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Animal advocates speak out about animal shelter investigation ahead of Tuesday's meeting

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) - The fate of two high ranking officials who work at the Ingham County Animal Shelter could be decided on Tuesday night as investigations into potential wrong-doing continue.

Two weeks ago, members of the Ingham County Law and Courts Committee voted to request a suspension of both the Animal Control Director and Deputy Director with pay, until the end of the investigation at the county animal shelter.

That request was made to the Ingham County Controller who is just one group conducting an investigation.

But since then, no suspension has happened and now the decision lies in the hands of the entire board of commissioners.

6 News sat down with animal advocates today to hear what they are hoping happens at Tuesday’s meeting.

The co-founders of the coalition "Advocates for Reform at the Ingham County Animal Shelter" say they hope the board of commissioner’s votes to remove Animal Control Director John Dinon, Deputy Director Anne Burns and they even hope for the removal of veterinarian Dr. Karen Worthington.

“They have failed to take care of those animals in a proper manner, they have caused death and they have caused harm to animals,” said Connie Kapugia.

“It is horrific...the atrocities that have taken place at that shelter, the public will no longer stand for it,” Christy Lawrence stated.

Kapugia and Lawrence, Co-founders of the group "Advocates for Reform at the Ingham County Animal Shelter" say they're fed up with the leadership at the county animal shelter after a report found dogs seized in a dog-fighting ring suffered from neglect.

“We can't stop, if we stop and allow them to continue...I do not see improvement at that shelter until we have been able to remove the problem and the problem right now lies with being Dinon, Burns and Dr. Worthington,” Kapugia stated.

“There were deaths, starvation...how can this go on at our county animal shelter?! We hope, well the public thinks that just because an animal goes into the shelter and they're going to be ok and be taken care of...at least fed, watered, medicated which it's clear that so many of these dogs that went in there were not even medicated, not watered, not fed,” Lawrence added.

But two weeks ago during the Law and Courts Committee meeting, members of the board expressed concerns over who would take over the positions if Dinon and Burns were suspended or permanently removed.

Lawrence and Kapugia say there's an easy solution.

“There is no excuse, we have qualified individuals, even at the shelter that can just step right in and take over and do an amazing job,” Lawrence said.

“I know that shelter can run very well if you were to place a qualified, even an interim qualified Animal Control Officer which has been done in the past to lead in that shelter,” Kapugia stated.

6 News reached out to Dinon for reaction today, but he says he's unable to comment.

We also reached out to the Ingham County Controller and he says the investigation should wrap up within the next week.

Tuesday's board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in Mason. We'll be sure to keep up you updated on what happens.


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