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Kimberly Sedgwick Centennial Honors College Account Technician

Tabi Jozwick

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A love of animals has led Kimberly Sedgwick, account technician of the Centennial Honors College, to be one of the founding members of the Humane Society of McDonough County.

“When I got here, there was not even an animal shelter to speak of; it was just a shack,” Sedgwick said. “A small group of us got together and we raised the funds for the building that is out there now and to educate the people not to dump the animals because they starve, they get hit by a car and everything and just to have a better knowledge of how to take care of them.”

Sedgwick said she believes that education is key for people to take better care of their pets.

“The animal population suffers because people keep bringing unwanted puppies and kittens into the world, and therefore, the animal shelters are constantly full,” Sedgwick said. “We try to educate the kids of the future, and also we’re trying to implement laws that are more conducive to animals that are tied up outside. I think, now, that McDonough County finally passed a law where the animals outside can only be tied up for a certain amount of time and they must have appropriate shelter.”

Sedgwick said the Humane Society of McDonough County would report to state agencies about suspected puppy mills in McDonough County and the state agencies would do their investigations.

“There have been many times we have reported animal abuse or animal neglect,” Sedgwick said. “We tried to encourage people to adopt not shop, because in a lot of pet stores, purebreds come from puppy mills all over the United States and probably some of them come from this area as well.”

Sedgwick recommended people who wanted to purchase a puppy to go check out the breeder before making a purchase.

“If the place won’t let them come see it, it’s highly suspect that it’s a puppy mill,” Sedgwick said. “It may not be hundreds of dogs; it could be 20 dogs in crates constantly being pregnant for litters, and that’s inhumane. It may be in their garage or whatever, but there is no way for people to really know unless somebody blows a whistle on them, so we encourage everybody to check it out thoroughly before they pay high dollar for a pet because it could be a puppy mill.”

Sedgwick said that buying puppies from stores doesn’t stop the puppy mills.

“In reality, it encourages it,” Sedgwick said. “It feeds the fire and it helps the puppy mill to continue. You may think, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to save this puppy,’ but in reality, it snowballs and keeps the puppy mill going.”

Sedgwick said her experiences seeing real puppy mills aren’t pretty and she advises people to be careful when choosing where they get their dogs.

“It was in the surrounding area of Macomb here, out in the country,” Sedgwick said. “We were appalled because there were syringes and the place was filthy. There were flies, syringes because they are probably still giving them antibiotics or some sort of medical treatment, but it was disgusting. It was terrible and all of the dogs were covered in fleas, emaciated and they were in their own feces. It’s all around us in secretive areas, so you would have to be really careful.”

Not only did Sedgwick educate the people of McDonough County about their pets, she also gave homeless pets their forever homes.

“All of them have been rescues, my whole life,” Sedgwick said. “They have turned out to be the best dogs and cats. Unfortunately, most of them have passed on at old ages. I have one right now, a black lab named Lucy Ellie, so I am kind of taking a break at the moment.”

Sedgwick said she has had a positive outcome on the pets of McDonough County. “I think that in the last 30 years in this county, we have really improved people’s outlook on how to treat their animals due to our education that we have done,” Sedgwick said.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Faculty Spotlight