BREAKING: County report Animal Control “dysfunctional”

FILE PHOTO: Ingham County Animal Control Director John DInon discusses plans for a new animal shelter building earlier this year.

A report to be released tonight at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners’ special meeting has found a dysfunctional animal control staff.

The report was obtained by Lansing’s Online News this afternoon and won’t be released publicly until the 6:00 p.m. meeting of the Commission. That meeting will be held to discuss the report’s findings as well as to determine if any additional action needs to be taken against ICAC Director John Dinon and Deputy Director Anne Burns. The two were suspended with pay last week by the Commission over allegations of improper care at the county’s facility.

“Nearly all persons interviewed for this report acknowledged deep organizational dysfunction at ICAC,” the reports concluding section begins. “One Animal Care employee described all divisions as separate operations that do not function as a team. Burns cited “territorial infighting” between Animal Care employees and Animal Control Officers as mostly personality clashes.”

The conclusion of the report goes on to note that staff complained both Dinon and Burns did not respond to identified problems. The report also found staff desired and needed additional training, a responsibility of the Burns. However, the report found she had assigned that to the county’s vet, but had not followed up. That vet also stated she believed the county facility was not properly staffed to handle the influx of dogs seized in the dog fighting case. That was denied by Dinon.

An outside vet, employed on occasion by the department told County Controller Timothy Dolehanty, who authored the report, that there seemed to be a “disconnect” between the Dinon and Burns. The report also shows an email exchange where Dinon ordered an animal control officer to stop weighing animals she had seized, but several days later, Burns rescinded that order and directed the officer to begin weighing the animals again.

The controversy arises out of allegations of neglect involving dogs seized in 2017 during a dog fighting investigation. Two of the five dogs were euthanized after days of illness. The one of the euthanasias was delayed by days, according to the report, because Dinon wanted to give the animal every opportunity to survive.

Most of the 21 page report focuses on the medical reports related to the treatment of five specific dogs seized during a crackdown on a dog fighting ring in the area. Two of those dogs had to be euthanized. One was found to have had a blockage in the intestines, the other no final determination was made but MSU vets thought rat poisoning may have played a role. Subsequent testing of that animal did not find rat poison, and the county’s vet believes the dog suffered an aneurysm.

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