GENESEE COUNTY — It has caused a purr at times but also plenty of barking, and rarely silence this past year. It is the Genesee County Animal Control Center controversy.
The protest was enough to bring the shelter’s apparent need for increased revenue on the upcoming ballot, as a proposal for county-wide resident consideration.
The fervent animal activists in the area have voiced through peaceful protest, sharp social commentary, and candidate directed questioning their belief the animals in the county are not being treated in a humane manner. Over the past six months of media frenzy regarding the matter, the millage addition to the ballot seemed a new necessity, to end all the frantic confusion, allegations, and see how the majority feels about the cause.
One local vocal activist cites the county animal shelter as “the worst in the state.”
This is according to Richard Angelo, a local attorney and founder of G.R.A.C.E. (Genesee Residents for Animal Control Evolution) who is concerned with health standards not being met.
Angelo said he is not an animal activist who seeks to attack in any manner a shelter doing their best work or what is required by law.
He has expressed great celebration of shelters in Midland and Huron County he feels exemplify the ideal or met-standard level of shelter cleanliness, worker competence, and needed criteria.
“I would send my dog to the Humane Center of Huron Valley. You could eat off the floor there,” he said of the atmosphere he hopes is mimicked soon in Genesee County.
He and many of his fellow activists offer free help, food for shelters, and aid for families with pets.
Word is that Angelo is opposed to the passing of the proposal, as he is more concerned with the personally deemed poor decisions and actions in regards to the treatment of the animals, of which money is in his opinion, not the heart of the issue; nor the solution to the problem.
The Genesee County Millage for the Genesee County Animal Control Center on the Nov. 4 ballot involves a seven-year period from Jan. 1 2014- Dec. 31. 2020 for taxes supporting the modernization and operations of the current Animal Control Shelter. This would be fulfilled by taxes imposed on all taxable property with an additional millage of 0.2 (twenty cents on each $1,000 deductible.)
Animal Control Director Stephanie Lazar has been reported as saying the passing of the millage would double their staff, ease the influx of problems tending to the enormous increase in pets in need due to the economic status of residents, and make staff available beyond first shift.
The shelter currently cannot afford second or third shift employees, nor on-call ones to tend to concerns, additional matters of safety, and rampant criminal activity with the use of dogs for fighting or securing the homes of drug dealers.
Currently, the shelter employs eight staff members. Within the county there are many animals neglected, owners who cannot afford to take care of them or house them, and many out and about dangerous to community members, or sick and abandoned.
The estimated increase in shelter revenue should the proposal pass would be around $1.7 million for the first year.