Ersel Schuster Continues Exmination of Health Department

Animal Control is handled by the County Health Department at its facility on Route 14 in Crystal Lake.

Animal Control is handled by the County Health Department at its facility on Route 14 in Crystal Lake.

Ersel Schuster chairing the Management Services Committee, which pushed the County Board into providing more transparency.

Ersel Schuster chairing the Management Services Committee, which pushed the County Board into providing more transparency.

Below is County Board candidate Ersel Schuster’s example III of IV –

“Veterinary Public Health,”

division of the McHenry County Department of Health as presented to the county board in

“A Document Proposing Reductions for McHenry County Government.”

This installment is the third of four examples where reductions and/or elimination in county services could be realized in the McHenry County Health Dept.

Yet again, your county board members remain silent.

To obtain any of the Reference Documents, email: Indicate which of those documents you would like.


VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH (Animal control/adoption):

Funded By: General Fund

FUNCTION (Attachment D): “Veterinary Public Health (Animal Control & Adoption): Provides rabies control through rabies vaccination and registration. Provides education to minimize the potential for bites inflicted. Enforces state and local laws regarding rabies vaccination and registration of dogs. Provides security to residents from annoyance, intimidation and injury from dogs and other animals by enforcing state and county laws pertaining to cruelty, nuisance and stray animals. Provides temporary shelter for stray, abandoned and unwanted animals. Investigates livestock claims and provides education to promote responsible pet ownership.”

CONTROLLING STATUTE: According to the most recent “Program Description” page of the 2013 Health Department Budget (Attachment E), there is no “controlling statute” referenced for the division of Veterinary Public Health.


Animal Control-Dogs Registered

  • 2013 –  57,450
  • 2014 – 58,000
  • 2015 – 58,000

Animal Bites

  • 2013 – 540
  • 2014 – 500
  • 2015 – 500

Animal Control-Volunteer Hours

  • 2013 – 5,987
  • 2014 – 6,000
  • 2015 – 6,000

NUMBER OF DIVISION EMPLOYEES: 18.9 – This excludes volunteers under the “Animal Shelter Fund.”

OVERVIEW of the Division:

Over the years, county boards have wrestled with the question of whether or not to privatize the Animal Control Division of the Health Department.

Numerous issues and problems have caused these discussions to be a concern for all McHenry County taxpayers. Among these concerns are the following:

a. Animal Adoption Center

  • Several private animal adoption programs exist in the county and members of this community have been eager to take these animals.

b. Veterinary Community

  • McHenry County Veterinarian services are supported and subsidized by tax dollars and/or fees, undermine the private veterinary community.
  • Shifting these services, currently provided by county government to the business community, promotes the private providers and local economic development.

c. Problems plaguing

Enforcement of the County Animal

Control Ordinance:

  • For as long as the division of Animal Control has been in existence, Ordinance enforcement and public discontent with the division has been a problem.
  • Public perception is that the division does not fulfill its obligations in protecting the public from dangerous and nuisance animals. This has all too often caused people, to their own detriment, to take issues into their own hands in protecting their families and properties.
  • Attached are a few examples (Attachment J; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) based on personal experiences.
  • Most recently, another “dog” issue is playing out in western McHenry County. This incident is not unusual and it exemplifies the distrust residents have with this division. The attached document (Attachment J 1a & 1b), spells out the full sequence of events in this case.
  • Recapping the incident: in this particular case, had Animal Control taken the 2 pit bull dogs in question into custody when they were first called, a second attack on another neighbor would not have occurred. In the first case a family dog was attacked by 2 dogs. This attack occurred in front of witnesses. The family dog incurred several thousand dollars in veterinarian fees and services. In the second case, an offending dog tore a 10 pound poodle from a woman’s arms and proceeded to trying to kill it. In this instance, a woman and a man suffered wounds while working to rescue the poodle.
  • At stake is the potential for the department being accused of negligence in their actions. Ultimately, residents of McHenry County could be faced with a large liability case.
  • A complete review of the division and how their lack of action in such instances, puts county residents at risk.


  • Identify the populations/locations served by this division.
  • Identify the mechanism used to qualify those clients who may require subsidies for services provided by the county’s Veterinary Public Health/Animal Control Division.
  • It is suggested that the animal adoption center should be spun off to existing private adoption centers.
  • Veterinarian services should be handled by local veterinarians.
  • Contract with private business for the collection of problem animals.
  • Reduce animal control to a record keeping center; a call center; and referral service
  • These actions would reduce the cost of county personnel, equipment, buildings and maintenance costs.

= = = = =
Other candidates for the County Board are invited to submit policy suggestions, as well as press releases announcing their candidacies or campaign activities. Pictures are encouraged.


Ersel Schuster Continues Exmination of Health Department — 16 Comments

  1. Ersel Schuster exemplifies what a trustee SHOULD do:

    (1) Figure out what functions your government should be doing.

    (2) Eliminate any functions not on that list.

    (3) Examine each remaining function for efficiency.

    Instead we tend to get cheerleaders who advocate for their chosen cause and oppose any serious examination.

    Go, Ersel!

  2. Saturday, December 19, 2015

    Animal control officer, Christopher Bain, fired and charged with cruelty after killing squirrel by stomping on its head

    ILLINOIS — A McHenry County Animal Control officer is no longer an “active employee” of the agency after officials said he killed a squirrel by stomping on its head.

    The officer, Christopher Bain, has been cited with violating state animal protection laws, court and police records show.

    Bain was called to Crystal Lake Volkswagen in late October to remove a gray squirrel that had gotten into the service area, according to the documents.

    “It was scared … so I decided to call for help,” said Matt Pease, the dealership’s assistant service manager. “I called (Animal Control) to be humane about the situation.”

    But Pease said he was horrified with what happened next.

    As he and several co-workers watched, the officer “raised his foot about 12 inches and maliciously stomped on the squirrel’s head,” according to an Illinois Conservation Police report.

    The report said Bain had first tranquilized the squirrel using a syringe at the end of a pole, but after it ran out from beneath a cabinet, Bain stomped on the animal, leaving a pool of blood on the floor.

    “The officer giggled and stated, ‘I got it a little too hard,’ ” the police report said.

    “I’m a huge animal lover and to see that … how do you just do that and shrug it off?” Pease said. “From there, I just walked away. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

    According to Pease and the police document, Bain LIED ON THE REPORT and said he took the squirrel and released it into the woods. But Pease said he later found the carcass on the opposite side of a fence on the property.

    “Fresh blood (was found) on the tree branches above it,” the police report said.

    Officials at the McHenry County Health Department, which encompasses the animal control agency, said Bain is no longer “an active employee” after having worked for the department for about eight years. They declined to elaborate.

    The police report said Lisa Lembke, a county animal control veterinarian, was “quite upset with her officer and wanted him cited.”

    Bain, 43, of Crystal Lake, was given three citations that show he is accused of unlawful taking of protected species and unlawful taking of a gray squirrel without habitat stamp or a hunting license.

    A gray squirrel is a protected species under the state’s wildlife code.

    Bain, who is due back in court on the citations next month, has been appointed a public defender in the case. Neither he nor a member of the McHenry County Public Defender’s office could be reached for comment.

    (Chicago Tribune – Dec 17, 2015)

  3. Just curious: Re: “it would still be tax payer funded”

    But could the amount the taxpayers paid be less?

  4. Questioning: that is what should be examined.

    Would privitization cost less and be more efficient?

    Are there other ways for Animal Control to be more efficient if it is not privatized?

    Of course those points should be examined on an ongoing basis.

    We should always be looking for ways to cut costs and be more efficient while serving the community.

    This piece by Ms. Schuster makes it sound as though Animal Control is an option for the county, when it’s clearly mandated by state law.

  5. Most hide behind the term “mandate.”

    We all know there are ways to handle these issues.

    The problem is… do we dig in an look for alternatives?

    Do we throw in the towel?

    Do we wring our hands with the whoa-is-me attitude; or, do you come together to find new ideas to lighten the tax burdens?

  6. So I’m confused.. does mandate not mean require?

    Is the County Board not actually required to carry out the laws listed in the link I posted above?

  7. I am amazed that an AC officer came out there at all.

    When people I know have called in regards to skunks living under their porch and rabid acting raccoons they were directed to call a wildlife disposal company.

    I thought they were only around to issue dog at large tickets

  8. Excellent, Ersel. For forty-one years now I have known this agency to be highly suspect.

    IF you can manage to find a contact number for distress calls, they are woefully unprepared to take any kind of suitable action.

    The only people that ever show up are quick to “tranquilize” and haul away pets.

    If you have wildlife issues, you need to contract with private organizations.

    Their name is a total oxymoron as they control nothing!

    How much does it cost us taxpayers for this useless agency?

  9. Amazing, she is attacking the health department & animal control, but doesn’t say anything about the expanding State’s Attorney’s office.

    Or better yet, reducing the ridiculous number of board members by half, talk about saving tax payers’ money!

    FYI, the health department cut $1 Million from it’s budget last year already.

    She is an a personal vendetta,not looking out for us.

  10. Sayers, if the board was cut in half so would her chances of being elected.

    The perennial candidate thinks she has to hold office for mchenry county to survive.

    Let’s hope the voters in her district know better

  11. Sayers, obviously you do not understand county government.

    If you have a few minutes you may be able to educate yourself.

    And Watcher1940… your personal venomous attacks on this lady are pretty transparent.

    Maybe you should evaluate your mental problems.

    Exactly what is it that either of you have done to make a difference? Maybe you could spell that out for us… maybe?

    Grow up boys and girls.

  12. No, Klaatu, you are the one who is wrong.

    I don’t sense venom or mental issues from watcher1940.

    Also, I would agree with sayers, this looks like a personal vendetta.

    Not a lot of facts backed up by actual data in this report.

    And you cannot read the attachments without asking for them by phone and email.

    When you prepare a report you need to back up your claims and provide all of the data without making the reader ask for it.

  13. Klaatu, could you please be more specific as to what I am wrong about?

    It would help the learning process if you could provide some examples.

    Backed by facts of course.


  14. You list everything bad, but what about all the good they do.

    There isn’t enough space to even cover that.

    People make mistakes.

    No one is perfect.

    There have been a lot of changes made and a lot of good in that department.

    Start looking at all the positives.

    Maybe get more involved and you will see all that they do.

    Is it that easy to fire so many people?

    What about their families?

    These people all do an excellent job and don’t deserve this.

    Privatizing will only be putting money in someone else’s pocket.

    The animal care there is wonderful and the adoption rate is unbelievable.

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