Grand Traverse County fired Animal Control Officer, Deb Zerafa today. In a nine-page corrective action form, they accuse her of inaccuracies in her mileage logs, submitting inaccurate time records and engaging in conduct that didn’t meet 4th amendment requirements even though Zerafa is a certified legal assistant and has a major in Pre-Law.
The county accused her of being “dishonest and deceitful several times” during her employment, including falsifying time and milage records and using the county vehicle for personal use.
The firing comes on the heels of Deb Zerafa passionately advocating at county commissioners meetings to address issues that need to be fixed the Animal Control Division, filing an age discrimination grievance when she wasn’t hired as the Animal Control Supervisor, doing several FOIAs to get information from the county, and also informing HR of her hostile working environment. Four days after notifying the county of her hostile working environment, she was put on leave. The correction action form clearly shows substantial effort and time was involved in collecting information on Zerafa’s entire career with the county and that it was started approximately a month after Animal Control Supervisor Jaime Croel was hired. Continue reading
More pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time all year. The scary sounds of fireworks, visitors coming in and out of the house the the Air Show with the Navy’s Blue Angels, can all be very scary things for our pets. Dogs will cower, hide and shake – and dart out of the door if not watched. Outside dogs can easily take off because of the noise and stress of the new events happening around them.
Animal advocate Suzanne Weiler came up with a schedule so that Grand Traverse County residents can be informed about which days the Traverse City events related to the Cherry Festival and the 4th of July will be happening: Continue reading
Grand Traverse County recently approved a memo of understanding regarding the contract between Cherryland Humane Society (CHS) and the county. The memo came about because CHS had concerns relating to individuals who surrendered dogs or claimed impounded dogs as part of animal control’s investigations into stray, neglected or abused dogs. Some of these interactions were creating an unpleasant and confrontational environment for the CHS staff. Both sides met to mitigate those negative encounters and drafted a memo. The changes make Grand Traverse County Animal Control the entity responsible for collecting fees and releasing animals at the shelter instead of CHS staff.
With the new policy, pet owners who have had their dogs impounded by animal control because they were at large will be contacted by Grand Traverse County Animal Control if the dog has ID. Pet owners are to call the office on Lafranier Road prior to reclaiming their dog from CHS. Continue reading
Sometimes it’s hard to find what you need – even with Google. Pet Friends Magazine updated the Resource Link with a list of animal welfare groups, companies that can rescue cats stuck in trees, dog parks, K9 units, lost & found Facebook pages, animal sanctuaries and more. Check it out to see what’s around you and maybe you have missed out on knowing about! Click here to check it out.
Nestled back on Hoosier Valley road in Traverse City is a tranquil farm appropriately named “PEACE Ranch.” At first glance, it resembles a regular farm; horses, outbuildings, and gardens. However, it is so much more than that. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Jackie Kaschel, executive director, and learn about PEACE Ranch, one of Impact 100 TC’s 2017 grant recipients. Click here for the rest of the story.
More than 10,000 voters from across the state weighed in on 101 things they love about Northern Michigan. Their votes determined 303 Red Hot Best winners and 700+ honorable mentions. Here you’ll find the best animal adoption shelters and nonprofits in Northern Michigan (and maybe your new furry friend)! Click here for the rest of the story.
photo credit: Deb Zerafa FB Page
From Up North Live: A northern Michigan animal control officer has been put on paid administrative leave. Deb Zerafa has worked as an animal control officer for Grand Traverse County for years. According to the interim county administrator, Zerafa is on paid administrative pending an investigation regarding her work. It is unknown at this time what sparked the investigation.
A Michigan man is asking for help in locating his missing emotional support dog. Brandon Shultz’s dog ‘Ash’, went missing three weeks ago and now he may be in survival mode. Ash is a 6-year-old, brown Boxer mix without a tail and has short fur. Ash is wearing a collar and is also microchipped.
Ash was last seen in the Benzonia area in Benzie County, someone reported to Brandon that they spotted Ash running near the Betsie River with possibly a black dog. Click here for the rest of the story.
The Grand Traverse county commissioners voted to move the Animal Control Division back to the Keystone Road location in Traverse City, home of the old animal control headquarters. There has been no decision on whether animal control will kennel the dogs in the future instead of Cherryland Humane Society (CHS), however the phones, computer, trucks, staff and other needed animal control items will be transferred to the Keystone location and upgrades will be made to the building.
This relocation will help facilitate the change in policy in a recent memo of understanding between the county and CHS regarding the surrendering and reclaiming of dogs at CHS. Pet Friends Magazine will post an article in the near future that outlines the agreement that makes Grand Traverse County responsible for collecting fees and releasing the animals instead of CHS staff. Dog owners will have to meet animal control officers at their current location on Lafranier Road before they are allowed to go to CHS to collect or surrender a dog.
No date was given on when the relocation of the animal control headquarters to Keystone Rd. will happen but the commissioners voted to move ahead with the plan. The building currently houses items for the Commission on Aging. The estimate for re-purposing the building was reported to be approximately $15,000 in structural needs (new kennel doors, new sink enclosure, painting, fixture upgrades, drywall repairs, bathroom upgrades, septic tank cleaning, etc.). Interim Co-Administrator and Undersheriff Nate Alger pointed out that savings could be found from the initial IT estimate for internet access by using an air card or hot spot.