"Animals for Research" Policy Up for Vote

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For Judy Dyannik, and her dog Packy, the issue's as much about animals with homes as anything else.

"The purpose of the shelter, that's funded by our tax dollars, is to reunite owners with a pet if a pet gets lost," Dyannik says.

She and her organization Volunteers Against Pound Seizure argue Jackson County's policy of selling dogs and cats to dealers who sell them for medical research means pets end up at risk.

"We've already had one dog, a dog named Conan, who was sold to research and killed before his people could get him back," Dyannik says.

To date, in 2006, the Jackson County animal control shelter sold one dog and 18 cats to so-called Class B dealers. They've netted $70 in exchange.

"We try to do anything within our power to find them a place where they have more time," Director Kimberlee Luce says. She says that sale is a last resort, after a minimum five days in the runs, just before they'd put the animals to sleep.

She says she doesn't know who Conan is, but if some mistake was made, they'd go rescue the pet themselves.

The 12 person board of commissioners is split on the issue, some over the policy itself, but others are concerned the controversy is what's bad for the county.

Commissioner Greg Wilson says, "I really feel there is a lot of benefit to people for this research."

Commissioner DeAnn Gumbert argues, "In its day, it was a good thing; but there's no financial gain, it's tying up phone lines, and it's time to move on to more important issues."