By Michael Romain
The Animal Care League’s mobile clinic will be parked in front of the fire house at 700 St. Charles Rd. once a month until at least September. Officials from the organization will be administering distemper vaccines, rabies and bordetella shots and microchips for cats and dogs at very affordable prices. I talked to Sean Elliott, a representative from the League, about his organization’s mission, its presence in Maywood and its plans to expand the program to other communities, among other topics.
Give me some background on the organization and its fresh presence in Maywood.
The Animal Care League is a nonprofit in Oak Park that’s been in operation for 40 years. At our clinic in Oak Park we run a low-cost spay neuter program, because a lot of people can’t afford to spay neuter their pets. We also educate the public on the benefits of spay neutering.
We decided several months ago to start providing lower-income communities with low-cost vaccinations, because of the need for a program like this. We began a couple of months ago in Cicero and we’ve since expanded into Maywood. The initial response in Maywood wasn’t as great as in Cicero, but our last couple of outings here have increased quite a bit.
Has there been a rise in the number of stray animals lately?
I can’t say, but during the spring and summer times there’s always an increase in kittens. Basically, the only time they’re not giving birth is in the winter.
Are you all looking to expand into other communities besides Maywood and Cicero?
We’ve been in talks with Elmwood Park, but haven’t had much luck with getting the go-ahead. I think the success of this program in Maywood and Cicero will be pivotal for us, because it will demonstrate to other communities that the program is worthwhile and can be successful if people take interest.
What are the community benefits of stay neutering and vaccination programs?
It’s Cook County law that every animal be up-to-date with rabies, so it saves citizens the risk of getting cited and ticketed. There’s also a public health concern that’s addressed. Vaccinations help ensure that viruses don’t spread and spay neutering decreases the number of strays on the street.
Did you all approach the Village to do this or was it the other way around?
Our shelter manager approached the Village and we got a pretty enthusiastic reception. The people who’ve come out so far have been very appreciative both for the low-costs and for the convenience. They don’t have to go all the way into another town anymore. Some can just walk down the street with their pets.
The flyers indicate that the program will stop in September, but have you all thought about expanding beyond that date?
Yes. We scaled back before we started having a pretty large turn out, so I think we probably will continue on past that date. We might have to switch facilities in the winter, though. VFP
For more information on the Oak Park Animal Care League, visit here.