Bill would allow cremation of roadkill

Adriana Colindres

Getting rid of roadkill can be a pungent problem for some Illinois communities, but legislation moving through the General Assembly aims to stop the stink.

If Senate Bill 2157 eventually becomes law, communities and counties that operate facilities to cremate dead dogs and cats also could cremate roadkill, such as skunks, squirrels and opossums.

Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria, sponsored the legislation at the request of the city of Peoria, which operates an animal crematorium near Glen Oak Park. But the measure also would apply to other communities.

The Senate voted 54-0 for the bill on Tuesday. It advances to the House of Representatives. To become law, it must pass there and be signed by the governor.

At present, the Peoria animal crematorium’s state permit authorizes it to dispose only of "companion animals" such as dogs and cats, said Lauren Malmberg, director of the Peoria Animal Welfare Shelter.

If the shelter must dispose of other types of creatures, such as opossums, those carcasses wind up in a landfill.

"We prefer mass cremation," she said. "You don’t have rotting carcasses in the landfill. You don’t have the chance for disease to be carried by the wildlife that roots through that."

"It’s just much cleaner this way, and at no cost to anyone," she added.

There isn’t a large amount of roadkill in Peoria, but vehicles sometimes hit raccoons and opossums, Risinger said. Dealing with the carcasses is a legitimate problem, though the issue also has a humorous side, he said.

"Whenever you have that, they get bloated in the summertime and it really is kind of stinky. It’s a stinky bill," he said, laughing.

Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292 or