A press release from McHenry County Board member Chuck Wheeler:
Public Health & Community Services Committee Get’s Answers to Residents Concerns about
Animal Control Holiday Service
The McHenry County Public Health & Community Services Committee heard preliminary testimony about a proposed ordinance from the Health Department to protect pets in the county from the extremes of weather and inadequate care.
Committee Chairman Chuck Wheeler asked Veterinary Public Health Division Manager Maryellen Howell and Public Health Administrator Mike Hill to come back to the next meeting (date) to give a full presentation about the proposal.
Howell told the committee that the current ordinance simply requires that pet owners in the County
provide “adequate shelter” for their animals. She said the ordinance is rather broad and difficult to
“We have to be able to prove that (a situation) is harmful to the animal,” said Howell.
She also indicated that there is often a question of authority between Animal Control and local or
county law enforcement.
Wheeler agreed that there should be a protocol to resolve such issues.
Wheeler, and other committee members also raised concerns that, during a recent holiday he made
calls to Animal Control after receiving complaints from residents and he himself was thrown into an
unanswered loop while the company took the calls for Animal Control sought to find a representative of the agency to take the call. Regarding that Wheeler said, “There (also) needs to be an established
protocol … that makes sure the phones will be answered in a timely fashion.”
Howell said that Animal Control received 358 calls reporting “cruelties” to animals but that 288 of
the calls were ruled unfounded.
She said that conditions the agency will address include ensuring the animal has access to proper
food, water and shelter. In some instances, they’ve responded to calls and discovered that, though the
pet had water, it was frozen over.
Howell said that they generally must allow a pet owner 48 hour to resolve a condition that could
endanger their pet. However, she added, “We have the ability to either do an emergency impound or
shorten up on time for compliance.”