EDWARDSVILLE — Stephanie Wallis of Glen Carbon, a volunteer who provides a foster home for cats, was among the animal fans who visited Madison County’s government center Wednesday to show their support for the county going “no-kill.”
Wallis provides a foster home for Partners for Pets, a Troy organization that’s working with the Metro East Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society and others to reduce euthanization rates at the county’s animal control facility.
“The hope is that eventually Madison County will go to no-kill so there are less innocent animals dying for no reason,” Wallis said.
Representatives of the organizations brought dogs to the Administration Building’s plaza in an adoption event organized to recognize National Pet ID Week. Owners could get their pets microchipped at a discounted rate of $15 and learned about registering microchipped animals at the Remember Found Animals website.
Among those availing themselves of the service was Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler, who microchipped his dog, Chester. Later that afternoon, the County Board passed a resolution setting a goal to work with animal welfare organizations and present a plan by year’s end for the county’s animal control facility to become no-kill by Dec. 31, 2021.
Under a no-kill policy, the only animals euthanized would be those too sick to be saved or too vicious to be adopted.
“Other counties have achieved that; it doesn’t happen overnight,” Prenzler said. “We have excellent help, and we have the experience of other counties across the country that can help us in that direction.”
The resolution lists Partners for Pets, Metro East Humane Society, Hope Rescue, Highland Animal Shelter, 4 Paws Sake, Spencer’s Rescue, Gateway Pet Guardians and 5A’s in Alton as nonprofit organizations working to save animals in Madison County.
“We’re doing this in conjunction with very robust volunteers,” Prenzler said. “We have a lot of animal lovers.”
County officials are working with Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney with Best Friends Animal Society, to move toward no-kill status. She said some 300 cities and counties now save 90 percent or more of animals they receive.
She said Madison County could start its own adoption program by expanding its hours and being open on weekends. It also could develop a community cat program, in which feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor homes. Last year, the county euthanized 797 cats and 281 dogs, saving 39 percent of cats and 67 percent of dogs, VanKavage said.
“We can do better,” she said.
Mike Firsching, Madison County’s animal control administrator and an Edwardsville veterinarian, helped out with microchipping animals. The chips are implanted under a pet’s skin and contain a number registered to a database available to veterinarians and animal clinics.
“It’s really promoting people and the animal bond,” he said.
Anne Schmidt, executive director of Metro East Humane Society, said her organization, along with Best Friends Animal Society and Partners for Pets, is part of a coalition helping the county become no-kill. She said the County Board’s resolution is an important step toward accomplishing that goal.
“There still are so many cats and dogs that are getting euthanized unnecessarily,” she said.