Those seeking refuge from this week’s bitter cold at one of Chicago’s public warming centers should not assume their dog or cat will be allowed in with them.
“What we’re telling everyone is to just call 311, and if you have a pet to let them know that as well,” said Jennifer Rottner, a spokesperson for Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services.
DFSS oversees warming centers at 113 public buildings, including community and senior centers, police stations and libraries. Chicagoans can locate the warming center nearest to them by calling 311 or by viewing an online map. (See a list of the warming centers here.)
Rottner said that while the city operates some “low-barrier” centers that might allow pets, “every case is different. It just varies case by case.”
Residents with service animals should also call 311 and ask the city whether the animal will be allowed at a particular center, Rottner said.
Another option for pet owners unable to provide shelter for their pets is the Anti-Cruelty Society. Through its SAFE program, the River North-based organization provides short-term accommodations (up to 30 days of free care for approved applicants) to pets during emergencies.