The Jackson County Commission in Michigan earned the wrath of animal rights activists when it voted in late August to continue its practice of selling unclaimed pound animals to class B dealers as well as directly to the University of Michigan and Michigan State University for research purposes.
Commissioners Jim Videto had moved to have the county’s Animal Control Manager draft a policy to ban the sale of animals to class B dealers or directly to research institutions. According to the minutes of the meeting,
Moved by Videto supported by Lacinski to Move to Direct the Animal Control Manager to Draft a Policy to Prohibit Sales of Live Animals to Class B Dealers. Brittain asked how many people in the audience were from Leoni 1,2,3, & 4. Brittain stated that he never received one call from his constituents against the sale of animals, but he did receive 3 calls from people in support of the sale of animals to class B dealers. Mahoney supports MSU and feels there is a distinction between legitimate research, not experimentation. Elwell is in favor of selling animals, but it should be restricted. Day stated that he was here 14 years ago facing this same issue and voted against banning selling animals for research. If it werenÂ’t for the pig valve in his heart, he probably wouldnÂ’t be here now. Wilson thanked the audience for their participation in this emotional issue. He voiced concern that by stopping the sale we may be putting someoneÂ’s life in jeopardy. ItÂ’s up to the Board to separate facts from emotions. Wilson will be supporting ElwellÂ’s alternate motion. Lacinski supports VidetoÂ’s motion to prohibit the selling of live animals to class B dealers. Berkemeier said that he appreciated everyone being here tonight, but that there are many people involved with animals that have no objection to the sale of animals for research. The Board hears from people everywhere, not just here. He tried to review all of the information and found that 40%-80% of the animals at the shelter are either taken there by the owner, or abandon. Berkemeier will be supporting ElwellÂ’s alternate motion and believes in tracking the animals that are being sold to hospitals and medical facilities.
The commission then voted on the measure which failed 9-3. Supporters of the policy of selling unclaimed animals to class B dealers or research facilities then proposed that the Director of Animal Control draft a policy dealing with the sale of live animals which would continue to allow such sales but require class B dealers to document to whom the animals are eventually sold,
Moved by Elwell supported by Wilson to Direct the Director of Animal Control, with the assistance of the County Administrator, to develop a policy and agreement that deals with the sale of live animals.
Agreement shall be signed by Hodgins Kennels, or any other class Â“BÂ” dealer that we sell live animals to. Said agreement shall specifically list who they can sell live animals to that came from Jackson County Animal Control. The list of such facilities may be added to (or limited), only by approval of County Agencies.
Said agreement shall contain the requirement that monthly reports be provided to the Jackson County Animal Control that clearly details which specific animals are going where, and it be in a manner that allows further tracking after the research facility is done with the animal. Jackson County Animal Control shall specify the format for said report.
All tags on dogs when they come in to Jackson County Animal Control hall remain with the dog at all times, including when a dog passes from the class Â”BÂ” dealer to an approved facility. The above noted report shall also note what tags are on the dogs.
Jackson County Animal Control shall maintain said records in a manner that is easily tracked. Copies of the records shall be available under FOIA, with a report submitted to County Agencies six months after implementation of this plan.
Commissioners shall be allowed unannounced visits to class Â“BÂ” dealers Jackson County sells animals to. Such visits shall be allowed during the week, during daytime hours.
Adoptions of animals are encouraged, as are transfers to facilities such as the Cascade Humane Society.
Direct sales of live animals to specific research facilities such as Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, and other such facilities as designated in this policy, shall be continued, where it is desired by the facilities and by Jackson County.
This motion passed 11-1. Commissioner Robert Lacinski, who voted for the ban, was the lone commissioner who voted against drafting a new policy dealing with the sale of live animals.
According to the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, although is legal for animal shelters to sell animals to research facilities in Michigan, 75 other Michigan counties ban the practice. Jackson County has been allowed the selling of animals to research facilities for the last 35 years.
County does not ban sale of strays. Brian Wheeler, The Jackson Citizen Patriot, August 25, 2004.
Archaic Michigan Commissioners Vote to Sell Strays for Vivisection. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, August 2004.