Traverse City Film Festival Offers Up Some Dog Movies

The Traverse City Film Festival 2016 starts on Tuesday, July 26 and this year’s offerings have some movies that will interest pet lovers in our area!

photo credit:

photo credit:

The Champions
Saturday, July 30th at 3 pm
Sunday, July 31st at 9 am

In 2007, Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick was convicted of running a vicious and illegal dogfighting ring. After serving jail time, Vick was able to return home to lucrative endorsements and a continued NFL career—but whatever happened to the 50+ deadly pit bulls he left behind? “The Champions” tells the amazing, little-known story of the people who stepped in to try and spare the abused canines from almost certain death. Determined to give the surviving dogs a chance at a happy life, this group of animal lovers risked everything to prove that even the most “dangerous” of dogs could live in harmony with humans, and surprised themselves by being transformed through the process. This heartfelt story about four-legged stars who were bred for violence, and then were offered a second chance through love, is glorious proof that you absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks. In Person: Director Darcy Dennett; Subjects Francis Battista, Paul and Melissa Fiaccone, and Rescue Dog Cherry! You can read more about the documentary here.

You can buy tickets to this film here. Continue reading

Grand Traverse County Primary Challengers to the Commissioners Speak Up About Animal Control

At the end of 2015, the Grand Traverse County Commissioners voted to eliminate the Animal Control Division from the Health Department and two Animal Control Officers were laid off. The incumbent Commissioners involved in this vote were Christine Maxbauer, Alisa Kroupa, Dan Lathrop, Ron Clous, Carol Crawford, Bob Johnson, and Sonny Wheelock Jr.. Some of these candidates have no primary challengers on August 2nd nor do they face opposition to their candidacy in November.

pug in commission room

The current Commissioners who have primary challengers in the upcoming August 2nd election were contacted along with their opponents for statements on what happened in the past, the current state of affairs and their opinions on the future of the Animal Control Division. Below are the statements of those candidates who chose to respond about the issue and a listing of those who didn’t.

COMMISSIONER – District 1 (Republicans)

Dan Lathrop – no response

Ross Childs

What do you think about how the Animal Control issue was handled, surprising the public and eliminating the Animal Control Officers and most of the Division’s services without any public input?

The transfer of the Animal Control operation was faulty from the beginning. It was done with little forethought and without any discussion with the parties involved. Animal Control was part of the Sheriff’s operation when I arrived in 1975. It was primarily used as a disciplinary action for deputies who had not performed well.

The Deputy was assigned to Animal Control for a period of time, the deputy did not appreciate the assignment, and neither did the animals or their owners. There was a complete lack of understanding what the rights of the Sheriff were with regards to the transfer.

Do you agree with the County’s current idea of only funding the Animal Control Division with current revenue (i.e. licensing fees) and not adding any addition funding to staff the division with two Animal Control Officers as it was in the past?

I believe that the primary funding for the operation should be license fees, and this should be subject to public input and analysis of the ability to pay. I also do not believe the operation requires 2 fully trained officers with coverage 7 days per week.

In 2015, two full-time Animal Control Officers responded to 636 calls. What do you think the County should do if one full-time or two part-time officers can not handle the number of calls the Animal Control Division gets?

My position would be that 1 full time or 2 part time officers would not provide the level of service desired. More important is the is the requirement for proper training and hiring individuals who have care and feeling for animals, and have good skills in dealing with the public.

Do you have any ideas on how you’d like the Animal Control Division to move forward in the future?

I believe that the Animal Control belongs under the Health Department, works closely with the Cherryland Humane Society, local veterinarians and local law enforcement agencies.

Do you support forming an Animal Control Advisory Committee made up of qualified community members?

A local Advisory Committee could be considered with composition to include representation from veterinarians, law enforcement, Cherryland Humane Society, and local concerned animal activist groups.

COMMISSIONER – District 3 (Republicans)

Alisa Kroupa – no response

Cheryl Gore Follett
When asked about what transpired in December of 2015 with the defunding of the Animal Control Division, Follett responded, “The County Commissioner’s initial response of moving animal control to law enforcement was obviously not well thought out. They reversed the decision several months after implementing it. Law enforcement is too busy protecting life and property to also take on the task of responding to issues involving animals.

However, animals, be they pets or animals in nature, need to be protected.  A county animal control officer needs to be available 24/7 to respond to safety issues involving animals.  As a pet lover I would be devastated if something happened to my dog and there was no one to respond to my concern because it was a Friday night. Finding the right funding model needs to be explored. There may be some natural partnerships within the community that would support this endeavor. I think most citizens would agree that our pets need to be protected.” Continue reading

August 2nd Primary Elections Will Have Important Significance to Wexford County Pet Owners

Raine, is an adoptable cat at the Wexford County Animal Shelter

Raine, is an adoptable cat at the Wexford County Animal Shelter

Animal Control Departments and most Animal Shelters are government run by counties or cities. This means that the Commissioners and Sheriff have a big impact on the policies of the shelters and how many animals are saved or euthanized. The residents of Wexford County learned this in January of 2013 when allegations were raised about the misconduct of Animal Control Officers at the Animal Shelter and a subsequent Whistleblower lawsuit was file – and recently renewed in June.

In addition to voting for a new Sheriff and Commissioners, Wexford County will have an Animal Control Millage Renewal on the August 2nd ballot. In 2012, Wexford County voted for an Animal Control millage to fund their county Animal Shelter. It was a four-year millage request and asked for approximately $185,000 out of a $235,000 budget. In August, the voters will be asked to renew this millage for another four years. Continue reading

20th Anniversary of the Northport Dog Parade Coming Soon


The 20th Anniversary Northport Dog Parade will soon be here. This year’s theme is “Bark Wars” and the proceeds will benefit Black Sheep Crossing, Cherryland Humane Society and Silver Muzzle Cottage. Pre-registration is $5 per dog and can be done at Dog Ears Books, Pennington Collection or Tucker’s of Northport. Registration on the day of the parade is $10 per dog. Parade Day is Saturday, August 13th. Judging is from 9:30 am to 10:45 am at Mill Pond and the parade is at 11 am. Awards/prizes will be after the parade at Marina Park.

Previous K-9 Handler Challenges Appointed Kalkaska County Sheriff in Primary Election

The Kalkaska County Animal Shelter is run by the Sheriff’s Department which means they make the decisions how the department is staffed and operated.

Current Sheriff Patrick Whiteford was appointed to be Sheriff after Sheriff Abe DeVol passed away in November of 2015. He was born and raised in East Jordan and has been a member of the Kalkaska County Sheriff Department since 1999. He was the Undersheriff under DeVol. Whiteford did not respond to questions about the Animal Control Department and any future plans to make improvements.

Sheriff candidate John West

Sheriff candidate John West

Whiteford’s primary challenger on August 2nd is John West. West is a Clearwater Township resident. In addition to being in the Coast Guard and being a Police Officer for 13 years, West was a K-9 Handler, Trainer and Instructor. He was awarded K-9 Handler of the Year by Wisconsin K-9 Handler Association; won several Wisconsin K-9 Handler Association Awards; and he was a previous Board Member with Wisconsin Law Enforcement K-9 Handlers Association.

When West was asked about his thoughts on Kalkaska County’s Animal Control Department and any future improvement he might make, he responded, “First and foremost I am a animal lover, always have been always will be. I was a police dog handler for 9 years, my partner was just that a partner! I wouldve done whatever it would take to protect him as much as he would to protect me. To answer your first question

I have personally faced some issues with the Kalkaska Sheriffs Department regarding a dog that was being abused. It was literally skin and bone when I called the Sheriff Department. I was told they didn’t have a squad available to investigate! That is wrong I know sometimes the Department is busy but it is still an animal in need, and animal control was not available. So yes I absolutely will make changes that I have the authority to do if elected! No animal should suffer anymore if the Sheriffs Department is aware of the issue! Morally that is right thing to do!” Continue reading

Cat Hoarding Situation with More Than 100 Cats Leads to Request for Community’s Help

black kittens

A good samaritan reached out to animal rescue group Shelly Olree’s Shelter after she became concerned about the welfare of her neighbor’s 100+ cats at a Wexford County home. With the help of AC PAW, the rescue groups was able to pull about 28 of the sickest cats on their first visit, including Peanut. Poor little Peanut had to be humanely euthanized because she was so sick but they are hoping to save as many of the others as they can and save more of the cats. They pulled 14 more on Saturday the 23rd. Continue reading

Grand Traverse County Animal Control Plans to Hire Two Part-Time Animal Control Employees

animal contro article

Grand Traverse County plans to post two part-time positions for the Animal Control Division. The first will be an Animal Control Officer and the second will be a temporary Animal Control Specialist position. The temporary position is expected to be utilized during times of higher call-volume.

Jennifer DeHaan, Deputy County Administrator, says, “We expect that the positions will be able to provide services after-normal business hours, which historically had never been available and we see as a service enhancement. In the past, as you know, if the call was after 5PM, the caller would have to wait until the next day or multiple days if the call was on a weekend or Holiday for assistance.”

The positions will be funded through the current dog-license fees for 2016. They do not anticipate any increase to the 2016 fees, but as they evaluate the need for services going into 2017, they may request an increase to those fees for 2017. 

Thursday Fursday Spotlights Hard to Adopt Pets


Ms. Michigan State America Jessica Mason Froehlich appears every Thursday on 104.5 BobFM at 8:15 am with Finster to profile an adoptable animal from the Cherryland Humane Society and talk about rescue events and volunteer opportunities. Froehlich profiles hard to adopt animals like seniors, Pit Bulls and animals who are older or overweight. Their profile and picture also appears on her Facebook page here. Continue reading

Michigan Animal Legislative Update

From HSUS Michigan

Michigan puppy mills: HB 4898 to license and regulate large-scale dog breeding facilities, sponsored by Rep. Mike McCready with co-sponsors Reps. Kurt Heise, Harvey Santana, Christine Greig, Klint Kesto, Ken Yonker, Ed Canfield, John Kivela, Gary Glenn, Mike Callton, Al Psholka, and Earl Poleski, passed the House on March 2, 2016 by a vote of 83 to 20 and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Michigan gas chamber ban: SB 403, “Grant’s Bill” to require the use of the more humane and economical euthanasia by injection in Michigan shelters, sponsored by Sen. Marty Knollenberg with co-sponsors Rick Jones, Ken Horn, Tonya Schuitmaker, John Proos, Curtis Hertel, Jr., Jim Marleau, and Steve Bieda, has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee, now awaiting a vote in the full Senate!  While there are currently NO operating carbon monoxide gas chambers operating in Michigan animal shelters, there is nothing stopping a shelter from using gas to kill its animals at any time. The Michigan legislature must pass SB 403 to prohibit any further use of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas on shelter pets from now on.

Dog adoption: HB 4765 to allow the adoption of dogs seized from fighting cases in Michigan, sponsored by Rep. Mike McCready with co-sponsors Klint Kesto, Michael Webber, Joseph Graves, Ben Glardon, Gary Glenn, Jason Sheppard, Al Pscholka, Ed McBroom, Harvey Santana, and Kurt Heise, has passed the House Criminal Justice Committee and now awaits a vote on the House floor before moving to the Senate.

Cherryland Humane Society Takes in Dogs From Downstate Hoarding Case

An animal control office in southwest Michigan recently rescued more than 100 dogs in a hoarding case. Some have been brought to shelters in Northern Michigan. 9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Harrison Light show us how the Cherryland Humane Society in Grand Traverse County is lending a helping hand. Last week Cherryland Humane Society got a call from an animal control office downstate. They pulled more than 100 dogs from one home and needed help. Click here for the rest of the story.

Isabella County Veterinarian, Dr. Pol, Cleared of Any Misconduct

An Isabella County veterinarian is now cleared of any misconduct after someone complained about the way he saved an animal’s life. Jan Pol has a TV show on Nat Geo WILD called “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” It’s filmed at his clinic near Mount Pleasant. Click here for the rest of the story.

Michigan Legislators Considering Lossening the Leash on Pets at Cafes

Should dogs be allowed at Traverse City’s outdoor restaurant patios? Though restaurants are not allowed to admit pets (other than service animals), that could change if a bill co-sponsored by TC’s State Senator Wayne Schmidt passes the legislature. The bill would allow local units of government the flexibility to allow dogs at outdoor patios. If approved by the authorities, the final decision would still rest with individual restaurant owners. That’s a key, according to Schmidt. Click here for the rest of the story.


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