If you've had a stray dog wandering around your neighborhood that nobody has done anything about, it's probably because your local government didn't want to pay the cost to have the county catch it.
Two years ago, Kane County officials learned the fees its Animal Control agency charge to round up stray animals are so high local municipalities avoid getting the county involved in such incidents if at all possible. That's resulted in local police dealing with dangerous dogs or municipalities shrugging their shoulders when animal problems arose.
On Tuesday, county officials suggested changes that may see the public health department once again become the go-to for animal nuisances. The proposed changes come as the county's Animal Control agency continues to be strapped for cash.
The county's contract for animal services with 20 local municipalities is about to expire. Kane County Public Health Executive Director Barb Jeffers pitched a plan that would lower Animal Control fees to a schedule that mimics what is done in neighboring DuPage County.
"Right now, if the municipalities don't agree to the payment we can't go out and pick up the animal," Jeffers said. "DuPage's revenues are double what we take in because their fees are lower."
The charge for picking up an animal would drop to $25. The current fee is $100. The per-day boarding fee for animal would be $10, with a $70 maximum. The current boarding fee is combined with a euthanasia and cremation charge of $200. The new, separate, euthanasia fee would be a maximum of $75 depending on the size of the animal.
The proposed fee change, and renewed push for the municipal contracts to be a moneymaker for the county, come as the initial uptick in Animal Control revenue to start the year fell off in March. Indeed, the number of animal tags purchased from December through March is nearly 700 less than the same time period last year. Tags are the primary revenue for the agency. The agency has also revived the issuance of tickets for letting animal tags expire.
The full county board must approve the change in fees before the price drop occurs.