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Rock County officials meet to discuss stray animal problem

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GINA R. HEINE
December 9, 2011
— More than 40 Rock County municipal officials attended a meeting Thursday to discuss how to deal with stray animal control on a countywide basis.

“Everybody has questions, but nobody has an answer,” said Dean Peterson, veterinarian with the Janesville Animal Medical Center.


He’s partnered with Janesville Deputy Police Chief Dan Davis to investigate how the county can handle stray animals in the future.


“Nobody has the money to do this, but we have to do it some way or another.”


At Thursday’s meeting at Janesville City Hall, those gathered heard from the state’s humane officer about what’s involved in appointing a county humane officer.


Two speakers from Milwaukee talked about how a group formed 10 years ago now handles all strays for the city. Before, each precinct had handled its own strays. A new building was financed with a $3 million municipal loan, which will be paid off this year, Peterson said.


Both speakers said a countywide solution is “by far” better than each municipality trying to solve the problem independently, Peterson said. Rock County has 27 governmental entities, which now deal individually with stray animals.


Racine County last year began a process similar to what Rock County is now starting, and a Racine city official spoke on the solution there. The official told the group it’s important to tour facilities in other counties.


“It’s just got to be explored,” Peterson said. “All the options are on the table.”


A countywide effort would require either a new or renovated building, he said. Costs are unknown, but officials who spoke at the meeting said it’s best to get all government entities to share the cost, he said.


Peterson plans to talk with Davis about their next steps, but he’d like to get a task force started with key players from Janesville, Beloit, the Rock County Towns Association and Rock County government.



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