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Payton gets Kendall animal facility under control

AnnPaythead Kendall County Animal Control plays with an American Pitbull Terrier Animal Control facility Yorkville. | Sun-Times MediFile

Anna Payton, head of Kendall County Animal Control, plays with an American Pitbull Terrier at the Animal Control facility in Yorkville. | Sun-Times Media File

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Updated: January 29, 2013 6:29AM

YORKVILLE — What a difference a year has made for Kendall County’s Animal Control Department.

Last year at this time, the department had dismissed its previous warden and hired a new one in the wake of a scandal in which the wrong dog was euthanized. That scandal began when the dog in question bit a 6-year-old boy working at the facility. The tot was brought to the Animal Control facility by his father, who was working community service hours.

The new warden, Anna Payton, spent 2012 turning the Kendall department around, both in the way the it runs and in the way it is administered.

The change in administration was not lost on County Board member Anne Vickery, chairman of the Animal Control Committee, who late in 2012 praised Payton for getting more volunteers involved, and improving the relationship between animal control and area animal rescue organizations and pet stores.

Vickery also praised Payton for getting the department on a better financial footing, saying the department’s fund balance increased by 837 percent, with Payton tightening how well the department keeps track of tags for pets.

In February of this year, Shannen Flores, the mother of 6-year-old Gavin Lee, the boy bitten by the dog in 2011, filed a lawsuit against the county, saying staff did not do enough to control the animal.

But county officials have said those days are over at Animal Control, thanks to Payton.

By the end of the year, after much controversy, the County Board approved a raise for Payton because of the turnaround.

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