Animals advocates react to abuse reports

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INGHAM CO., Mich. (WILX) - Monday we told you about a Michigan Humane Society investigation into Ingham County Animal Control and how they cared for dogs in their shelter after a large fighting ring bust summer 2017.

Since that story aired, the calls, the emails, and posts on our social media pages have been unbelievable. "The dogs came in looking healthy and left in skin and bones," said Chelsea VanCamp, Coalition Member, Save The Lansing Michigan Pit Bulls.

"The animal control officers, from what I read, did everything they could and if the director and the upper management did not help the ACO's they are negligent," said Jamie Hillman, Founder, Save The Lansing Michigan Pit Bulls.

Outrage, and hurt, don't even begin to describe how many feel after our News 10 investigation into the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.

"It makes me angry, especially as an Ingham County resident and someone who pays taxes, we're basically paying them to neglect and abuse these animals," said VanCamp.

The founder of the local group "Save The Lansing Michigan Pitbulls," Jamie Hillman, said there was no excuse for what happened.

"you have to be able to take care of the animals you take in or you reach out for help," said Hillman.

The group was formed in August 2017 after more than four dozen dogs were seized from a dog-fighting ring in Lansing.

Their mission at the time was to protect all dogs from euthanasia, but after these reports of neglect and abuse, the group is now calling for action against the shelter. "To allow that to happen they should be terminated if there are no records what happened to the other dogs that were not investigated? Did they also starve and turn out emaciated and put to sleep? We don't know. We worked so hard to save them from euthanasia they got killed anyways," said Hillman.

Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon told Letang in a previous interview that a lot of dogs coming to the shelter all at once was a lot for his staff to handle, but said he feels they didn't do anything wrong and that he stands by the decisions his staff made.

The local group members said they don't buy that. "It's not a good enough excuse," said VanCamp.

Hillman added, "well they should've had a plan in place for a big dogfight bust, these things can happen anyway."

Dinon has implemented a list of items that he would like to change within the shelter amid the Michigan Humane Society's investigation. Hillman stated it's already too late.

"I saw his letter that he sent out, you can't implement 15 items right away, you should've had this beforehand. He's been here three years, he's had plenty of time these things that needed to be changed. So did Anne burns, she is his deputy. You have two full-time people what's going on, are you sitting in your office? Come on folks," said Hillman.

Hillman said no excuse is good enough because she told News 10 she knows first-hand fighting dogs can have a chance. When she was 10 years old living in South Florida, she adopted a fighting dog after it had been seized. "It just changed when you have a loving home, it's a lot different," said Hillman.

Hillman has a message for the leadership team at Ingham County Animal Control. "My message is you should've down your job, obviously you did not do your weren't listening to your ACO's, you were not listening to doctors you were not doing your job and going and checking on these animals," said Hillman.

The group wants accountability, especially after seeing our stack of reports.

Hillman told Letang, "the amount of documents you brought in, the stack is this big it's appalling, its not something that should've gone on. I'm glad you're bringing this to light, everybody needs to know what's going on nobody wants their dog to end up in the hands of people that let these dogs just wither away to nothing, it's unacceptable. And they need to be terminated or put in their resignation."

The county controller would not do an interview with us but did send out a press release that said they are conducting an internal investigation. The Board of Commissioners also would not comment.

News 10 will continue to investigate this.