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Report: Arlington animals

Appeal time is running short

PRINCETON — The appeal process time is running out for an Arlington man to try to reclaim his animals.

At last week’s meeting of the Bureau County Board, State’s Attorney Patrick Herrmann said no appeal has been filed yet, as of Thursday, and the appeal time is running short for Dan Labounty, who had 13 beagles and seven horses placed in the county’s care in February after he did not address alleged concerns about the care of the animals. In mid-March, a judge with the Illinois Department of Agriculture ruled the animals should be kept impounded by the county with Labounty having 35 days to appeal from the date of notice. If no appeal is filed, the animals would be forfeited to the county, Herrmann told the county board.

Bureau County Animal Control Officer Scott Robbins is making sure the animals are being cared for, board member Marshann Entwhistle said. He’s made arrangements for the beagles to be cared for by Beagle Rescue, and the dogs are all out of the county. Once the appeal period is completed and Labounty has given them up, Beagle Rescue will make sure the dogs are in good homes outside of the county area, Entwhistle said.

The horses remain on the Labounty property, but Robbins is watching them, Entwhistle said. An eye infection in one of the horses has been treated and is cleared up. Two of the mares are with foal, she said.

If the animals remain in the county’s care and if the county would sell the animals, then that money would help defray any costs incurred by the county, Herrmann said.

The food for the dogs has been donated, and the hay for the horses has been paid for by Labounty. There would be minor costs for the ointment and pill for the horse with the eye infection.

In financial discussions at last week’s meeting, the board tabled action on proposed salary increases for the elected offices of circuit clerk, county clerk, sheriff and treasurer. The recommendation was for a 3.5 percent increase for both the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, followed by a 3 percent increase for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

The board also approved a recommendation from the Computer Committee to replace 21 computers for the county, at a total cost of $11,566, including installation/transfer of information; to upgrade a remaining 45 computers, at a total cost of $14,349; and to buy a new server, at a cost of $26,834.

The board also reviewed and put on file the auditor’s 76-page annual financial report. The audit shows net assets for the county of about $59 million for the fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2013. The net assets includes $35 million in capital assets like structure, land, equipment and roads, as well as about $17 million in cash on hand and in banks. The county has $8.3 million in unrestricted assets, compared to last year’s $7.8 million in unrestricted assets. The largest portion of the county’s assets are tied up in restricted areas for specific uses, the auditor said.

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