In the Know – April/May 2018


What’s going on in Chicagoland’s animal community


Parvovirus is a devastating illness that can cost thousands of dollars to treat and is often fatal for the puppies who contract it. It’s also completely preventable with a simple $5 vaccine. After losing yet another rescue puppy to the disease, Alive Rescue decided they’d had enough. Thanks to a $20,000 grant, Alive has been able to start the brand new Parvo Prevention Project, a collaborative effort to vaccinate as many puppies as possible for parvo with the other local rescue groups who together make up the Chicagoland Rescue and Intervention Support Program (CRISP). The Parvo Prevention Project began in March, with an initial goal of vaccinating more than 3,000 puppies in targeted areas with high rates of parvo. Additional booster clinics will be held every three to four weeks. To support the effort, make a donation at AliveRescue.org or CrispChicago.com.


Coyotes are thriving in the Chicago area. Findings from the Urban Coyote Research Program revealed that Chicagoland’s coyote population has more than doubled since 2005. Some estimates claim there are about 4,000 of them roaming Cook County, while others believe that estimate is far too conservative. Coyote conflicts tend to peak in pup rearing season, which takes place between April and July. To keep your pet safe, keep them leashed when out for walks and don’t let them hang out alone in the yard (particularly during early morning and early evening hours). For tips on what to do if you encounter a coyote, click here.


A growing program at Veterinary Specialty Center (VSC) in Buffalo Grove is providing homeless animals with much-needed surgical services and crucial experience for veterinarians in training. The Shelter Animal Surgical Service (SASS) is being overseen by Mitch Robbins, DVM, VSC’s director of surgery. Under the program, 501(c)(3) organizations that pull animals from Chicago Animal Care and Control may come to VSC to have basic surgical procedures performed by surgical interns and residents for free or at a low cost. Procedures include many of the surgical needs required to help an animal get adopted, such as spay/neuter, amputations, and tumor removals. “We’re giving them a chance to get over that last hurdle that stands between them and their forever home,” Robbins told WGN9. “SASS [provides] adoptable shelter animals access to affordable and excellent surgical care and [makes] VSC a clinical teaching center of excellence while enhancing our referral and community relationships.”


The controversy over Chicago Ridge’s Animal Welfare League continues, with the DEA and state officials joining the investigation. Concerns over the shelter’s unsanitary conditions—including mice and cockroach infestations and animals left to sit in blood, urine, and feces—as well as unsafe veterinary practices came to a head earlier this year with a large public outcry and demands for the shelter’s director, Linda Estrada, and other board members to be terminated. In addition to the DEA and state authorities, Animal Welfare League is also under an ongoing investigation by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. During this time, the shelter is no longer taking in animals.

UPDATE: After publication, state officials released a report saying they found no health or safety violations after five surprise visits to the Animal Welfare League. The shelter said that public adoptions will be resuming soon.

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