Peoria Animal Control Takes New Approach with Cats
Effective January 1, 2011, the Peoria Police Department’s Animal Control Unit will no longer pick up or impound feral/free roaming cats from citizens. Instead, the unit will be encouraging citizens with feral cat issues to utilize the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) approach. The change is a cost saving measure, but is also considered a best practice and a more humane alternative to dealing with feral cats.
When a feral cat is permanently removed, nature’s tendency is to over-populate the vacancy it creates. By not creating that vacancy, and by preventing the existing cat from reproducing, the feral cat population will decrease over time. The activity of our most frequent trap users supports this claim – some of them have trapped as many as 50 feral cats from the same location, a clear indication that the trap and euthanize approach is not the best solution.
Peoria’s Animal Control unit will save thousands of dollars in fees it has been paying to impound cats at the shelter, and the time spent managing the trap program and transporting cats can be spent on other more urgent and effective animal control activities. Your favorite search engine will return a long list of hits for “trap neuter return”, and will help identify local programs and provide links to the body of research behind the TNR philosophy.
The City of Peoria and the Peoria Police Department are dedicated to providing the best possible service to the citizens of Peoria. In fact, the Police Department’s Animal Control Unit was created as a result of this dedication. City leaders recognized long ago that without providing local animal care and control services, Peoria residents would be served by a centralized county-wide system that has limited resources to deal with animals across the valley, and simply is not able to provide the level of service that Peoria’s Animal Control Unit offers.
Staffed with four full-time Animal Control Officers, the Unit responds to calls of animals disturbing, loose animals, animal cruelty cases, injured animals, and a host of other situations involving domesticated animals. Peoria’s Animal Control Officers are civilian employees authorized to investigate and enforce the Peoria City Codes pertaining to animals.
Our Animal Control Personnel are dedicated to providing humane treatment for all animals in their care, and each officer receives specialized training by the National Animal Control Association in animal safety, handling, first aid, apprehension techniques, and capture equipment. Based on our documented patterns of service calls, the unit is assigned to work shifts seven days a week, and their hours range from 7am to 10pm most days.
To contact Animal Control call 623-773-8311
What can the city do about a barking dog?
There are a few alternatives to address this problem. To report a barking dog, call the hotline at 623-773-7040. Any of the Department’s Animal Control Officers who personally observe excessive barking can issue a citation to the owner. If our investigation of a barking dog does not result in such an observation, we will continue to respond to subsequent complaints in an attempt to observe the violation.
As an alternative, the complainant can request a form which allows them to provide information about other neighbors who have similar experiences with the same animal and are willing to say so at a court hearing. Once completed, this allows the Animal Control Officer to interview other witnesses and forward a case for prosecution.
In addition to these two avenues which can lead to prosecution, the Department offers another option that avoids prosecution but seeks to resolve the problem in another way. The Neighborhood Mediation Program exists to provide a forum for neighbors to work through this type of conflict. Mediation can help dog owners learn how they are affecting others, help complainants learn what steps the dog owner has taken to address the problem, and provides an opportunity for neighbors to solve a problem together without legal action.