Questions over care of dogs at shelter

Posted at 8:58 AM, Jul 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-03 08:58:02-04

Two weeks ago we told you about an investigation into the Ingham County Animal Control over the care of several dogs that were brought in after a dogfighting ring.

Monday night News 10's Alani Letang dug deeper into what led to that investigation.

News 10 has obtained hundreds of pages of emails, veterinarian medical reports, and documents that show how the investigation started, who is involved and what was found.

The documents show claims of abuse, neglect even starvation at the Ingham County Animal Control Shelter.

There were enough accusations and concerns that an investigator from the Michigan Humane Society was asked by the shelter to be brought in.

What we read was report after report of red flags and concerns in how certain dogs were being taken care at Ingham County Animal Control Shelter of after seizing more than 40 from a dog fighting ring in Lansing the summer of 2017. At the time of removal, an Ingham County animal control officer stated: "all dogs were of adequate weight and appeared in good health."

But that changed quickly according to those exclusive documents, including statements from animal control officers and staff when they were questioned by the Michigan Humane Society this March

The investigation was focused primarily on dogs who were seized in a major dogfighting ring in Lansing last year, 2017. There were also other dogs

"Since we're the agency that enforces the animal cruelty laws when there's an allegation of neglect against us we need to take it very seriously," said John Dinon, Ingham County Animal Control Director.
Dinon said they asked for the humane society to investigate after concerns and complaints about the animals care were brought their attention.

Dinon refused an interview regarding these documents but did speak to News 10’s Alani Letang a couple weeks ago. He said the shelter was overwhelmed with the number of dogs from the seizure.
"Basically last summer was a very busy summer handling a lot of difficult animals for a very long time," said Dinon.

But the complaints in the report weren't just that of too many dogs, not enough people. They show serious accusations of neglect and abuse.

Animal control officer Catilin Budzinski states on September 19th, 2017, about three months after the dogs were seized, reports of one dog, Dreamvil-- a black-haired pit bull, was very thin, believed to be consistently throwing up and having a possible obstruction.

After email exchanges with animal control staff and the shelter veterinarian Karen Worthington, reports stated: “Dr. Worthington would continue to monitor him.”
After just one week, Budzinski reported that she saw Dreamvil and that "he was emaciated. I was horrified that his condition was so poor."

She informed Director Dinon and Dr. Worthington of Dreamvil's severely deteriorated condition.

According to documents, Budzinski said when she talked to the staff who was in charge of feeding him some told her they were never told what Dreamvil’s feeding schedule was and others were not documenting it.

Director Dinon told Letang that he knows the shelter needs a better recording procedure.

"We are tightening up on our recording keeping, there was a lot of discussion about that dog that is not documented, the veterinarian and I talked many many times," said Dinon.

As far as that obstruction, Worthington stated that no X-ray would be done because “Dreamvil was not safe to handle.” And even if they did perform surgery, Dreamvil would not be safe for surgery aftercare due to what she felt was violent behavior, according to documents. Dinon agreed.