Working to restore trust at ICACS

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WSYM) - The leadership torch has been passed off at the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.

We first told you about the new acting director Sergeant Andy Deanzer earlier this week.

FOX 47's Alani Letang sat down with him to discuss his plans to move forward.

It's been largely described as a black stain on the community, Sergeant Daenzer's goal is to bring back some of the morale to the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter that might've been lost. He said he plans to instill teamwork.

"Throughout my career at the sheriff's office teamwork has been a number one thing for me, and that's one of the things I'm going to focus on is getting the different dept. within the animal control to work together better, And I've had a lot of success with that in my 15 years at the Sheriff's office and I think I can bring that here," said Sgt. Andy Daenzer-Acting Director, Ingham Co. Animal Control & Shelter.

Sergeant Andy Daenzer has served as a member of the (SRT) Special Response Team for 10 years, a canine handler for 7 years, a road patrol sergeant for 4 years and is currently the canine team supervisor.  Day to day, Daenzer's will be trading in his sheriff duties for furry friendly tasks,

"Day-to-day, I'm really responsible for the law enforcement end of this, but I'm working hand and hand with Kate just learning the day to day operations of the kennel, I'm trying to get as involved as I can, checking on each and every one employee and get to know everyone," said Sgt. Daenzer.

Daenzer has replaced interim director Kate Turner, who now serves as the acting deputy director as well as her previous duties as the community service and outreach manager.  Turner said she appreciates having Sgt. Daenzer's expertise at the shelter. And being there since 2010 Turner has some of her own things to bring to the table. "A long-standing experience with the shelter itself, and knowing the staff and knowing everyone's strengths and how to work together to what we know it can be for the community," said Kater Turner, Acting Deputy, Ingham CO. Animal Control & Shelter

Juggling both, she told Letang, is only possible because of shelter staff.

18:42:41 "we are taking on a lot of the roles that both director and deputy shared and we are playing to both of our strengths and making sure that we are covering all the based we can, and we have a great support staff as well for anything that I wasn't able to handle as well on top of my regular duties we are using that support staff to the fullest extent," said Turner.

Former director John Dinon was terminated from his position on July 31, 2108, after allegations of abuse, neglect and even starvation came to light after a large dog-fighting ring bust in Lansing summer 2017.

Dinon told Letang in an interview in June that it was a busy time of the year.

After over a month of county commissioners meetings, facts surfaced that not enough help was asked for when it should've been.

A county controller's investigation found the shelter veterinarian, Dr. Karen Worthington, said the shelter was too short-staffed during the time of the 2017 seizure.

Sgt. Daenzer tells me he is making sure procedures are in place before large fighting ring bust happen.

Daenzer said, "My plan as an interim is to start pulling policies and procedures from other shelters and bringing that into ours and the hope is that we will actually have a starting point for the new director to come in for them to work on policies and procedures, the reasoning being is that a long-term probably six month process, which is beyond what they are planning on for an interim director."

Some feedback Turner said she's gotten from staff: "a lot of just checking to see where the shelter is going to go next, if there's any big change on the horizon and just making sure everyone is ready to put a fresh face on and be ready to serve the public." The public, that's always needed at the shelter. Turner said she has an active volunteer program but is always looking for more.

Turner said, "but we are always looking for foster families, this is a very very busy time of year for us, and our population of animals is quite high. So we are always looking for volunteer families if you're interested in having a pet, even temporarily in your home until they're able to be adopted we definitely appreciate that kind of support."

Although it's not sure when a permanent role will come in, staff are looking for more openness and to be in the loop on things.  "I know they're looking forward to hopefully having a lot of transparency with all of the staff and management and knowing the shelter is doing the things they want to support," Turner told Letang.

The shelter will continue with all planned community services, outreach events, and adoption programs. And they encourage to stop by and visit the animals when they're open.

Sgt. Daenzer has served as a member of the (SRT) Special Response Team for 10 years, a canine handler for 7 years, a road patrol Sergeant for 4 years and is currently the canine team supervisor.