Paul Sassone: Helping animals from Oak Park to China

We may be short some things in the U.S.

But one thing we don’t lack is dogs.

By one estimate, there are more than 70 million dogs in America.

So, why in the world do we import dogs from other countries?

The federal government estimates that more than 8,000 dogs are imported every year. And animal rights advocates say there are many more dog imports.

Until just recently, these importers were unregulated. This mean, of course, that many too-young puppies die in cargo holds.

But improvement should follow in the wake of two governmental actions

The US. Department of Agriculture has approved regulations that require all imported puppies to be at least six months old, healthy and have up-to-date vaccinations,

This follows the department’s new regulations for so-called puppy mills. Breeders with four or more female breeding dogs have to be licensed if they’re selling puppies sight unseen on websites, in classified ads or at flea markets.

But why bother with these sources at all? To obtain some rarified breed? I don’t like doggie eugenics any more than I like people eugenics.

Plenty of great dogs are right here just dying to be adopted.

There are 6 to 8 million dogs and cats in American shelters, the U.S. Humane Society estimates.

And speaking of dying, 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are killed each year because shelters are too full.

But death is not the only route out of a shelter for animals:

There is adoption.

That can be done right here in Oak Park through the Animal Care League.

No bait and switch, no flim-flam. These animals can be viewed online and in person. They have all their shots and have been spayed or neutered.

This is the place from which to adopt an animal, not China or Korea, not from someone for whom dogs and cats are only product.

The Animal Care League is at 1011 Garfield St., Oak Park. Phone is 708-848-8155. Or email adoption@animalcareleague.com.

Dogs bring love and joy into our lives.

Cats, too. Let’s be fair.

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Read about Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Oak Park by clicking here.

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