The County of LaSalle, (Illinois) has collected almost $29,000 in funds from dog owners who have purchased their county rabies tags. This money was earmarked to allow low-income people to get their dogs and cats spayed and neutered for free, and is collected through a split-fee system.
The split-fee system is called for in the state's Animal Population Control Act. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2746&ChapterID=41
The law states that the extra fees are to be used to provide discount sterilization and rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. The law gives counties the option of keeping the money to offer the services itself or sending the money to the Illinois Department of Public Health for a statewide program.
The Public Safety II Committee, which oversees animal control, is exploring whether it can use that money for another related purpose, possibly the pound that they have been mulling over starting for 10+ years.
Dr. Dell Brodd, the county animal control administrator, said county auditor Jody Wilkinson won't release the funds for any other purpose without being presented a legal ruling.
Implementing the low-income spay and neutering plan was sidelined without action at the latest meeting.
In December, 2010, Matt McLaughlin, D-Peru, was designated committee chairman of the Public Safety committeee, which oversees animal control, and he apparently has no clue as to the severity of the overpopulation problem within his county.
McLaughlin said there is a philosophical question among committee members as to whether it is right to be assisting people with low incomes maintain pets they cannot afford. We say who needs it more?
He said the committee also wants to know what spending options there are for the money beyond the low-income assistance.
Please tell Matt McLaughlin, the committee, and the LaSalle County Board that they need to implement a sterilization program with these funds immediately, and that low-income people are exactly the ones this money should help.
LaSalle County is the second largest county in Illinois, it does not have an animal control facility or any beneficial programs in place.
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