December 12, 2011

News Release

For Immediate Release

County Budget Cuts Impact Animal Control

Following last week's Greene County Commission budget decisions – and pending final approval of the County's 2012 budget that includes more than $1.4 million in cuts – the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is providing the following information to help citizens clearly understand the impact of the cuts on Animal Control services.

In 2007, Greene County approached the Health Department about expanding animal control services into the unincorporated but urbanized areas of the county that surround the city of Springfield. These services included impounding loose dogs (but not cats), investigating animal bites and quarantining biting animals. The goal was to provide the same level of service to developed areas of the county, particularly residential neighborhoods, which had long been available within the adjacent city limits.

The addition of animal control services in what is referred to as the Urban Animal Control Area has become a very popular service and it has been widely used. This area contains an estimated 23,000 households with a population of more than 50,000 people. There were more than 1,000 calls for service throughout this area in 2010, with more than 300 dogs impounded and 22 bite investigations. In 2010, there were 50 animal bite investigations there.

It is often the case that the city limits runs along a neighborhood street, meaning citizens who live on one side of the street will be able to receive services from Animal Control, while their neighbors on the other side will not. There are examples of this situation on all sides of the city of Springfield. Animal Control staff can pinpoint several such locations for media upon request. (A map of the Urban Animal Control Area is online at: www.springfieldmo.gov/health/pdf/UrbanAnimalMap.pdf (pdf).)

Here is what will change, pending final approval, with Animal Control services beginning on Jan. 1:

Media contact: Mike Brothers, Public Information Administrator, Office: (417) 874-1205, Cell: (417) 894-9064, mbrothers@springfieldmo.gov

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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov