As cars drive through the busy intersection of IL-251 and Roosevelt Road in Machesney Park, they’re greeted by a new message in glaring LED.
Becky Grammier hopes the new billboard will green-light her mission to make Winnebago County Animal Services a no-kill shelter.
“The definition is that you do not kill any treatable or healthy animal,” explained Grammier, no-kill advocate. .
“It shows 48 percent of our dogs and cats…were euthanized in 2015,” she continued. “The number is much higher if you consider wildlife.”
Grammier has taken her plea to the Winnebago County Board on numerous occasions. So, Eyewitness News asked the two men, vying for the position of the next board chairman, how they felt about it. Republican Frank Haney said a little more education could go a long way
“The number one thing we can do is on the prevention side,” said Haney. “[We can] raise awareness for spaying and neutering, so that we do not have the problem on the backside, of [unwanted] animals coming into animal control services.”
Democratic candidate John Nelson says he’d like to see a shelter expansion, and put an end to the drop-off fees.
“It’s believed in the animal community [that the fee] discourages drop offs, and we need to probably eliminate that,” explained Nelson.
While Grammier insists a no-kill shelter wouldn’t cost extra money to the county’s taxpayers, both Haney and Nelson are skeptical. Each have two different approaches on how they’d deal with it.
“One thing I’m not [in favor of] is raising taxes or diverting funding from economic development initiatives or other public safety initiatives,” Haney said.
“I wouldn’t be adverse to putting a referendum on the ballot for the public to vote on, if they wanted to vote on a special tax to do that,” said Nelson. “I think it would be that expensive.”
The billboard also has a hotline phone number where residents can call and ask for more info on the ‘no-kill’ movement, what to do with a stray, or how to cope with a pet problem of their own.
Grammier says the billboard will stay up for a month, but she hopes with more funds, it’ll run longer. If you’d like to donate, follow this link to the ‘No-Kill WCAS’ Facebook page, and send a message.
For a link to see Grammier’s information on the 2015 euthanasia rate at WCAS, click here.