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Director Dinon's claims don't add up

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Posted at 9:08 AM, Jul 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-16 09:08:14-04

A tense and heated room Thursday night at the Ingham County Law and Courts Committee meeting.

Concerned residents, spoke out about multiple investigations into Ingham County Animal Control after the bust of a dog fighting ring last year in Lansing.

Animal Control Director John Dinon was given a chance to answer questions and explain himself.

FOX 47's Alani Letang was at that meeting.

She's been working this story for a few weeks, with dozens of medical records, testimony from several shelter volunteers and hundreds of emails from people involved in the care of the dogs in question.

Letang interviewed director Dinon a few weeks ago, but several of his claims at last night's meeting didn't add up.

"Skully, Jonah, and BeBe were the three dogs who became thin. I wanted it noted that emaciated has a clinical definition of having lost 50% of their body weight or more. None of the dogs were ever emaciated, "said John Dinon, Director, Ingham Co. Animal Control & Shelter.

Dinon was talking about three of those dogs. His explanation very different than that of a licensed veterinarian. Dr. Joyce Heidman of Southside Animal Hospital wrote in her medical report for Jonah-- "this dog is extremely emaciated and due to muscle loss appears to have been this way for a while." The reports also indicated that "this dog's skin and coat suggest the dog has not been cared for."

Dinon went on to say that he did evaluations of the dogs on March 10th.

"And none of us noticed that the dogs were thin. Those dogs were not thin or we would've noticed that," said Dinon.

However, in a complain form FOX 47 obtained Animal Control officer Caitlin Budzinski clearly states back on February 12, 2018, that the dogs "appeared skinny/underweight." Almost two weeks later on February 26, 2018, another report- dogs "still appeared very skinny."

And when Dinon explained to the committee why they lost so much weight.

Dinon explained that "they were sent to outside vets on March 26th and 27th. A little over two weeks later they had lost appreciable weight, but they declined very quickly due to this whipworm infestation. And it's not only whipworm, it's that animals in an animal shelter are under stress, they're in an unfamiliar environment."

However, reports from Dr. Heidman said whipworm would not cause this level of emaciation

Dinon talked about Dreamvil, who was euthanized in September 2017. A shelter veterinarian and Dinon said the dog became too hard to handle to get an x-ray. The Humane Society report stated Dreamvil resulted in unnecessary suffering and an x-ray would have helped to decide treatment.

Dinon's response in the meeting, "knowing what I know now with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I wish we would've euthanized the dog earlier and I don't disagree with the Michigan Humane report that the dog suffered and I'm an animal lover and I have to live with that. When I see that picture of him its hurtful to me that I was partially responsible for that."

However in an interview, Letang had with Dinon several weeks ago, she was given a different answer.

"the x-ray would've been too much on the dog because it's saying that maybe the outlook would've been different," Letang said. Dinon responded, "I disagree, taking him to do the x-ray we would've been difficult. It would've confirmed what we already believe."

And when concerns came up about outside vets and what medical history they had on the dogs the committee questioned Dinon on protocol.