Animal control officers would be required to report child abuse under proposed bill

A proposed bill would require all animal control officers to report suspected child abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS).

Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) introduced the legislation.

Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon ias been in the animal control business for quite sometime. Dinon came from Ohio where reporting cases of possible child abuse is already part of the job.

While it may not be law in Michigan, it's a standard in Ingham County.

"We have very strong relationships with child protective services, adult protective services, and community mental health," said Dinon. "We want to know when they see animal cruelty and they want to know when we see family violence or mental health issues."

Responding to over 1,000 calls a year, on a monthly basis Dinon says animal control officers are in touch with CPS.

They often people that'll abuse their pets will often abuse family members as well.

"We can get into places sometimes child protective services can't get in," said Dinon. "If we get a complaint about animal cruelty, we investigate where they need to meet certain criteria."

"Usually we're the first ones to visit chaotic and disorganized households where there may be neglect or there may be deliberate abuse going on," said Dinon.

The bill would go into effect 90 days after it being signed into law.

Ingham County Animal Control is working on a program for those in abusive situations to provide a safe place for their pets as well.