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Braceville man charged with animal cruelty

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 9:37 p.m. CDT

SOUTH WILMINGTON – A Braceville man is facing animal cruelty charges after authorities allege he starved two dogs.

Alex A. Vandervort, 25, is charged with two counts of cruel treatment of an animal, a Class A misdemeanor; two counts of failure to provide food and water to an animal, a Class B misdemeanor; and two counts of failure to provide humane care and treatment to an animal, a Class B misdemeanor.

Vandervort is not being charged with felonies because according to state law, felony charges are only warranted if the animals died, Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland said Monday.

The two dogs are on the mend at the Grundy County Animal Control department.

“It’s a slow process. It takes a lot of time, but the dogs are doing very well for the condition they came in,” Animal Control Director June Krull said Monday.

The dogs were brought in last week after an investigation by animal control, she said.

According to court documents, a golden retriever mix named Melvin and a terrier mix named Dots were kept by Vandervort in South Wilmington where they were “cruelly treated and/or starved” by leaving the dogs confined in a trailer at a mobile home park for “an excessive period” and were not provided adequate food and/or water.

In addition, the documents allege Vandervort failed to provide humane care and treatment to the dogs by confining them to the trailer and not checking on their welfare.

One of the dogs stayed at a veterinarian’s office for a few days before joining the other at the animal control facility, Krull said. Once the dogs are in better health, they will be adopted out.

Class A misdemeanors are punishable up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine, according to a news release from Helland’s office. Class B misdemeanors are punishable up to six months in jail and up to a $1,500 fine. 

Helland and state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, have been working for months on legislation that would stop people convicted of an animal abuse crime from being able to adopt an animal again. The legislation is up for reintroduction in the fall legislation session, Helland said.

The proposed bill would require all Illinois residents convicted of an animal abuse crime to be listed in the national Do Not Adopt Registry. It’s proposed to be maintained by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, but when Helland went before state committees in March, some concerns were returned regarding having a nongovernment body maintaining the site. Officials are now working with state police to see if the site is something that agency can maintain.

The committee also had concern with keeping people on the Do Not Adopt Registry for the proposed 10 years. “Some thought this was too long,” Helland said.

These concerns and others will be addressed in the redrafting of the bill.

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