Lawrence M. Walsh
JOLIET – Will County Animal Control has entered into three-year agreements with 11 municipalities that both benefit the communities and cover the county’s costs while caring for lost or abandoned animals.
The intergovernmental agreements with Braidwood, Channahon, Elwood, Godley, Homer Glen, Manhattan, New Lenox, Plainfield, Shorewood, Symerton and Wilmington were approved at the Feb. 16 meeting of the Will County Board. Unincorporated parts of the county are already in Animal Control’s jurisdiction.
“We’ve had agreements with some of these municipalities since 1999,” said Dr. L.P. Schild, who leads the department. “They are renewed every three years.”
Under the agreement, only a community’s police officer may call out one of the department’s four animal control officers under an agreed-upon fee schedule. Schild explained there is an officer on call no matter the day or time.
“They don’t want to call us out unless they have to,” said Schild, explaining officers will handle as many animal complaints as they can on their own. In 2016, Animal Control responded to 363 calls from the 11 communities, an average of almost one a day.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh, whose office oversees Animal Control, said, “The call-outs represent about 3 ½ percent of the department’s income. But in actuality, it’s pretty much a break-even situation for the county.”
Once an animal is in the Department’s possession, it is boarded with an area veterinarian until the owner comes to claim it with a release from the municipality.
If after seven days the animal is still unclaimed, it is available for adoption.
Before that happens, Schild said, a staff member posts information about the animal on social media in hopes the owner will see it.
“We want people to claim their animals,” he said. “We are all in this because we love animals.”
Animal Control maintains a 24-hour answering service and emergency pick-up for confined strays, injured animals and stray biters in unincorporated Will County. In addition, the department is responsible for investigating all potential rabies cases in the county and this month is offering $40 off spays and neuters through participating veterinarians, a program repeated on occasion.
For more information about Will County Animal Control, go to www.willcountyillinois.com or like it on Facebook.