BY JOHN BROUX
EDITOR, VANDALIA LEADER-UNION
Fayette County now has its own animal control center, which was completed last week.
The shelter, the first ran by the county, has already had its first residents as well, according to recent reports. Prior to the shelter being built, captured animals were held with Dr. Durbin’s office in St. Peter.
The new shelter completely new, can hold up to 12 animals. County Animal Control Officer Lee Kephart says she is still moving in.
“When a stray is captured, it is held at the shelter for seven days, then we try to find a rescue to accept the animal,” Kephart explained. She says that the animals are also posted on the office’s Facebook page as well.
For dogs who are pets, Kephart says that numbers on their tags indicate which vet they were registered at and owners can be found with relative ease. They are also checked for identification chips when brought in.
“Hopefully as computer programs get more sophisticated, we will have a central data base where we can just go in and type in the registration numbers ourselves,” Merrell Collins, chairman of Fayette County Animal Control committee said.
The county recently was recently required to begin pet registration, as mandated by the state, which can be competed by visiting any local veterinarian.
Kephart says that while owners are registering their animals, they should also make sure to get the pets rabies shots as well.
“Many of the animals which have come through do not have their rabies shots, while the state says the average is around 25 percent, in Fayette County it is upwards of 75 percent,” she said. Kephart also explained that when animals are picked up by animal control, if they do not have their rabies shots, owners must prepay for one at a local veterinarian, and bring proof to the shelter before the animals will be released to them.
“She does a really outstanding job to get animals back to their owners,” says Merrell Collins, chairman of the county’s Animal Control committee.
Collins cited a recent case where a truck driver who made a stop in the city, had lost control of his dog and could not capture it. He had deliver his load, leaving the dog behind. He did, however, make a call into Kephart, who went out and spent hours catching the dog. The grateful owner was then contacted, who paid for the animal’s passage back home, in California.
And Kephart cautions those who would pick up a dog they think it is lost.
“Many times the animals are near their homes. If a person has time to pick up an animal, they should have time to check locally to see where it belongs,” she said.
The shelter is not a “no kill” facility, but Kephart has transferred close to 100 dogs to rescues.
“In six months, I have only had to put down two animals, and that was because of a severe biting problem and they could not be re-Fayehomed,” she said.
The office does not deal with cats, as state mandates required them to be housed in air-conditioning.
The office is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. seven days a week.
“Our animal control office has more hours of service and better coverage than most others,” Collins said. “The whole idea is to get these animals back to where they belong.”