February 25, 2023

This page is a culmination of frequently asked questions sent to DMCASF and MCAC. This is a great resource if you cannot reach us after hours or over the weekend.

In General Questions:

What is the difference between MCAC and DMCASF? Who should I contact?

MCAC is the Macon County Animal Control and Care Center, a department of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department with a facility that houses stray and adoptable animals, has employees, and works directly with Animal Control wardens. DMCASF is the Decatur and Macon County Animal Shelter Foundation, a group of board members who came together to raise funds to aid in the needs of the shelter. DMCASF has one staff member who is at the shelter 5 days a week getting acquainted with animals, running the DMCASF Facebook page and website. If you have a question about an animal at the shelter or how to donate, you can contact DMCASF. If you have an animal control related issue or want to know the status of your application, you can contact MCAC. There are two separate Facebook pages, one for the shelter and one for the foundation.

What happens when my dog/cat gets impounded?

All animals are given their own kennel with food, water and bedding. Intake vaccines are given including the kennel cough and Parvovirus vaccines, as well as a flea pill if staff feels there is reason. They are input into the shelter’s system which is directly connected to 24PetConnect.com which updates hourly. Medical staff check for any major medical problems or illnesses and treat as necessary. When an owner comes forward to claim the pet, which must be done in person, the impound fees are discussed. Shelter staff are more concerned with getting the pet home than taking the public’s money. While not always 100% possible, payment plans can be set up, making a down payment and monthly payments until the fees are paid off. It is a case by case basis that needs to be discussed with the Rabies Secretary or management.

Do you take donations?

Donations of physical goods can be dropped off at MCAC at any time. Blankets, towels, treats, collars and leashes are always welcome. Unfortunately pillows and worn (human) clothing cannot be accepted. Monetary donations to MCAC of cash, check or card can be made in person at the shelter, checks can also be mailed. Monetary donations to DMCASF can be placed in the donation box in the MCAC lobby or made online at our website.

Do you give pet food out to the public?

MCAC has a contract with Hill's Science Diet, this is the food that is fed to all the animals at the shelter. When pet food is donated to MCAC it is often distributed to other facilities who have a more frequent need for it. Occasionally MCAC will have pet food to give a "One Time Assistance" to members of the public, you will just need to call ahead and check. If you are in need of pet food assistance and MCAC does not have any, you can check with New Hope Animal Outreach, Catholic Charities, Northeast Community Fund and Old King’s Orchard Community Center.

Are you a no kill shelter?

While MCAC is not a No Kill shelter, they are low kill. Every effort is made to not euthanize, but in cases of major medical issues or extreme aggression, humane euthanasia may be the only option. There is a barn program for cats who are not suitable for homes, whether they are not adjusting well to shelter life or they came in as feral strays. When a dog is not able to be placed on the adoption floor, MCAC reaches out to rescues and does the best they can to get them placed.

Why do I have to pay to get my pet out of the pound?

When an animal is picked up running at large there is a warden fee for going out on the call. There is a running at large offense fee, which increases each time it happens. There is an impound fee regardless of whether the animal was picked up by a warden or member of the public. There is also a $7 per day charge for housing the animal: the animal is given medical care and food while it is at MCAC. In order for the animal to go back home it will need to be current on the Rabies Vaccine and microchipped, according to Illinois state law; there are charges for these as well. DO NOT let the thought of having to pay keep you from claiming your pet. MCAC works with residents to get their pet home and out of the shelter.

What do I need to do to adopt?

In order to adopt from MCAC you need to have an approved application. You can apply online at dmcasf.org or in person at the shelter. Adoption staff check a few basics, like criminal history and vaccine status for animals in the home. Depending on the day and the application, the review process can take from 15 minutes to 48 hours. Staff do their best to get an animal home the same day the application is submitted. It is not required for adopters to have a fenced in yard or for their current pet to be sterilized. While we recommend it, not all members of the household are required to meet the animal before adoption. Meet and greets with other dogs in the household are always recommended but also not required. An application does not hold you to that animal and it also does not hold the animal for you to come at a later date to adopt.

What if the adoption doesn’t work out?

The main question we will ask is: Did you give it time? Animals can take upwards of 6 months to adjust to a new home. If you feel it is not a good fit for your household, you can bring the animal back. There will be paperwork to fill out and, depending on how long it has been, an owner surrender fee. Adoption staff will determine if everything was done to allow for the situation to work or if it was a quick decision. MCAC will not issue a refund for a returned animal as this covers just some of the medical costs the animal has incurred.

If I surrender/return an animal can I adopt again?

Adoption staff will look into the reason for the return or surrender and assess if they feel another adoption is the right route. Only on very special circumstances will you be able to bring home another animal that same day.

Can I adopt two at the same time?

This varies. For cats, it is easier to adopt two at the same time, especially if they are kittens or originally from the same household. Cats often adjust better with a buddy. Dogs are in general more work, so the shelter does not recommend adopting two the same day. MCAC likes to know that the household is situated and everyone is doing well. Sending two home at the same time can be overwhelming for family and pet – this often results in returned animals.

Does MCAC hold animals?

No, MCAC does not hold, even with the offer of pre-payment. Holding animals until a later date keeps the animals at the shelter longer than needed. We are all about quick turnaround, not wanting to do anything to lengthen their stay. If we hold for an adopter for a later date, this means turning away potential adopters who could take them home same day.

Will you adopt out of state?

Absolutely! MCAC will not turn away any approved adopter. We unfortunately cannot help with transportation; this includes no shipping of animals. The adopter must sign an adoption contract, so they will need to be the one present to transport the dog, unless otherwise authorized by MCAC management. If you are traveling more than 3 hours and have your heart set on a specific animal, call and speak with shelter staff. While they cannot guarantee the animal will be held they can do their best – within certain time restrictions. This is at the discretion of the Adoptions Coordination.

Dog Questions:

Why are there so many pits?

“Pit bull” is essentially the common term for mutt. It is a mix of dogs with a blocky head and strong muscular structure. There are 15 different breeds that can be mixed to create a “pit bull”, including the American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Boxer, and Boston Terrier.

True bully breeds are the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

That’s a pit, why is it listed as a different breed?

When dogs come in as strays there is no way to know for sure what mix it is. We try to stay away from calling everything unknown a pit because 80% of them are not. We look for signs, like body structure, and make an educated guess at what the dominant breed could be. To get an exact answer we would need to run a DNA test on each dog which is not possible, not only due to cost, but time constraints. Dogs would spend at least an extra 6 months at the shelter waiting on results.

Do you have any pure bred animals?

Animal control does take owner surrenders, but the majority of the animals that make the adoption floor are strays. Being so, we simply don’t know. We can guess, but we will not promote something as pure bred if we did not hear so from a previous owner or breeder, and even then we still more than likely will not say so.

Do you have any hypoallergenic dogs?

There is a common misconception that specific breeds of animals are hypoallergenic. You can mix two dogs and hope for the best, but there is no guarantee that the best qualities and traits of both of those breeds will come through. There are breeds that tend to have less dander, which is what often causes allergic reactions, but again there is no guarantee. Even hairless pets can cause allergy issues.

Is he/she a pocket pittie/micro pittie?

No. Simply put, those are not breeds. What people consider to be a pocket pittie or micro pittie are mixed breeds, bred to be muscular, short and stocky. This leads to the animal potentially having more medical issues than its average sized counterpart. Bully breeds already have skin issues, overbreeding them increases these but also causes breathing, heart, muscular and skeletal structure issues. This is not something that we recommend and not terms we will use.

Cat Questions:

Do you have any Siamese or Maine Coons?

There are many color points for domestic short hairs. Just because a cat has coloring similar to a Siamese does not mean it is, this is why we list them as Domestic Short Hair and leave it at that. All tabby cats have an M on their forehead in some variation, this is not a telltale sign of a Maine Coon. Maine Coon are large cats, not common like Domestic Longhair and the likelihood of one coming into the shelter as a stray is extremely rare.

Do you have any pure bred animals?

Animal control does take owner surrenders, but the majority of the animals that make the adoption floor are strays. Being so, we simply don’t know. We can guess, but we will not advertise something is pure bred if we did not hear from a previous owner, and even then we still more than likely will not say so.

Do you have any hypoallergenic cats?

There is a common misconception that specific breeds of animals are hypoallergenic. You can mix two cat breeds and hope for the best, but there is no guarantee that the best qualities and traits of both of those breeds will come through. Even hairless cats can cause allergy issues.


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