No charges in animal shelter case

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INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WILX) - They're walking away penalty free. A special prosecutor will not file criminal charges against the former leaders at the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.

And that decision is not sitting well with some animal rights advocates.

News 10's Alani Letang broke this story in July.

Animal advocates who've followed this case since the large dogfighting ring bust in Lansing last year were encouraged at first. That feeling changed dramatically Wednesday.

I'm very disappointed in this," said Jamie Hillman, Founder of Save the Lansing Michigan Pitbulls.

The Animal Advocates who pleaded for new leadership was happy when former animal control director John Dinon was fired
but Wednesday they're furious over the lack of criminal charges.

Hillman said, "if you or I or any regular citizen would've done even half of what happened, we would be charged and probably in jail."

Shiawassee County prosecutor Deanna Finnegan made the decision after reading reports from the Michigan Humane Society, the Ingham County controller, and Mason Police. She determined the dogs were never deprived of food, water or care.

Hillman told Letang she's confused how that conclusion was drawn.

"Dreamvil, with the undercover video, showed he could not walk but the vet and Dinon said that he was too aggressive to have an X-ray. The two puppies Jonah and Skully they were cleared starved," Hillman said.

A Michigan Humane Society report found one dog suffered needlessly because shelter staff waited too long to euthanize him.

Finnegan said that delay wasn't criminal, reform advocates disagree.

"That rises to the level of criminal neglect," said Christy Lawrence, Advocates for Reform at the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.

"Failing to properly obtain, proper medical treatment for an animal is abuse and is cruel," said Connie Kapugia, Advocates for Reform at the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.

Although disappointed, advocates said, "we have to move forward, I think Jodi who is top notch and will put the shelter in the right direction," said Hillman.

Letang called the former director John Dinon. He told her he's not surprised both he and former deputy director Anne Burns are not being charged. And then he hung up on Letang.

Jodi LeBombard is scheduled to start as the new director on October 15th. LeBombard was voted in by the county commissioners last week.