Grand Traverse County Hires Animal Control Officer

photo credit: Deb Zerafa FB page

photo credit: Deb Zerafa FB page

Grand Traverse County has announced a new hire to the Health Department Team. Deb Zerafa will be their new Animal Control Officer. Deb earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Madonna University with a major in Pre-Law and a minor in Physical Education. She also has a Certified Legal Assistant Degree through the American Bar Association.

Over the past 20 years, Deb has worked as a Legal Assistant/Office manager at Zerafa Law Office in Elk Rapids, MI. Deb received her approval from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) in September of this year, certifying that she met the 100 instructional hours as required under the Dog Law, Act 339 of 1919 to become an Animal Control Officer.

Her employment background also includes working as a Veterinarian Assistant, a Junior High & High School Track & Field Coach, substitute teaching in the TCAPS and Elk Rapids school systems, and the TC Central High School Equestrian Team Coordinator. In her spare time, Deb is an animal advocate and has eight (8) dogs and 3 cats from local rescue organizations.

Tom Mair, Challenger to GT Commissioner Christine Maxbauer, Discusses Animal Control Issue


2016 is the fifth time Green Party Candidate Tom Mair will challenge Christine Maxbauer to be County Commissioner for District 2 in Grand Traverse County, the first time being in 2008. Mair has steadily increased his supporters from 29.85% of the vote in 2008 to 44.48% in 2014. He lost to Maxbauer that year by only 421 votes. He received 1774 votes to her 2195.

The political climate of the past year, including Maxbauer’s OWI charge, could help him edge out the incumbent candidate this year with many voters upset about the recent changes since Tom Menzel became the new County Administrator and what that has meant to the County. One of those changes includes the loss of two full-time Animal Control Officers and the services they provided. The County is currently in the process of hiring two part-time Animal Control Employees which you can read about here.

The Animal Control Division remains in the Health Dept. after almost a year of discussions and Sheriff Bensley refusing to take it over, citing inadequate staff and resources. The County intends to pay for the two part-time Animal Control employees (one an Officer and one a Specialist) only using current fees, mostly the money that comes from dog licenses. There has been no public support from any Commissioners or Administrative staff about using any general funds or Health Department funds to bolster the Animal Control Division. Continue reading

Ask Your Representative to Support SB 239 to Stop Breed Discrimination in Michigan

from Best Friends – click here

photo credit: Make Michigan Next FB page

photo credit: Make Michigan Next FB page

We all want safe and humane communities for people and pets. Breed-discriminatory laws fail to enhance public safety, are a waste of tax dollars and interfere with the rights of responsible dog owners. They also go against the tenets of community policing. Because of myriad of problems with breed-discriminatory ordinances, Senator Dave Robertson introduced Senate Bill 239, which would stop this discriminatory practice by eliminating breed discrimination in cities and towns throughout Michigan.

SB 239 passed in the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is now awaiting a vote in the House Local Government Committee. Out-of-state opponents of SB 239 are spreading misinformation about this bill to our representatives. Their radical goal, of course, is the elimination of all pet dogs deemed to be “pit bulls.” But our goal is one of fairness and safety. Your representative and the chair of the Local Government Committee need to know that you support this important legislation, which would protect families and their pets in our state. Time is short to get this bill passed, so we need your voice today.

Politics is not a spectator sport, so please take action today by sending an email asking your elected representative in the House and the chair of House Local Government Committee to support SB 239. Placing phone calls to these leaders is also important. You can use our online tool to find your representative to contact by phone. Please spread the word, because the dogs are counting on you.

Copemish Man Sentenced to Jail After Leaving Puppy in Hot Car

A Copemish man, who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after leaving a ten-week-old puppy in his hot car, has been sentenced. Darrin Pickard was sentenced to 93 days in jail, a year of probation and can’t have any animals. Click here for the rest of the story.

Sadie the Dog Returned to Roscommon Home

A Northern Michigan dog that was taken away from her owner by animal control after it was injured has been returned home. It started when the Roscommon County prosecutor said the owner’s son ran over the dog’s paw with a go-kart in May. Roscommon County animal control said they warned Cindy Hodges about treating the dog multiple times before signing a warrant to take Sadie, the golden retriever, away and get her surgery. Click here for the rest of the story.

‘Wounded Warrior Dogs’ wins $200K Grand Prize in ArtPrize 2016 Public Vote

James Mellick’s “Wounded Warrior Dogs” captured the hearts of ArtPrize voters – and a $200,000 grand prize. The work, on display at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, is a series of six wood-carved dogs, all wounded or rehabilitated and representing wartime service. They circle a small coffin draped in an American flag.

“The dogs are intended to be symbolic of the sacrifice and exhibit the same wounds as their human companions in battle,” reads the artist’s statement. “The seventh dog, under the flag, made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Click here for the rest of the story.

Harbor Springs Dog in Shelter for 300 Days Finally Finds a Home


After being passed over for adoption for 305 days, watching his other dog friends leave the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society for new homes, 3-year-old Spot finally got his turn. Saturday, Oct. 1, was his long-awaited adoption day.

Deter Racine, executive director at the humane society, said Spot came as a transfer from a high-kill shelter. Humane society staff had no history on him, but quickly learned it would take a little more work to get Spot adopted. It turns out Spot was very particular about other dogs. He doesn’t like cats. Staff had to be clear with potential adopters that if he wasn’t kept in a fenced-in yard and away from cats or other small dogs, there might be a problem.

“It was sad because the easy-go-lucky dogs that would get along with Spot, they would be adopted,” Racine said. “There would be days he would be by himself (with no one to play with.)”

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Otsego County Animal Shelter Wins Award from Michigan Pet Fund Alliance


Michigan Pet Fund Alliance used the 2015 annual shelter reports that each licensed shelter is required to submit to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and performed calculations to determine each shelter’s performance in saving lives. The Otsego County Animal Shelter won one of the “Leading the Way Awards.”

On January 1, 1999, the Donald Reece Animal Shelter became the first municipal no kill shelter in Michigan. On May 11, 1999, Otsego County made this no kill “policy” an official resolution. The resolution was founded on the basis that Otsego County believed it to be in the best interest of the citizens to enhance the quality of life of dogs, cats and other companion animals. The County desired an effective, humane way of solving the homeless and unwanted pet problem and overpopulation. This resolution was also founded on the belief that ONLY those animals received in a condition of terminal illness or mortal injury that are beyond clinical redemption and/or animals that are deemed aggressive and/or dangerous and cannot be successfully rehabilitated with available resources should be humanely destroyed. Continue reading

Benzie County Sheriff’s Office K9 Program Temporarily Out of Service

The Benzie County Sheriff’s Office K9 program is temporarily out of service after their only K9 had to be taken out of service. K9 Dasty will no longer be in service due to medical reasons. The Sheriff’s Office K9 program will be out of service until they are able to raise the funds to purchase a new dog. If any of the deputies are in need of K9 services, the Sheriff’s Office will rely on mutual aid from surrounding counties. Click here for the rest of the story.

There is an upcoming K-9 Fundraiser on Wednesday, October 26th from 4 to 7 pm at the Greystone Mansion in Honor. It is a Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction. $10 adults; $7 kids ages 6-12 and $5 ages 3-6. Carry out available. To donate items or for more info. call Susan at 231-645-4021.

Grand Traverse County Getting Closer to Hiring Staff for Animal Control Division


According to Grand Traverse Deputy Administrator, Jennifer DeHaan, Grand Traverse County should have an Animal Control Officer and an Animal Control Specialist in the next few weeks.

When asked about the progress of these two positions, she said, “The County conducted two rounds of interviews with candidates for the position of Animal Control Officer and Animal Control Specialist. Consistent with the County’s practice, the Health Department staff and management conducted both rounds of interviews. Cherryland Humane Society was also involved in the first round of interviews which was comprised of eight candidates, which were then narrowed down to four candidates for the second interview panel. We are currently vetting two final candidates for the positions and reviewing the budget that is projected to be available in Fiscal Year 2017.”

She continued, “We will be making an offer to both of these candidates and will bring them on board as soon as they are available and complete background and reference checks. Vehicles and equipment are being inspected and made ready for use. We anticipate one (or both) will begin in the next few weeks and are arranging job shadowing with neighboring animal control officers. Strategic planning will also occur throughout the fall and winter to prioritize services needed by the public within the context of the current budget.”

photo credit: Nathan R. Yergle

Help Raise Money for the Animals During Shop Your Community Day November 12th in Traverse City


Shop Your Community Day is a yearly event in Traverse City to benefit non-profit organizations. For every purchase that residents make at participating stores, 15% of the sale will be donated to the non-profit organization of their choice. This year’s list of non-profit organizations which involve animals include: AC PAWCherryland Humane Society, For Animals, Peace Ranch, Wings of Wonder and the Northern Michigan Association of Western Horse Club.

Here is a flyer for the event which lists participating stores…


Wexford County Animal Control Officer Accused of Embezzlement


A Wexford County Animal Control employee accused of embezzling money could be going to jail. Court documents show Michelle Smith is charged with embezzlement by a public official of more than $50. Smith is accused of using county money to buy gas on 12 different occasions from March until June, spending about $20 to $50 every time. It’s a felony charge with a maximum sentence of 10 years, or a $5,000 fine.