DANVILLE — Alderman Rickey Williams hopes a newly formed committee can find a way to merge animal regulation in Danville and Vermilion County into one operation that benefits animals.
Earlier this year, Danville aldermen requested that the city form such a committee that would explore a combined approach to animal regulation and make recommendations to the full council by the end of August. The request emerged during a city council meeting in which Williams and several members of the public expressed their concerns over the care of animals at the Danville Humane Society, 1225 N. Collett St., Danville, which the city pays to handle animal regulation within its borders. Some members of the public alleged mistreatment of animals at the shelter.
The county has its own animal regulation department and shelter on Catlin-Tilton Road that serves unincorporated areas of the county and various municipalities that have an agreement with the county for animal control.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and Vermilion County Board Chairman Jim McMahon have each done some research and brainstorming on how to merge their individual animal regulation operations but did not yet have a formal proposal when aldermen requested that a committee be formed.
Eisenhauer recently announced the nine-member committee and announced Tuesday that its first meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday in the lower level community room of the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St., Danville.
In addition to Eisenhauer, McMahon and Williams, the committee members include: Steve Fourez, a Vermilion County Board member; Brad Cooper, veterinarian; Darrell Jacobs, organizer of Fetch Dog Park; Pete Lary, member of the Danville Humane Society board; Mike Atchison, member of the Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation; and Deb Fridy, community member. Three will serve as advisory board members, JoAnn Adams, former director of Humane Society; Jerry Hawker, former director of county animal control; and Ken Nixon, who also has worked with the county animal regulation department.
With one month before recommendations are due, Williams said he doesn't know if that's going to be enough time for the committee to explore all the options the way he had originally hoped.
"I'm thankful that the mayor finally convened this meeting. It's long overdue, and it should have happened long ago," Williams said. "My original hope was to explore several different options, but the one I'm leaning toward is a partnership with the county. I feel like overall they do a good job of animal control and have a slightly more successful adoption rate."
Williams said he just hopeful that the committee can accomplish something that will improve the lives of animals in Vermilion County.
"We are their only voice," he said.