Dog advocates want another suspension

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INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WILX) - The Ingham County Controllers office tells News 10 the investigation into the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter (ICACS) will be completed by the end of the day Friday.

That report will not be made public until the Board of Commissioners can act on it. Meantime the shelters two top leaders have been suspended over allegations of dogs being neglected under their watch.

But many say the suspensions are not enough.

Many people are calling for the suspension or resignation of ICACS veterinarian Karen Worthington. Several of them told the Board of Commissioners the doctor is equally responsible for the deteriorated condition of a handful of dogs.

"How come there isn't a motion to suspend the veterinarian?" said Rick Flynn.
"And I believe she should not only be fired but should lose her license to practice," said an Okemos resident and former volunteer.
"She is negligent and abusive as well," Connie Kapugia Coalition Advocates for Reform of ICACS.

Many residents, volunteer, and former staff, all questioning, wondering why the spotlight isn't brighter on the person they say is trusted to medically care for these animals., Dr. Karen Worthington,

Worthington has been with the shelter since 2013 but has been practicing for 31 years.

It was mentioned multiple times why one dog, Dreamvil, was not given an X-ray when the dog was presumed to have swallowed a toy.

"I understand they think it would be difficult but that's there jobs, the ACO's are phenomenal they are trained for that, and they are willing to transport no matter what," said Donna Roy, a resident of Ingham Co.

Dinon said that he had many conversations with Dr. Worthington about Dreamvil, and he admits there was not adequate documentation of the dog's care.
Over and over again, he's told News 10's Alani Letang and the commissioners that both he and Dr. Worthington decided that Dreamvil was too hard to handle for an X-ray.
Dinon even said it to volunteers in a closed meeting several weeks ago. News 10 has a recording of that meeting.

"He had to come out of the kennel on a snare, he was an aggressive dog, he would've had to be snared, created taken to another vet, snared taken out X-rayed, or maintained under sedation from here to there and back. And that would've been very challenging. Now the second piece of that was the information we would've gotten from an X-ray would've been to confirm whether or not he had a foreign body, we thought he did. If it confirmed he did the two option are conservative treatment or surgery. Dr. Worthington and I talked again and this dog was not a candidate for surgery," said John Dinon, Director ICACS.

That "aggressive" behavior as he states, was very different from what staff saw in Dreamvil's last days.
Sources inside the shelter gave News 10's Alani Letang a video of the dog barely able to stand, and struggling to walk.

A necropsy report shows that Dreamvil had rope segments in his body, but the cause of death was emaciation. Not an intestinal blockage that they believed it to be.
Dinon told the ICACS Advisory Board that, "the theory that we were operating under, which guided the care, was that he had a partial foreign body obstruction."
"But in reality, he starved to death?" asked Beth Contrares, advisory member.
"I guess it depends which vet you ask," said Dinon.

So the question many say they are still wondering is why didn't the licensed veterinarian on staff step in and do something. To not just Dreamvil but to all animal in the county's care that have been documented in poor condition.

Dr. Worthington should've gone above their head, she is a medical professional this is her job," said Jamie Hillman, Founder, Save the Lansing Michigan Pitbulls.

Letang has reached out to Dr. Worhtington for a comment, we will let you know when we hear back.

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners is holding a special meeting on July 31st. They could act on the controller's investigation at the meeting.

We will let you know what happens.