The county is reworking the animal shelter and its operation

Posted: June 17, 2022

The modifications mirror greatest practices in animal welfare and public security

Grand Rapids, Mich. (June 14, 2022) Kent County will quickly be reworking its animal shelter and animal welfare actions. On July 1, the animal shelter will transfer out of the Kent County Division of Well being and will likely be constructed as a separate county division below its direct administration. On the similar time, animal welfare operations will likely be transferred to a specifically skilled crew designated for this function by the Kent County Sheriff’s Workplace.

“Greatest animal welfare and animal management practices are the highest priorities for Kent County in restructuring these operations,” mentioned Al County County Administrator Al Vanderberg. “We consulted with consultants on the topic and members of the group and performed intensive analysis on county-level animal shelters and animal welfare operations earlier than proposing these modifications. These choices are data-driven and mirror nationwide greatest practices in animal welfare and public security. ”

Kent County Animal Management

Animal welfare duties are transferred to the sheriff’s workplace as a result of these operations largely carry out legislation enforcement duties. The crew is led by licensed legislation enforcement officers, together with a lieutenant within the KCSO Enforcement Division and two Sergeants within the Enforcement Division, who oversee day-to-day operations and personnel. Workers will embody a civilian animal welfare inspector and civilian particular deputies, who will already be supported by the sheriff’s workplace to tell the group, liaise with the media and practice.

At its June 9 assembly, the Kent County Board of Commissioners unanimously authorised the suggestions of the Legislative and Human Assets Committee and the Monetary and Bodily Assets Committee to determine and fund the Sheriff’s Workplace’s three full-time animal welfare unit supervisors.

“KCSO officers have been working with Kent County Animal Welfare officers for years to answer calls and perform legislation enforcement points of those operations,” mentioned Michelle LaJoye-Younger, Kent County Sheriff. “With these modifications, animal welfare operations are being led by sworn legislation enforcement officers who’ve been skilled to supervise and defend due course of in quickly evolving authorized and civil legislation circumstances.”

Whereas animal management officers will likely be civilian and shouldn’t have the facility to arrest, deputies to the licensed sheriff within the animal management unit are entitled to arrest if there may be purpose to consider {that a} crime has been dedicated.

To organize for these modifications, the Sheriff’s Workplace is growing a brand new Kent County Animal Management Ordinance that can substitute the Kent County Division of Animal Well being’s laws, which have been on the books for greater than 20 years. From July 1, the brand new ordinance will apply in all places within the county the place native metropolis, township, or municipal ordinances will not be but in impact. Present native ordinances substitute the Kent County Animal Welfare Ordinance.

How and when to contact the animal welfare group

If a Kent County resident encounters an animal emergency — an animal assaults an individual or a pet is in imminent hazard — name 911. In any other case, residents ought to name the Kent County Sheriff’s Division at (616) 632-7310 in the event that they encounter a stray canine, report a chunk, or suspect animal torture or neglect.

Kent County Animal Shelter

With the restructuring introduced right this moment, Kent County Animal Shelter will proceed to be primarily accountable for the care, shelter and feeding of misplaced and deserted animals in Kent County. The change in reporting on to the administration will enable the Kent County Division of Well being to focus solely on human well being.

“Our mission has not modified. We proceed to position nice emphasis on reuniting pets with their households and discovering a secure and loving new house for the animals when wanted, ”mentioned Angela Hollinshead, director of the Kent County Animal Shelter. “We respect the assistance that many group leaders and animal welfare companies have offered to help this mission and the animals we look after over the previous few years. We sit up for working with these leaders and organizations to formalize and enhance group help within the coming months. ”

Following the transformation, the county authorities and the animal shelter are exploring the potential for establishing a basis and a “group of associates” to extend monetary and voluntary help for the shelter.

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