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Jackson County without animal control

Posted at 9:03 AM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 09:32:13-04

The Cascades Humane Society says Jackson County is one of the few counties in the state of Michigan that doesn't have an animal control unit.

And many people are not happy about it. FOX 47's Alani Letang discussed the issue with workers at the shelter today.

The county has been without a designated animal control unit for years, giving the job to the sheriff's office. Which people in Jackson tell me that's not enough.

"It puts a lot of pressure on Jackson County Animal Shelter on Cascades Humane Society, and on the police officers who are called in daily to help with these issues," said Heather Leszczynski, Executive Director at Cascade Humane Society.

Heather Leszcynski is the executive director of the Cascades Humane Society in Jackson, a non-profit organization that relies heavily on volunteers and donations. 

When the county got rid of the animal control, people started to rely on them and the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

Heather said she's rooting for the county to bring back animal control because cascades aren't able to help like they'd want to.

"Sending someone out as much as we want to help at people's homes and/or to pick up a stray, it's just not possible for us. That's not our realm of jurisdiction and we're not capable of doing that," said Heather.

The realm of jurisdiction that was able to do that was cut by budget funding, according to a city commissioner.

"I can understand budget cuts and not being able to have them, but we are one of if not the only county in Michigan that does not have animal control," said Heather.

A county commissioner told Letang that they had to make the choice between keeping deputies on the street or having animal control. And even Heather can agree, that could be a tough decision to make.

"When that bottom line is drawn, a human is a human and these are pets and police have to make those choices every day," said Heather.

The county commissioner told us that Jackson County is not completely without animal control. The county has passed the torch to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. Heather said she tried to train police officers as the unit was diminishing, but it can't replace the real thing.

She said, "having skilled professionals able to answer those calls would be so helpful for the community, that way it takes some pressure of police officers who really need to prioritize human issues."

Heather said that this brutally cold winter season is where she really saw a need for animal control.
And coming up this summer, she thinks people will be just as worried about animals getting water, food, and shelter.

The county will be discussing ways to bring back animal control in a meeting Tuesday at 7 P.M.