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In the Know — February/March 2016

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7 big things happening for Chicago’s animals

1. The Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF.org) recently released their 10th annual rankings of the best and worst states for animal protection laws, and guess who came out on top: Illinois! For the 8th year in a row, Illinois has ranked #1 for having the strongest protection laws in place, with Kentucky holding steady at #50 for the ninth year in a row. The rankings evaluate states based on legislation related to everything from dog fighting to domestic violence orders to civil immunity for removing a dog from a hot car. In total, the ALDF looks at over 4,000 statutes in each state. We’re proud to live in a state that so highly reveres its animal citizens!

2. Speaking of Illinois laws, a new bill in effect as of January 1, 2016 makes it a misdemeanor offense for people to leave pets outside in extreme heat or cold. If pets are injured or killed as a result of exposure violators can face up to a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. The new, stricter law was passed in response to cases of dogs freezing to death in the recent harsh winters. Lawmakers hope it will give them a chance to finally address the problem and to dissuade people from leaving pets outside in unsafe weather conditions.

3. The Anti-Cruelty Society is offering a great option for caregivers who need help rehoming their pet. Their new Home to Home Shelter Bypass Service gives people the ability to facilitate the safe rehoming of their pet while benefiting from ACS’s large online community of animal lovers and potential adopters. Pets will be able to skip the stress of a shelter and stay in their current residence during the process of finding a new home, and ACS will take care of all the marketing. Interested caregivers should visit AntiCruelty.org for information on requirements for the Home to Home process.

4. Buy, consign, and donate with the newly opened Re- tails consignment shop in Jefferson Park. Re-tails, located at 5514 W. Lawrence Ave, is your one-stop shop for gently used pet supplies, featuring items for all the dogs, cats, small mammals (guinea pigs, hamsters, etc.), fish, birds, and reptiles on your list. The store also carries items from local crafters. Proceeds from every purchase of donated items go to local rescue. It’s a great place to find some high-quality, gently- loved items for your animal companion while also making a difference for the community.

5. After months of fundraising, Famous Fido Rescue is finally making the move from Andersonville to Irving Park. The new 10,000 square foot facility, located at 3214 W. Irving Park Rd is a big step up from their former location on Clark St, and features cage-less adoption rooms for dogs and cats (with special suites for those animals who prefer their space). Martha Hack, vice president of Famous Fido, emphasizes that the new facility will also have a strong education focus, making efforts to spread awareness about microchipping and finding lost pets.

6. Did you know you can help animals in need simply by walking your dog? ResQwalk is a free app that translates your walks into resources for shelters across the country. It works like this: ResQwalk is paired up with corporate sponsors who fund the ResQpool —a guaranteed fund of money to be divvied up among supported animal welfare organizations. Every mile you walk (or run, or bike) helps dictate where that pool money will go, and weekly promotions allow you to earn additional things for rescues like toys and treats. Simply log on, select which organization you want to walk for, and ResQwalk will do the rest. The app is available for both iPhone and Android.

7. Chicago’s emergency veterinary services are about to get a lot more streamlined. MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets recently joined forces with existing local animal medical services to create MedVet Chicago. Participating facilities include Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center (CVESC), Animal Dermatology Center of Chicago, Cardiology Pet Referral, Chicago Veterinary Cancer Center, Chicago Veterinary Internal Medicine and Oncology Group, Chicago Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery Group, Fox Valley Veterinary Dentistry and Surgery, Northeast Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging, PawsitivEnergy and WestVet. The partnership will give Chicagoans better access to emergency vet care, and will allow various facilities to better work together to provide pets with more comprehensive treatment plans for injuries and illnesses.

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