medicine, and support.

OTAT is committed to serving neighborhoods in need.

Sick and Contagious Dogs

Chicago has several open admission shelters in which stray and owner surrender animals are accepted at any time. Due to the constant influx of animals, these shelters often experience shelter illnesses. Canine influenza, mycoplasma, ringworm, parvovirus, panleuk, and various upper respiratory illnesses are common. The animals coming out of these shelters and joining rescue groups like our own need to be isolated from other animals while being treated. This minimizes the risk of spreading the illnesses to pets in our community.

OTAT’S ISO Program is saving lives.


One Tail at a Time believes that spay/neuter is an important piece of the puzzle in ending unnecessary shelter euthanasia. We support spay/neuter in the following ways:

  • Spaying and neutering every one of our animals before their adoption, unless it is medically unsafe to do so.
  • Providing free spay/neuter assistance for individuals in at risk communities at our Community Pet Day vaccine clinics and through our shelter diversion program.
  • Supporting spay/neuter education throughout our city.

Puppy Mills

The Humane Society defines a puppy mill as “an inhumane, commercial dog-breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.” Puppy mills exist throughout the United States and most pet stores still receive dogs from puppy mills.

One Tail at a Time is working to end this inhumane practice. We rescue puppy mill survivors and promote adoption over buying from pet stores.