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Issues

In the Know – February/March 2018

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Local animal rights activists have long been vocally opposed to the city’s allowance of carriage horses, who often work excruciatingly long hours, many times in very hot or very cold weather. In recent months, opposition has become even louder, with activists requesting the city shut down the carriage companies entirely. There are three carriage companies operating in the city, and together they have faced hundreds of citations for various violations, including making the horses work for more than six hours a day. While the city currently has no plans to shutter the carriage companies, some aldermen have moved to ban them on city streets. Want to lend your support to this important cause? Contact your alderman and let him or her know.

Colder weather often means a greater flood of strays at Chicago Animal Care and Control. And in early January of this year, CACC found itself over capacity, with more than 300 dogs crowding its kennels. Overpopulation at CACC reduces the ability of the open-admission city shelter to properly care for residents. With worries abounding that they’d have to euthanize some of the animals in their care, CACC put out a distress call, asking local animal organizations and citizens to come in and help them out, with cash incentives for rescuing. And while the struggle isn’t over yet, CACC saw adoptions more than double in mid-January, and even the shelter’s longest term resident was able to make her way out with the help of a rescue group. But the struggle continues, and CACC continues to ask for the public’s help. Spread the word about the many great dogs and cats at CACC, and help free up room for more homeless animals in need.

A new Illinois law states that when it comes to divorce, pets are to be treated more like children—not property. Prior to the law, pets whose parents were divorcing were treated the same as cars, houses, and other marital assets, which failed to account for the fact that for many individuals, pets are truly family. With this new law in place, courts are required to more fully consider what’s in the best interest for the pet when it comes to custody, which includes deciding between sole or joint custody among the divorcing parents.

Chicago’s puppy mill ban is finally in full action following the dismissal of a federal suit attempting to reverse it. And now, attention has turned to other local towns and counties, many of whom are passing—or at least discussing—similar ordinances. But two big towns, Naperville and Joliet, are failing to fully come through. In Naperville, a proposed ordinance to require pet stores to sell only rescue animals, require mandatory microchipping, and increase sanctions for people who leave pets outside in extreme weather was tabled by the city council. In Joliet, a watered down ban continues to allow pet stores to sell pets from breeders, provided they’re licensed. Here’s to hoping residents continue to speak up and be the voice for those who cannot speak—letting their elected officials know that these ordinances (or lack thereof) are not enough to protect the animals.

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