Two animal control officials suspended

Published: Jul. 24, 2018 at 11:35 PM EDT
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Ingham County Animal Control's top two administrators are going to be taking some time off.

Shelter Director John Dinon, and Deputy Director Anne Burns are now on paid leave after a vote by the Ingham County Board of Commissioners

After more than an hour of public comments regarding concerns about the care of the animals at the county shelter, those sticking up for the leadership there and a lengthy discussion among the commissioners, a quick vote was made.

It's a story News 10 broke last month. News 10's Alani Letang has been following it for us and was there as Tuesday's resolution was handed down

"Commissioner Banas, yes, Commissioner Celentino, yes, Commissioner Crenshaw, yes, Commissioner Grebner no....thank you madame chair I conduct it did pass," said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum as she tallied up the votes for the resolution to suspend with pay Dinon and Burns.

10 yes's to a vote, that didn't come easy. Several commissioners saying the situation at the Ingham County Animal Control is an issue that calls for an immediate action.

"this is a crisis, the crisis is we are presuming that animals starved to death in our shelter. This is a crisis, we cannot have this, and I think the action of paid administrative leave or a suspension is appropriate until we get this investigation cleared up," said Deb Nolan, Ingham County Commissioner.

The support was felt in the public crowd Tuesday night. Jamie Hillman, with the "Save The Lansing Michigan Pitbulls" took the stand crying after the resolution was passed.

She has been working as an advocate for the dogs seized in the large fighting ring bust last summer in Lansing.

"So this is justice for these dogs, that died from not eating when they knew what was going on...this is finally justice. And I am more than thrilled that the commissioners saw this as an emergency and stepped in and took action," said Jamie Hillman, Founder, Save The Lansing Michigan Pitbulls

But not every commissioner was rooting for Tuesday's suspension. Commissioner Mark Grebner says the decision comes too fast

"We haven't really looked into this as a board, so the board shouldn't have adopted a resolution basically removing him from his position. But I don't like to remove him before a hearing unless it's an actual emergency," said Mark Grebner, Ingham County Commissioner.

Grebner said he doesn't doubt the shelter has real problems, but he wouldn't classify them as an emergency that would call for an immediate removal

"Well that's the question this is an emergency that's been going on for months and months and the question is if he were left in control for three more days or five more days, would something terrible happen? I don't think anyone expects a new terrible thing will happen in the next five days. Which would be protected by having someone on a temporary basis fill in for him. You might have more problems if you had a temporary fill in," said Grebner.

The County Controller, Timonty Dolehanty, told the board they do have a plan in place if the resolution did pass Tuesday.

Letang also a chance to catch up with Dinon after the meeting, he told her he is not allowed to comment and said he would let Letang know when he can

Dolehanty told News 10 his internal investigation will be completed this Friday

We will stay on top of this story for you.