Letters to the Editor 2/14/19
HELP FOR PETS
I am writing in response to your Feb. 7 article, “Frigid response to pet law.” I am a humane investigator and was involved with drafting recent amendments. This was necessary to give police officers relief from some of the impediments they experienced with enforcement of the law, as it stood in 2018. Its purpose is to prevent animals from suffering hypothermia, hyperthermia, frostbite or a similar condition. It allows the officer, animal control or humane investigators time to work with owners, educate them about the risk animals face in extreme temperatures and make any adjustments needed, without the animal remaining in a hazardous situation.
It now allows for a police officer to remove a dog or a cat from a situation when the animal is in danger of suffering one of the conditions mentioned. They must make effort to locate the owner and, if that individual can’t be found, leave information about where the animal will be taken and can be retrieved. The removal does not require a veterinary diagnosis. Officers would make this determination using their own knowledge, training and experience. Numerous rescues in Springfield are also available to provide assistance from trained humane investigators.
The statute requires the animal to be taken to a veterinarian for care as soon as possible. In Springfield, we are fortunate to have a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic. This relieves police departments and municipalities from the cost of the veterinary care or boarding, as the owner of the animal is responsible for any veterinary costs.
If an owner leaves a dog or cat outdoors in extreme temperatures and the animal becomes affected by the conditions mentioned, the owner can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for a first conviction of this violation or a Class 4 felony for a subsequent conviction.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE STATE
Once again, thank you to Bruce Rushton (“Transparency?” Feb. 7). You noted three crucial points only known to those who have challenged state wrongdoing in Sangamon County. 1) State officials and managers who are paid to uphold and follow the law fail to do so without consequence; 2) The state’s attorney general defends and supports these officials and managers, including those who have committed misfeasance, malfeasance and other wrongdoing against the people of Illinois, and, 3) State courts, especially in Sangamon County, are not reliable arbiters of the facts and the law in cases involving their executive branch.
You also pointed out that we pay the salary and benefits of these state functionaries who are acting against the rule of law. Unfortunately, the example you illustrate is all too common.
TOWNSHIP IS FLEXIBLE
Regarding the future of Capital Township (“Township tug of war,” Jan. 31), voters voiced their preference on the fall ballot on whether Capital Township should merge with the county. The effort to merge passed with 75 percent of the votes; however, it did not exactly say how it would happen. I was elected as your Capital Township trustee and have witnessed firsthand our township’s ability to immediately respond to constituents in under-served populations who have changing needs.
I have spearheaded town hall meetings that resulted in swift changes to Capital Township’s programs. It was during one of these meetings when a resident in poverty voiced a concern over the immediate need for transportation assistance to travel to her job. Capital Township rectified this issue by tailoring and promoting a new “Employee Transportation Assistance” program to help those who qualify.
It was that kind of success that warmed my heart and why I believe in grass-roots programs like town halls to listen to our constituents and readjust our programs accordingly. I’m very open-minded and want to make sure we make the right choice on this matter.