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In the Know – October/November 2015

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1. Safe Humane Chicago’s Court Case Dogs is a first-in-the-nation program that rescues neglected and abused dogs whose guardians were charged with criminal activity. The program rescues and rehabilitates, and provides lifetime InTheKnow.RuffRoadHomebehavioral support for the dogs and their new families. This November, Safe Humane Chicago is releasing A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago, a coffee table book recounting the stories of dogs who have made it successfully out of Chicago’s court system and into loving homes. Featuring the photography of Josh Feeney, A Ruff Road Home is a stunning look at second chances and an area of Chicago animal rescue that many do not normally get to see. Funds from the sale of the book will go towards Safe Humane Chicago and their efforts to help the city’s dogs, veterans, and at-risk youth.

2. Thanks to a grant from PetSmart’s Paws for Hope program, Chicago’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital is able to ensure the continuation of their canine therapy program. The hospital’s program currently provides canine therapy to 1,000 patients and their families each year, providing care, comfort, and a healthy diversion through social interactions with pets. “More patients and families will experience the joy that comes from a special dog and handler team visit—a comforting distraction during a hospital stay. Known to brighten every hospital room they walk into, our therapy dogs deliver immense emotional and physical benefits to our children,” said Francia Harrington, president and chief development officer of Lurie Children’s Foundation. With the PetSmart grant, the program is funded through the next five years.

3. Starting January 1, 2016, Illinois will impose stricter punishments on irresponsible pet guardians who expose their pets to extreme hot or cold weather. In an amendment to The Humane Care for Animals Act that passed this summer, Illinois lawmakers made it a Class A misdemeanor for people to “expose their dog or cat in a manner that places [the animal] in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions that result in injury to or death of the animal.” Individuals convicted of this misdemeanor face a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. Previously, the only law on the books in Illinois that protected pets from similar scenarios was the one that allows police officers to break car windows to free pets trapped inside in extreme weather.

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