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Kendall County officials look at animal control changes

Updated: January 31, 2014 6:20AM

YORKVILLE — With Kendall County’s Animal Control Department running as well as it ever has, officials there are looking at adopting a new code of operating procedures.

Anna Payton, Animal Control warden, brought her proposed, 28-page plan to the County Board’s Committee of the Whole earlier this month. Board members gave Payton a tentative endorsement of the idea, but will discuss it more and likely vote on it at the Jan. 7 full board meeting.

One of the key features of the new plan is making the department even lower kill than it already is.

Payton wants to remove the 37-day limit for keeping dogs and cats before euthanizing them. The policy is an old one, and Payton said the department has not really been observing it.

Instead, animal control officials have been bringing the list of animals over the limit to the board’s Animal Control Committee each month, and discussing their situations on a case-by-case basis.

Payton wants that kind of review to continue, while taking away the definitive time limit completely.

Animals are evaluated as to their temperament and health, and the shelter also must consider its space situation. Payton said some animals still would be euthanized, but the shelter will focus on adopting out animals.

Officials also work more and more with animal rescues to take animals who have been at the Animal Control facility for a while.

Animal Control’s main mission is to control the animal population in the county, so public safety is its first concern. It must accept all strays and animals surrendered by their owners, whether willingly or through court order, officials said.

Unlike private rescues, animal control cannot pick and choose which animals it will take. But the facility can work with private rescues to keep some of the longer-term animals at the county facility from having to be euthanized, according to officials there.

Last year, the facility took in 607 animals, and euthanized 59 of them. This year, the facility took in about 600 animals, and has euthanized about 35.

Payton said another key change in operating procedures at the facility is how volunteers are accepted and trained. This is another change the facility already is doing, but Payton wants the rules codified.

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