Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Michigan Shelters that Sell to Research

The state of Michigan allows shelters to sell homeless pets to Class B Research Dealers and research institutions. Sadly, stray dogs and cats are available for purchase just 5 days after they arrive at the shelter, 10 days if they have identification.

Three of the fifteen federally licensed Class B Dealers are located in Michigan. Fred and Jan Hodgins, Howell, operate Hodgins Kennel. James Woudenberg in Howard City operates R & R Research and Mary Ulrich owns Cherri Hill Kennels in Stanwood.

It is difficult to determine exactly which shelters sell strays to research. An undercover investigation by FOX 2 Detroit TV caught an animal control officer lying, claiming that the shelter did not sell live animals to Class B Dealers. The TV station had video of Hodgins Kennels employees taking live dogs out the back door of the shelter. When Ingham County Animal Control sold to research dealers, dogs and cats where sold to dealers even though there were adoptive families offering forever homes. (Ingham
County Animal Control no longer sells to research.)

Why would shelter staff lie about selling pets to research? Investigators thought that staff took bribes. However, after working on this issue for years they now believe that it is most likely staff is hiding sales to keep the public uninformed. The staff recognizes that once the public becomes informed the public will vehemently object.

The following shelters DO sell to Class B Dealers:

Gratiot County Animal Control Shelter
Mecosta County Animal Control Shelter
Eaton County Animal Control
Montcalm County Animal Control Shelter
Osceola County Animal Control Shelter

Sadly, none of these counties actively tries to find homes for dogs or cats. Either the staff is clueless or just plain lazy. Killing strays or shipping them to research is their only answer to the homeless pet problem. Finding a decent forever home or rescue group is not an option. Tax dollars wasted on inept and cruel employees. Year after year the same poor results, no reduction in the number of animals killed by the staff or shipped to research. If these shelters were a public for profit business, they would have closed years ago. When will the residents of these counties demand that their employees actually perform? When will the residents of these counties actually become informed?

How can you help?
If you have friends or family living in any of the counties that sell to research, let them know what is going on. Write the county commissioners in each county. Let them know that you object to selling pets to research and that you will not travel to their county until the practice stops. Here is the contact information for each of the county commissions:

Gratiot County
Mecosta County
Montcalm County
Eaton County
Osceola County

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