Group to discuss city taking on animal control duties

Group to discuss city taking on animal control duties

DANVILLE - The animal regulatory committee will discuss Monday (today, Aug. 6) the possibility of the city hiring its own animal control officers and operating its own animal shelter rather than paying the Humane Society of Danville to enforce its animal control ordinances.

The committee, which includes Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon, met for the first time last week to discuss alternatives to Danville's current animal regulation arrangement. Its meeting is at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers of the municipal building, 17 W. Main St., Danville.

Currently, the city pays the local non-profit Humane Society $78,000 a year to provide animal control officers to enforce the city's animal regulation ordinances and answer any animal-related calls. The society also operates a shelter, independent of the city, where dogs and cats are housed, and offers some for adoption.

But earlier this year, Alderman Rickey Williams Jr., Ward 1, and a group of local residents alleged that the Humane Society was not treating animals humanely and called for the city to shut down the operation. Instead, aldermen called for the creation of an animal regulation committee to study the situation and come back to the city council with recommendations for changes.

Ending the city's current arrangement with the Humane Society immediately would have left the city without any animal control regulation. Vermilion County has its own animal regulation officers and animal shelter west of Tilton, but is not responsible for animal control in Danville, or any other municipality, unless there is a contractual agreement between the county and city.

That's another option that the committee has been discussing, whether the city and county could combine animal regulation enforcement in some way or operate a joint shelter.

Eisenhauer and McMahon have both been interested in consolidating animal services in some fashion, and Eisenahuer has researched alternatives and visited other facilities in the state, including Decatur where the city pays the county to provide animal regulation and one shelter serves both the city and county.

Eisenhauer said if Danville were to bring animal control regulation in-house, it would cost the city more than the $78,000 it's now paying annually. He said the city would also need two animal control officers, and the city does not have a shelter. And McMahon has said that the county shelter would need to be expanded to accommodate animal regulation in both the county and in Danville.

Eisenhauer, who will present more information to the committee Monday, said he expects the committee to make a decision at the meeting on what recommendations it will take back to the city council later this month.