Metro-East News

County looks to set no-kill goal in animal control

St. Clair County is looking to become a no-kill county when it comes to all healthy dogs and cats that come to the county’s animal control.

Under a resolution passed on Monday by the County Board’s Animal Services Committee, and scheduled to be considered by the full county board next month, the county’s goal is to save all healthy and adoptable dogs and cats by December 2021.

County officials, along with interested individuals and organizations, would have to put together a plan to reach the no-kill goal by the end of next year, according to the resolution.

Richard Angelo, a legislative attorney with Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization, said no-kill is becoming a trend across the country and added it would take teamwork within the community.

“I’m looking forward to working with you and helping anyway I can,” Angelo said.

According to St. Clair County Animal Services statistics released on Monday, the county has taken in 2,798 animals through October of this year, and has had to euthanize 1,020 of them.

Julia Mittelstadt, the founder of Gateway Pet Guardians, said participation from rescues and the St. Clair County Animal Welfare Advocates, paying for shots upon intake, spaying and neutering animals, and groups taking animals out of animal control are needed to help the county work towards limiting the number of euthanasia cases.

Sheila Ford, who is a co-founder of the St. Clair County Animal Welfare Advocates, has worked to try to make the county no-kill. There has been research into animal services three years ago, and presentations to the county board members for about a year and a half.

Ford said becoming a no-kill county would require limiting euthanasia to animals that are a danger to the public, or is too sick to be rehabilitated.

Ford added she was excited by the county’s new goal.

“We’re hoping they will work closely with us,” Ford said. “I know there’s a lot of great resources; we’ve presented a lot of great resources and hopefully between all of us, it’s going to be something really fantastic that will come out of this.”

Day care approved

County Board members on Monday approved the operation of a day care at the former Belle Valley North School.

The day care, which will be operated by Abundant Life Ministries, plans to operate between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The zoning board recommended approval after an agreement was made with neighbors in regards to access to a road during pick up and drop off times.

Last month, the board approved the church operating out of the former school. Services are planned for Sundays and Bible studies on Tuesdays.

Water well prohibition

The County Board approved an ordinance that prohibits people from drilling personal water supply wells in a portion of Caseyville.

Barbara Hohlt, the St. Clair County Health Department executive director, said there is an old gas tank that leaked in the past and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recommended the county put in this restriction.

Hohlt added there is a municipal water supply system already in the area, and known abandon wells have been filled.

The ordinance affects 31 properties, near to Illinois 159 from Hollywood Heights Road to Walnut Drive.

Wexford contract extension

The County Board approved a contract extension for Wexford Health Sources, which provides health care for inmates in the St. Clair County Jail.

The county budgeted $1.2 million for health services in 2016.

The contract calls for 3 percent increases in 2018 and 2020. There will be no increases 2017, 2019 and 2021.

The sheriff’s office has had Wexford provide health services to inmates for 10 to 15 years, said Major Tom Knapp.

Insurance renewal

The County Board also renewed its stop loss insurance for 2017 with Sun Life Financial, for the county’s catastrophic health claims. The stop loss insurance went up by 8.1 percent, to $791,084 from $720,826, according to county documents.

Board members also approved its insurance for property/casualty, workers’ compensation, excess flood and earthquake and pollution liability premiums for 2017.

The overall premium for these coverages is increasing $74,190 to $1.67 million from $1.59 million.

Workers’ compensation premiums did increase. Brad Kreisler, president of Warma Witter Kreiser & Associates, said the personnel in the county sheriff’s department taking risk management training courses has helped keep costs down.

Land rezoning

County Board members approved rezoning land at 6450 Pocket Road near East St. Louis. The move allows Copart, which is leasing space from Racehorse investments, to expand, said Sam Beelman, owner of Racehorse Investments.

The business has parcels that are in Alorton, Centreville and St. Clair County jurisdictions. Copart uses the property for as a storage area for online auto auctions for vehicles totaled in an accident or crashes.

After the zoning change, Copart has 65 acres total in which to operate.