Concerns over Ingham Co. Animal Control procedures

Posted at 8:19 AM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 08:19:57-04

New development in a story we broke here on news ten several weeks ago.

The Ingham County Animal Control Advisory Board met Monday night and talked with shelter director John Dinon about a critical report from the Michigan Humane Society.

That report involved five dogs, four of who were from a dog fighting bust in Lansing last summer.  Conclusions of that report found there were several mishaps within Ingham County Animal Control.  They included a lack of medical records and a lack of communication, among many other things.

Several people on the advisory board stressed concerns over the care of those dogs in the Michigan Humane Society's investigation, the communication within the department and also the new standard operation of procedures the shelter has been working on since the conclusion of that investigation.

FOX 47's Alani Letang was the only reporter at Monday's meeting.

"Again I just feel like this document, doesn't give me any level of warmth, or comfort that it's going to fix the problem," said Beth Contreras, Ingham County Animal Control Advisory Committee Member.

Contreras was not easily convinced with Dinon's new plan of attack, especially the procedure that would include monitoring the weight and health of court hold animals.  After reading emails between the vet and the staff outlining the specifics of weighing, Contreras said the procedure falls flat.

"It seems to me those are the kind of details that need to be included in the SOP, no? If I was an employee looking at this, it's pretty vague," said Contreras.  Dinon responded, "I don't think it's vague. I think it says the animals will be weighed twice weekly by animal care staff. I guess we can say three and four days apart."

Contreras said the procedure for de-worming on intake and more frequent fecal testing is also not specific enough.  Again, she looked back on emails between Animal Control Officer Caitlin Budzinski and Deputy Director Anne Burns from April 10th, 2018.

Budzinski states in her email that one dog, Skully, was not given a second round of treatment for whipworm even though she tested positive.

"I'm just looking at this as these are all things that would happen again if you're just following this SOP. I'm just trying to point out what can be done to not repeat in the future because what this SOP says is not what's happening, or is not what is happening in these cases," said Contreras.

And when Dinon was asked who's responsible for dog's medication, and who should look at the charts, he admits documentation is an area that needs more attention at the shelter.

"Those are the sort of things I could see that could fall right through the cracks again," said Contreras.
"And I think what we are finding out through this is we are good at taking care of animals, we are not that great at documenting it. We need to get a lot better at documenting it and following up on it," said Dinon.

Dinon told the committee there were really no procedures in place to address these issues, and the department has a long way to go for improvement.

Dinon's plan of attack is not just kept to himself before it's finished.

"So staff signed off an all of these SOP's?" asked Commissioner Bryan Crenshaw.  "Staff doesn't approve of every word that goes into them. Staff gives input, we prepare them we send them to the controller's office and appropriate unions. Now we are going to send them to legal counsel" Dinon answered.