MACOMB — The McDonough County Board's planning committee agreed Thursday to stand by a past rule that animal control officers are not to be dispatched at night unless there is a reported threat to a human or animal.
Committee chairman George Dixon said police dispatchers have been contacting the animal control officers when receiving animal calls from the public.
County Board Chairman Scott Schwerer said he would bring up the issue at the next 911 Board meeting. Committee member Ed Lavin said determination of an emergency should logically rest with any sheriff's deputy or other police officer making a patrol response to a citizen complaint.
The cat population at the animal shelter is still amazingly high. Animal Control Officer Kelsey Havens said that, despite the adoption of five cats, the rescue of four, and one reclamation, 40 cats remained in the shelter at the end of September.
Havens said 17 more cats were brought to the shelter this week. She said 14 dogs were adopted last month, eight were reclaimed, and one vicious biting dog was euthanized. There were 10 dogs in the shelter at the end of September.
Dixon reported that the animal shelter and the Humane Society of McDonough County each received $21,000 from the settlement of the Richard Yeast estate. Yeast had previously bequeathed $37,000 apiece to the two groups.
HSMC President Bonnie Smith Skripps said her group has set up a restricted account for the Yeast money and like donations. The money could go toward construction of a new animal shelter if a decision is made to go in that direction.
Skripps said the general humane society budget is primarily supported by the annual Brix Challenge, which is in effect for the remainder of this month. She said several people have already agreed to match the $1,000 donation offered by retired WIU administrator Chris Brix.
The HSMC leader said the society is sponsoring older dogs and will pay half the adoption fee. Skripps said one dog is in hospice care at the shelter.
Dixon said the sheriff's department is sending out a work release prisoner from the county jail to do cleanup work at the animal shelter each day. He said prisoners approved for work release can earn a one day reduction in their jail sentences for every seven days worked.
The committee voted to recommend a lump sum annual payment of $1,217 to FS for propane gas for the animal shelter. The county was also offered the option of monthly payments but the committee has always favored the lump sum payment.
                                                        
Reach Patrick Stout by email at pstout@mcdonoughvoice.com