Category Archives: Chicago

Pit Bulls Rescued From Chicago Dog Fighting Operation Get Second Chance

Eight pit bulls rescued in a dog fighting raid in Illinois have found temporary loving homes.

In July, authorities removed 36 pit bulls from a South Holland residence. The dogs had been starved, and many had scars and wounds from fighting.

For the past nine weeks, the pit bulls have been at Chicago’s Animal Care and Control center. The dogs were tested by a behaviorist to ensure they were in good condition to be transferred. Now, the rest of the dogs have been transported to rescue groups, so the pit bulls can be rehabilitated and find a new home.

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Illinois Extends Domestic Violence Protection to Pets


Sometimes the only surprise a new law gives me is that it did not already exist. On the topic of animals, my most popular mental question is “What do you mean the law doesn’t…?”

A recent example: “What do you mean the law doesn’t extend restraining order protection to pets?” A handful of states do offer such protection, and Illinois joined them in August when the governor signed HB 9 into law (effective January 1, 2008).

Rep. John A. Fritchey of Chicago originally introduced the legislation in May 2006. Also in 2006, Maine made history as the first state with such a law, followed by Vermont and New York.

Itchmo covered a Connecticut law passed earlier this year. According to the Humane Society of the United States, bills are pending in other states including Michigan and Wisconsin. As I write, California bill SB 353 waits for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signature, and a New Jersey bill if passed would offer a pet protection order against someone already found guilty of animal cruelty.

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Chicago Group Formed To Combat Dog Fighting

Vick Pit Bull

Dog lovers, animal advocates, law officials and religious leaders in the Chicago area have all banded together to form a coalition to put an end to dog fighting.

Safe Humane Chicago was co-founded by Cynthia Bathurst and Melia Carter. They said where there is dog fighting, there are also other criminal activities taking place including guns, drugs and domestic violence. By putting an end to dog fighting, this may also reduce the general amount of violence on the streets of Chicago.

A Massachusetts SPCA study concluded that those who attend dog fights are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people.

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New Zealand City Defends Dog Park

Haven Honey BeaconThink about the five parks closest to your home. How many allow dogs to run off leash? Probably none. How many allow kids? Probably all of them.

Last week the city of Hamilton, New Zealand defended the rights of their dogs to have a safe area to run off leash despite a local school wishing to use the land for a cross country race. The school had conducted races on the dog park grounds on two previous occasions with 350-360 children participating in each event. The dog park was not closed during these events and apparently little or no notice was given as dog owners were surprised to find the organizers setting up a race in the designated dog run area. The city has since denied the school permission to hold future races on the dog park property citing the obvious safety risk of allowing hundreds of elementary-age children to run among unleashed dogs.

As a former cross country runner, I certainly support giving kids the opportunity to run in a natural setting. However, every member of our society deserves its place and dogs are one of those members. Most parks are built with children in mind, but rare is the park that allows dogs to run off leash despite the increasing demand for dog parks. In fact, a Chicago suburb recently nixed plans for two dog parks in its community. I’m pleased to see that the city of Hamilton recognizes the value of dogs to its residents, even if it means inconveniencing a couple of cross country races.

Not only is the city making the legally correct decision of enforcing the policies of its own parks, Hamilton is also making the morally correct decision by demonstrating to these children that dogs are worthy of being defended and that the residents of their city respect the rights of dog owners to provide a healthy life for their dog. Consider the alternative had the race been run – a child might have been bitten by a dog over-stimulated by the commotion and some of the kids could have developed an undeserved fear of dogs. The kids will still have their race but not at the dog park, which is best for everyone in the long run.

Source: Waikato Times

Photo: Amanda Schrauben

Cat Missing At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

Basil the cat has been roaming somewhere around O’Hare International Airport in Chicago since July 30. He is trying to find his way back to his owner.

Shelly-Marie Rios was moving to Detroit, Michigan to Austin, Texas with her two cats, Basil and Jasper. She put both one-year-old cats in a pet carrier to be put on an American Airlines plane for Austin.

At O’Hare, she was told that the cat carrier came apart when it was being loaded. Jasper went one way, and Basil went the other way. An American Airlines employee was able to catch Jasper, but Basil escaped.

“First of all, I’m broken-hearted that I don’t have my cat,” Rios said, “and secondly, that the cage was treated so inhumanely that the latches were actually broken off the cage.”

An American Airlines spokeswoman, Mary Frances Fagan said there was no inhumane treatment. She said when the ramp worker was loading the airplane, he lifted the carrier by the handle, and the bottom fell off.

Fagan said it is rare that American Airlines loses a pet and said the airline is truly sorry.

The company continues to put out food and have people looking for Basil.

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Seven-Year-Old Raises $5,000 For Chicago Dog Shelter

Ian Cahr

Ian Danger Cahr is president and founder of the Chicago-based Ian’s Bead Co. He wears a suit, a tie, and French cuffs. He even has a press secretary (his press secretary is his mother). Oh, did I mention that Ian is only 7?

Yes, this successful seven-year-old boy has a growing jewelry business. His products have been showcased on “The Martha Stewart Show” and featured in trunk shows at Kiehl’s, an upscale beauty store.

He started his business a year ago with a friend of his, also seven-years-old. Along with their bead jewelry idea, Cahr wanted to donate all of their proceeds to a charity. He picked New Leash On Life, a local dog rescue organization. So far, Cahr has donated $5,000 to New Leash On Life. He wants every dollar raised by Ian’s Bead Company to be donated to New Leash On Life.

“You need to help other animals and other people to make the world a better place,” Cahr said. He wanted to use his talent and creativity to help others.

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Pet Food Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Procter & Gamble


On Monday, Chicago attorney, Larry D. Drury, filed a class action complaint against Procter & Gamble in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey over tainted cat food allegations.

The suit (Johnson v. The Procter & Gamble Company, et al.) stems from claims that Iams brand cat food allegedly caused renal and kidney problems for cats that consumed the food.

The cat food suit alleges unfair trade practices, negligence, strict liability, and unjust enrichment against Procter & Gamble and several other defendants.

Procter & Gamble is also named as one of the defendants in a pet food class action lawsuit filed in the state of Florida.

Source: Legal Newsline

Puppies Trained For Dogfighting Looking For A Home


Bella and Spanky, two American Staffordshire terrier puppies, were being trained for dogfighting. They were starved and didn’t have food or water in their crates.

But, these two adorable puppies have been saved from their horrible fate. After getting an anonymous tip, police in Burbank, Illinois arrested two men on charges of felony aggravated animal cruelty and dog fighting. The police found a dozen pit bulls in a van.

A Burbank police captain said that this is the largest case of dogfighting that they have seen.

Four puppies including Bella and Spanky were allegedly being trained for dog fighting while the eight adults were breeders. The director of the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge said that the dogs will be given temperament tests to determine if they can be adopted.

Bella and Spanky are expected to be available for adoption in a few weeks. The two dogs are just 7 weeks old and not considered overly aggressive. If you are in the Chicagoland area and would like to adopt Bella, Spanky or any of the other dogs, call (708) 636-8586.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

(Thanks Bear’s Mom)

Two Teens Save Dog From River


With the recent story of cat abuse by two teenage girls and other reports of children hurting animals, it’s nice to be reminded that there are many children and teenagers out there who respect and treat animals with kindness.

Samantha Romano and Preston Reynolds were enjoying a Saturday evening beside the Des Plaines River. Suddenly a small dog ran down the riverbank and jumped into the water.

The dog began to panic while in the water and couldn’t swim. Romano jumped in the water and pulled out the dog and handed him to Reynolds who was standing close to the bank. During the rescue, the dog bit Romano’s finger, but she refused medical treatment and said that she was fine.

After the dog calmed down, he was taken to an animal hospital. The dog had a flea collar but no tags or identification chip. He also is under observation because he bit someone. After the observation period is over, he will be put up for adoption.

The vet said that the dog doesn’t appear to be a stray but it seems that he may have ran away from his owner.

If no one claims the dog, Reynolds said that he will adopt the dog.

Source: Chicago Suburban News

Vet Makes House Calls To See Your Pet


You hate it. Your dog or cat is terrified of it. The whole experience is so stressful. Taking your pet to the vet is just plain dreadful. (If you don’t know what this is like because your pet is happy going to the vet, consider yourself extremely lucky. The rest of us have to drag, carry, or push our pets inside the door.)

This vet makes house calls, so pets don’t have to go through the trauma of going to the “bad people that poke me, put things in my ear and make me sit on that cold table.”

Veterinarian Lisa McIntyre of Naperville, Illinois has offered in-home animal care to much of the Chicago suburbs since May.

For many of her customers, both human and animal, a checkup becomes a less stressful event.

One of her patients, Luke, has definitely taken advantage of these house calls. Luke’s owner said that he used to be a “bucking bronco” when he had to go to the vet’s office. To restrain this 6-year-old Weimaraner, anesthesia was sometimes needed. Due to that extra cost, visits became expensive and would total up to $400 each time.

Now with the house calls, Luke is patient and passive, and he can now have more regular check ups on his health.

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Dog Donates Blood To Save Lives Of Other Dogs


Hogan is one brave hero. Every eight weeks he makes the hour long journey from his Illinois home to an animal hospital where he donates his blood. And this eight-year-old Australian Shepherd doesn’t seem nervous about doing it.

Hogan’s owner, Kim Sipple, first took her dog to donate blood four years ago when she learned about the demand at a pet fair. She says that now, people are more willing to spend the necessary money to provide treatment for ailing pets. This means there is more of a need for blood donations from canines.

When Hogan enters into the animal hospital, he jumps onto a chair in the waiting room. His collar has a pink tag in the shape of a heart that says he is a blood donor. The blood donor coordinator does a quick physical on Hogan and checks his red blood cells. She checks the color of his gums and his heartbeat and pulse.

A few minutes later, this brave hero is on his side while a circular spot is shaved around his neck. As the needle goes into Hogan’s vein, he does not even flinch.

Hogan donates 450 milliliters, or one canine unit of blood. He saves four lives with each donation. The hospital has said that they have used every bit of blood that Hogan has donated. They say that this dog has saved many lives.

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Dine With Your Dog? You’re All Gonna Die!

Dog at the dinner table

Once upon a time, the Itchmos considered opening up a cafe for dining with your pets. We dreamed of a cafe in the city where parents, kids and dogs could spend quality time socializing and dining together. There would be food for people and food for pets. It was a place to hang out on lazy summer days, and a comfortable warm haven on cold winter nights. A place to gather for pet owners and a spot for the neighborhood Spot.

Unfortunately, we were crushed by the reality that Chicago and Illinois laws prohibited the preparation of human food in establishments where pets were present. In other words, if I let dogs into my business, I can’t cook human food. The reasoning? Pets carry disease and bacteria dangerous to humans.

That’s a funny thought. When was the last time you heard of someone getting sick from eating next to their dog (or cat for the matter)? This may come as a surprise to most health officials, but I prepare food and eat next to my dog every single crazy dangerous day. *GASP*

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Paramedics Save Customs Dog From Choking

ChampChamp, a Labrador mix, has been a US Customs and Border Protection K-9 Officer at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for more than seven years. His shining moment was when he uncovered 700 pounds of cocaine hidden on a flight from Mexico.

Last month, Champ’s partner, Officer Marvin Slocum, saw that something was wrong when Champ was choking and pawing at his mouth. He was choking on several cicadas. Slocum flipped Champ over and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the 8-year-old dog but that didn’t work. He then tried to stick his hand down his throat but that also wasn’t successful.

Slocum then brought Champ to the airport’s rescue station. By that time, the dog’s tongue was blue and the whites of his eyes were changing color. The paramedics tried to insert a tube down Champ’s throat but he kept on biting it. Then one paramedic used forceps to remove the blockage — mucus and bugs.

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Dog Custody Battle Crosses State Lines

For seven months, a Tennessee family had been looking for their stolen dog, Ginger. The search ended 460 miles away in Palos Park, Illinois. Even though the McGee family knows where their red and white Siberian husky is, they can’t bring her home.

The McGees first reported that Ginger was missing in December. Two weeks later, the family learned that a neighbor had abducted their dog. The woman didn’t think that dogs should be bred. She is accused of taking Ginger to an animal hospital, having her spayed and microchipped for identification. The neighbor then put Ginger in a shelter. The dog was then sent to a Chicago animal shelter where another family adopted her.

A Palos Park police officer met with the family that adopted Ginger to see if they would return her to the McGees. The family had become quite close to the dog and was not willing to give her up. The police officer then contacted the state’s attorney’s office to see if there could be a court order obtained to remove the dog. The state’s attorney’s office said that the officer could not get involved because there was no criminal intent.

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Dining With The Dogs

Dog dining at restaurantDogs like to dress up and go out for a nice dinner sometimes (well not the dressing up part, but they like the eating part).

People have been dining with their dogs at dining establishments for years. Some restaurants go above and beyond for our canine friends and provide doggie menus and special treats.

While pet owners enjoyed spending a night on the town with their dog, some other patrons were not so happy. In Miami, some diners complained about sitting next to dogs. In Chicago, about two years ago, the department of health started to crack down on restaurants allowing dogs.

Luckily for dog owners, legislature is on our side. Last year, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill that would allow local governments permission to allow outdoor dog dining. In Illinois, a similar bill was approved by the House and the Senate and is expected to be approved by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

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