With no current Animal Control Officers in Grand Traverse County to pick up stray dogs, many residents of the county are very worried that the dogs will pay the price for this lack of service. Wintertime is about the worse time of the year for stray dog pick-up to be discontinued because if strays are not picked up, in addition to the hazards of cars, other animals, lack of food and human cruelty, these dogs have to contend with bad weather conditions. In 2015, the Animal Control Officers responded to 242 calls on loose dogs. Now, somehow, those dogs are going to have to rely on good samaritans to get them to the Cherryland Humane Society (CHS) – or learn how to drive a car.
The current contract for CHS to board the County’s stray dogs is still in effect – but the County has made it the community’s responsibility to get a stray dog to the animal shelter after getting rid of the County’s two Animal Control Officers. However, not everyone is able to do this. What if a person who is able to catch a stray dog has no transportation? What if they work nights and sleep during the day? What if they have to work during the hours that CHS is open? What if they are allergic to dogs or have other issues which keep them from keeping the dog overnight or through the weekend until CHS opens their doors?
That’s where the Grand Traverse Found Dog Transport Facebook group comes in. In the past few weeks, concerned dog lovers have been discussing how to help these dogs get to safety and be reunited with their owners by making sure they get to CHS. Jess Hoedemann, longtime animal rescuer and co-founder of Frisco & Joey’s Mission decided to start this group, and is coordinating the effort to help the stray dogs of Grand Traverse County.
This Facebook Group is a place where people who find stray dogs and need help getting them to CHS can ask the community for assistance. People who are interested in helping transport stray dogs can join the page and offer their help if a situation is posted that they can help with. Transporters should remember to get all of the relevant information when they pick up the dog including where the dog was found and when – and also get the contact information of the person who found the dog. It is also a good idea to transport the dog in a crate if possible and not loose in a vehicle.
This community intervention was created because the County is not adhering to its Animal Control Ordinance which says that the Health Department is responsible for the enforcement of the Animal Control ordinance which includes Section 202 that says “the animal control agency shall capture, accept and confine unlicensed dogs, stray dogs, unwanted, abandoned and abused dogs.” While the County is ignoring their own Animal Control ordinance, they are, at the same time, asserting that the City of Traverse City needs to enforce their own existing Animal Control ordinance.
In the meantime, two Animal Control trucks sit idle in the parking lot of the Health Department because a strategic plan was not developed before Animal Control services were drastically cut to Grand Traverse County, leaving stray dogs to fend for themselves.