City committee holds meetings on animal control

All Fayette County communities except Vandalia have signed contracts with the county for animal control services.
Vandalia officials have discussed that issue, but are asking for more information before signing on the dotted line.
The Vandalia City Council’s public safety committee met last Wednesday and again on Monday to discuss animal control, which is provided by Vandalia veterinarian Dr. Connie Heaton.
At the Monday meeting, the committee expressed to Heaton its concerns, including her efforts to avoid euthanizing dogs and cats that she is unable to adopt out.
Heaton told committee members, and Mayor Rick Gottman, that she makes every effort possible to see that the animals get to new homes either through adoption or a number of pet rescues.
Heaton said her adoption program includes running a weekly ad in the Bond and Fayette County Shopper.
She conceded that she does not work with Second Chance Animal Rescue because of issues in the past that have prevented an ongoing working relationship.
She said she contacts rescues in a number of larger cities, including Decatur and Edwardsville. She said that works well, because it provides her with larger population bases with which to work.
Heaton added that she and her employees regularly tell people to call Second Chance.
When she was asked about the conditions of her facility, Fayette County Board Chairman Steve Knebel spoke up, saying that after an anonymous complaint was lodged last year, state investigators visited Heaton’s facility and found no problems.
At the close of the meeting, both Gottman and Alderman Jerry Swarm, chairman of the public safety committee, told Heaton that they would like to see her work with Second Chance.
Gottman added that he understands that that may not be possible, and, “If you can’t, I would like references (from) rescues that you do use.”
The mayor also said he would like Heaton to allow him and other city officials to visit her facility whenever they wish.
“I have no problem with that,” Heaton said.

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