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!”

He was also asked if he would be open to working more cooperatively with the NorthWoods Animal Coalition, who has been turned down in the past when offering their help to raise money for the shelter and network its cats and dogs. West said, “Why in world would someone turn down an offer to help OUR animals in need! I don’t need to say anymore there is a lot of good people willing to help lets all work together for the animals benefit.”

He added, “Animal Control is representative of the Sheriffs Department so therefore I would expect them to do their job with a level of professionalism and compassion.”


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