ROCKFORD (WREX) — A service provided for many years changes at the Winnebago County Animal Services. It is no longer picking up dead wildlife.
“We had to think of our officer’s safety first,” said Winnebago County Animal Services Adoption Coordinator Donna Apgar.
Residents can still call animal services to pick up dead cats and dogs either in the home or on the roadways. But officers will no longer pick up deceased wildlife.
“We will pick up dead pets that might belong to somebody and we scan them for a microchip but we no longer pick up deceased wildlife because it was a safety issue for our officers,” said Apgar.
“We had an animal patrol officer patrol vehicle struck from behind. The officer was able to hear the vehicle coming and was able to jump out of the way but it was a close encounter,” said Sergeant Animal Patrol Officer Rick Borrett Jr.
According to Winnebago County Animal Services, state statute requires domestic animals to be disposed of within 24 hours after death.
“Many people don’t have the ability to have the animal disposed,” said Sgt. Borrett.
Animal Services says picking up a deceased pet and trying to locate its owner is the humane thing to do. While picking up deceased wildlife is not a state requirement, it does come as a cost.
“Picking up deceased wildlife is not something that is currently offered by many counties in the state and is not something the county will be doing going forward, there is a cost associate with that,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney.
Animal Services says residents can instead call the Highway Department or the Public Works Department for any wildlife or roadkill assistance. For more information on how to handle a dead domestic animal call the Winnebago County Animal Services at 815-319-4100.