Donations will help animal shelter replace air conditioning system
WGN Radio listeners raise over $23,000 In 2.5 hours for the Animal Welfare League
By Dawn Rhodes
8:17 p.m. CDT, July 7, 2011
The furry creatures at a Washington Park animal shelter may bask in the comfort of air conditioning sooner than expected, thanks to generous donations from individuals and companies throughout the Chicago area.
Listeners of the John Williams’ Show on WGN Radio raised more than $23,000 in less than three hours during Thursday afternoon’s show to help the Animal Welfare League replace the industrial air conditioning system, which was damaged in a burglary sometime last week.
“We’re so thankful,” said Animal Welfare League president and director Linda Estrada. “It’s a godsend. It shows that people care.”
Workers at the shelter at 6224 S. Wabash Ave. discovered the gutted system on Thursday, June 30. Two of the units were stolen and two others stripped of their copper piping and coils. Shelter workers were able to get the temperatures down with a mobile air-conditioning unit and industrial-sized fans that were loaned to the facility. Estrada said that the 132 animals at the shelter will not need to be moved before the air conditioning system is restored.
Alongside sizable donations from the Chicago Blackhawks and the LaGrange Pet Parade, Jim McClelland, president of Mack Companies, Inc. in Tinley Park, said that his contractors will donate about 3-5 days worth of labor to reinstall the units.
“I knew that I could lend a large helping hand,” McClelland said. “We’re going to make it right for them and get them operational as soon as we possibly can. It’s the right thing to do.”
McClelland said the theft at the animal shelter hit home for two reasons. He is an animal lover with three cats he rescued from abandoned homes and thieves causing property damage to steal scrap metal is an “epidemic” he combats daily in his business, he said.
“You’ve got an animal shelter that absolutely got violated for $50 in copper,” he said. “It just broke my heart.”
No one has been arrested in the thefts as of Thursday afternoon, according to police.