GODFREY — Whether it is a cat in a tree or a deer in the road, Susie Stephan will have the tiger by the tail.
Don’t worry, a tiger isn’t on the loose in Godfrey, but if it was, the new village of Godfrey animal control officer would spring into action.
“I have always had a love of animals, and I knew this was what I wanted to do,” Stephan, 31, said. “Being born and raised in Godfrey and having a lifelong passion for animal health, I couldn’t be happier to be serving all the residents of Godfrey — including the furry ones.”
The village of Godfrey animal control officer responds to calls regarding stray and/or potentially dangerous animals, dog bites, road kills, and ordinance violations related to nuisance animals such as barking dogs, and will be patrolling the village whenever possible.
Beginning her tenure last month, Stephen says she is excited for the chance to serve her community and do something she loves at the same time.
The married mother of three (Joe, 6, Luke, 5, and Finn, 1) was born and raised in the Godfrey area and worked in a veterinary clinic as a teenager. Before becoming Godfrey’s animal control officer, she was a veterinary technician for 15 years.
The village is planning to expand the position’s reach and influence in Godfrey, Stephan says. She has met with Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick to discuss upcoming plans for the department and the role she will play. She also has met with the police department, fire department and street department to introduce herself and learn about the inner workings of the village.
“Everyone has been very welcoming,” she says. “The mayor has been so great and supportive; he has a lot of exciting ideas for this job and I really appreciate the opportunity to extend the feeling of goodwill to the village of Godfrey through those ideas.”
“Mrs. Stephan is a breath of fresh air and her plans for this position will directly benefit village residents and village animals,” McCormick said.
McCormick has requested the Animal Control office to enhance its role and presence in the community.
“I will be doing animal safety presentations in Godfrey elementary schools and making appearances in nursing homes with my little dog, Ed, on a consistent basis,” Stephan says.
She also will implement strategies to help owners find lost pets (www.lostdogsil.org) and will encourage the adoption of stray animals and avoiding euthanasia whenever possible. She hopes to educate the community on animal care safety through local schools in an effort to minimize dog bite cases.
Stephan’s first week was a busy one, with four calls of deer on the roads within the first few days. She has busied herself with answering calls around the community and taking care of her general duties.
“I’m not having a problem staying busy,” she says.
In addition to completing her standard job requirements, Stephan says she is excited about being proactive in the community. She will be involved in fundraisers with rescue organizations and other activities to benefit both the village and animals in need.
Stephan expressed her excitement about her new position in Godfrey. She says there are a lot of new things coming for the Animal Control Office, and she is excited to begin implementing them.
“I’m very delighted to have this opportunity,” she said. “This is my community, and I’m excited to serve it.”
Along with a new officer comes a new contact number for animal control. Village of Godfrey Animal Control can be reached at (618) 466-5211. Regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and residents are encouraged to leave voicemail.
As with any emergency, animal emergencies after business hours should be directed to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department at (618) 692-4433.