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County issues with animal shelter stay unresolved

March 28, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA - While it moved forward on several matters Wednesday, the Montmorency County Board of Commissioners did not resolve one of its main issues and has not come to an agreement with the Elk Country Animal Shelter for a 2012 contract.

"First, no dogs are being shot. We offered the shelter a $300 flat fee to handle strays and agreed to pay $900 per quarter, but we have not gotten a lot of cooperation," Commissioner Brock Baggett said.

County Prosecutor Terrie Case defended the commissioners' point of view on the issue and said the county does legally need to pay for seized animals, and agreed to pay the shelter a set amount for strays - $900 every quarter.

"The dispute is based on how much the county pays when animals are seized. Nobody is saying that dogs aren't valuable, I think the county is saying that we can't afford to financially support the shelter ," Case said.

Baggett agreed and said animals are getting taken care of, but when it comes down to the bill, an agreement needs to be met.

"We do not have to finance the animal shelter, it's not a county entity. The way they handle animals is wonderful, but not the way they are handling business," he said.

The commissioners agreed this is a problem and a county issue, and still are willing to move forward and continue a 2012 contract with the shelter. However, Baggett said that if a contract is not signed, the shelter will start losing funding.

Many residents spoke about the issue during public comment and addressed the board with concerns about how animals are being transported, the new sheriff department policy, and if strays are being picked up in the county.

In order to resolve any clarity issues, Sheriff Don Edwards answered a few questions about the sheriff's department policy.

"Since I've been sheriff, we have not shot a dog, period. We have not used any patrol cars to pick up animals, and presently strays are not being picked up. There's no place to take them. Nobody is picking up strays at this point," Edwards said.

However, shelter Executive Director Pauline Hancock said shelter workers have been picking up strays and hurt animals on their own time and taking them to Alpena.

"We have bills to pay too, and what we're asking from our county is not much," Hancock said.

Baggett said the commissioners want to be good citizens, but will require an agreement in writing to move forward on the issue.

In other business:

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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