Metro-East News

Fewer cats will be euthanized in St. Clair County

Feeding feral cats, controlling wild population

Samantha Stephens traps wild cats in St. Clair County, IL, near St. Louis, MO, to have them spayed or neutered and control the feral population. She then feeds them. County leaders are considering a proposed ordinance that would allow Stephens and
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Samantha Stephens traps wild cats in St. Clair County, IL, near St. Louis, MO, to have them spayed or neutered and control the feral population. She then feeds them. County leaders are considering a proposed ordinance that would allow Stephens and

In an effort toward limiting the amount of animals that are euthanized in the county, St. Clair County Board members on Monday approved the creation of a cat trap, neuter and release program.

Under the program, people will be able to trap cats, have them spayed or neutered and then release them in unincorporated parts of the county. The purpose of the program is to reduce the feral cat population in the county.

When a feral cat is trapped, it has to be sterilized, have its ear tipped while under anesthesia, and vaccinated for rabies, the county has planned. The removal of a quarter-inch of a cat’s ear would signify the cat has been sterilized and vaccinated for rabies.

As part of the program, if the cat is visibly injured or diseased and appears to be suffering and the cat cannot be cured and released, transferred to a humane society or animal rescue, then the animal can be euthanized. Caregivers will have to provide proper nutrition, adequate water and medical care as needed.

The ordinance and program allows cat caregivers to handle the program, rather than county employees.

“This is an essential step if we’re going to go no-kill,” said County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

Jamie Case, who is the executive director of Gateway Pet Guardians, encouraged adoption of the program.

“It’s been proven all over the country it will reduce the number of stray cats in our area and reduce the number of cats being killed in our local animal control facility,” Case said.

In other action

▪  Union contract approved: County board members approved the union contract with District No. 9 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union represents the 25 road maintenance workers in the county.

The contract includes 1.5 percent pay increases for each year of the three year deal, with the clause that says if the general pay increase for non-union employees in the county is higher, then the union would get the higher amount, too.

“We’re not paying big raises around here,” said Alvin Paulson, the attorney for the county who negotiated the contract. “We know everything is tight these days; 1.5 percent is not a lot.”

Paulson said the union has never needed to exercise the “me-too” option.

Call-out pay would also apply to all county holidays, instead of just a limited amount such as Christmas and New Years Day. The pay would be double-time, plus holiday pay.

Because of the mild winter, there has been very little call out pay this year.

Last year the call out pay amounted to nothing, Paulson said.

The workers also will each get a Carhartt jacket in years one and three of the contract, instead of a sweatshirt every year.

“If they have a jacket for two years, and they’re painting and doing whatever, it gets pretty torn up after a couple of years,” Paulson said.

The union has agreed to the deal. The new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1.

▪  Insurance renewal: The County Board also approved its insurance renewal for MidAmerica Airport through Lockton Companies. The cost of the total premium for one year is $492,298, which is a 7 percent increase from last year, according to county documents.

The increase is attributed to the property insurance for the airport, which increased by about $40,000, according to county documents.

▪  Workers compensation settlement: The County Board on Monday, also approved a workers compensation settlement with former Deputy Circuit Clerk Kelli Garner for about $95,000.

Garner was terminated in January 2015.

Garner claimed a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act, American with Disabilities Act, and an Illinois Human Rights violation, said Tom Ysursa, the attorney who represented the county.

Garner alleged she suffered from a qualifying condition and she was terminated without the opportunity to take FMLA leave, Ysursa said.

“She had a doctors appointment one day, took off from work for a doctors appointment, and then didn’t come in the next day,” Ysursa said.

“It was no call, no show,” Ysursa said. “A violation of the employee handbook.”

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