June 30, 2017
For Immediate Release
Meet Madison County’s new Animal Control Director
EDWARDSVILLE — Ryan Jacob knew by the time he was in second grade what he wanted to do when he grew up — and he did it.
“When I was 7-years-old I dressed up as a veterinarian for Halloween,” Jacob said. “I always had a love for animals and wanted to take care of them. “
Jacob is Madison County’s’ newest director of animal control. The County Board approved his appointment on June 21, replacing Dr. Michael Firsching who resigned in May.
“I’m excited to be starting with the county,” Jacob said.
The Belleville West High School graduate attended McKendree College where he earned a bachelor of science in biology in 2003. He then went on to graduate from St. George’s University of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada in 2008 after finishing his clinical year at the University of Missouri.
As a student he worked as a volunteer for a rescue group as well as assisted at a local animal hospital. His first job after becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine was at Banfield, The Pet Hospital in Glen Carbon.
After six years he left and went to work at Horseshoe Lake Animal Hospital in Collinsville, where he met the county’s former director of animal control, Dr. David Hall, who became a mentor.
“Before accepting this position I picked Dr. Hall’s brain,” Jacob said.
Jacob said he is committed to providing the best medicine for dogs and cats brought into animal control. He said he knows he will be working with animal rescue groups and is up to the task.
“I’m used to working with rescue groups since I’ve been at Horseshoe,” he said. “The rescues are passionate about saving the animals they bring in and some of my most memorable cases are working with them.”
Jacob said last year he helped treat a cat shot with an arrow. The metal spear was removed during emergency surgery.
He said working with the rescues he’s seen other cases of harm caused to animals, but that the shooting of an arrow was a first.
“(The cat’s) prognosis wasn’t good at first, but he pulled through,” he said.
Jacob said treating and saving animals is what he enjoys doing.
One of Jacob’s specialties is treating exotic pets, more specifically small pocket pets, such as Guinea pigs and rabbits. He’s also learning small animal orthopedics, which allows him to treat injury and disease of the musculoskeletal system.
Prior to starting at Horseshoe, Jacob said he had no experience in orthopedics. He said he was lucky enough to learn from one of the veterinarians prior to his retirement and he is continuing to advance is in the field.
“Horseshoe is a great place because they do invest in continuing education of the veterinarians at the hospital,” Jacob said.
He said there has never been a time in his life he can remember not being around animals.
“My grandparents had a farm and they had ponies,” he said.
Jacob said the second grade is also when he got his first dog, Holly — a wire hair fox terrier.
“It was my birthday, which also on Christmas,” he said. “She was a pretty good gift for me. Since Holly there has never been a time in my life that I haven’t had a dog.”
Jacob and his wife, Michelle, have an 18-month-old son, Max, as well as two dogs — Norman, a boxer, and Tahlia, a hound mix.