May 2008
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Help Ban the Sale of Pets to Research Facilities in Michigan!

May 19, 2008

    In many other states, the practice of a research facility obtaining animals from shelters is banned. Now Michigan has the opportunity to also enact this ban statewide!

Bill Details

House Bill# 5263 (or Ban Pound Seizure) prohibits a research facility from obtaining dogs or cats from municipal animal control departments or animal shelters. But the bill, proposed in September 2007, is stalled in the state Regulatory Reform Committee and can die there if it remains stalled for two years without going to a house vote.

Under existing Michigan law, research facilities can purchase cats and dogs from a dealer, public dog pound, animal shelter, humane society or breeder of dogs and cats. Under the proposed legislation, however, things would change drastically. Research facilities could obtain dogs and cats only from breeders and dealers, and dealers could obtain animals for resale to research facilities only from breeders.

Impact

Aside from the fact that research can now be done in a more technically-savvy, ethical and scientifically sound manner without animals, it is often misleading to the public when relinquishing an animal to a shelter in Michigan. Many shelters are not disclosing to citizens that the animals they are dropping off may in fact go to a research facility.

And those of you keeping track of the events at the Montcalm County Animal Shelter/Control know how important it is to make this bill a law. Concerned citizens are struggling to end that facility’s relationship with Jim Woudenberg, a “Class B Dealer,” who obtains pets from the shelter and then sells them to research facilities for a hefty profit (see article below).

What You Can Do

Let’s get this bill un-stalled! Michigan’s innocent animals need your help! Below are the folks who have the most power to get this bill moving forward. Contact each and tell them you support House Bill # 5263 and want them to move it forward to a house vote!

House Speaker - Andy Dillon
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Phone (toll free): 888-737-3455
Email: andydillon@house.mi.gov

Representative Barbara Farrah
N0692 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Phone: 517-373-0845
Email: barbarafarrah@house.mi.gov

Representative Coleman A. Young II
S0588 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
Phone: 517-373-1008
Email: colemanayoungii@house.mi.gov


Lake Haven’s Founder Responds to Montcalm County Shelter Crisis

May 5, 2008

For those of you not aware of this grave situation right here in Michigan, please click on the links below to read two articles on this issue and then read the letter Lake Haven’s founder sent to the Montcalm County Commissioners.

Commission hears animal shelter complaints (Wood TV)
Dozens more complain about animal shelter (The Daily News)


Dear County Commissioner:

In light of the concerned citizens and negative publicity that has been bestowed upon the Montcalm County Animal Shelter/Control (and upon the county itself), you as a commissioner know how gravely important it is to make the right decision when it comes to changing county policy and the importance of empowering the new director of the Animal Shelter/Control to carry out humane actions. All of Michigan is now watching to make sure Montcalm takes charge and does what is right for the county—its citizens and its animals.

The critical issues concerning the shelter, as you know:
(1) The alliance it has made with Class-B animal dealer Jim Woudenberg, who personally profits from the sale of shelter animals to research,
(2) The inhumane and antiquated way animals are euthanized for “free” by Mr. Woudenberg, and
(3) The exorbitant amount of animals that are either sold to research or euthanized instead of being adopted.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Class B dog and cat dealers are brokers who acquire animals from a variety of sources—including ‘pounds,’ flea markets, and newspaper ads—and then sell them to research institutions or veterinary schools. These dealers, putting profits before pooches, are regularly cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and have long been a cause for concern for many.”

Mr. Woudenberg is determined to obtain animals in whatever way he can and has somehow hijacked the Montcalm County Animal Shelter/Control—using it as his own personal warehouse for animals—a lucrative money-making venture for him funded by the taxpayer. The stronghold Mr. Woudenberg has over the Montcalm County Animal Shelter/Control is astounding—especially when he has a proven history of violation:
 

  • Newaygo County ceased relations with Mr. Woudenberg in 1995 after the shelter director testified about him performing extremely cruel and unethical euthanasia. Newaygo citizens were appalled by his actions and demanded change. Concerned commissioners listened and responded.
     
  • In 1997, he was advertising himself as “animal control” in the phone book. Only when the attorney general’s office ordered him to cease and desist did he stop his misleading and illegal practice.
     
  • A film taken by Henry Erb of Wood TV 8 in 1997 clearly shows Mr. Woudenberg removing numerous dead animals from a gas barrel one on top of the other when animals are supposed to have a stethoscope on them to make sure they are dead. How many have gone to the landfill still alive?
     
  • During an Ingham County Board of Commissioner meeting in 2003, a policy was detailed which stated those dropping off animals would be given a consent form if they would like their animal to go to research. Mr. Woudenberg was charged with upholding this policy. As of April 2008, no such form is being used in Montcalm, allowing residents to unknowingly “donate” their animal to research.

USDA records indicate in 2006 that R&R Research (owned by Woudenberg) was reimbursed $196,272 for the sale of 621 dogs and cats. Another sad statistic states that in 2007, 75% of the dogs and cats that entered Montcalm’s Animal Shelter were either gassed in a barrel (a cruel and outdated form of euthanasia) or given to R&R Research. If the shelter had adopted out just 816 dogs and cats (instead sold to R&R), $16,000 in revenue would have been generated for the facility.


We need a change! In the Internet age, information travels fast and furious and having someone gas animals in barrels for free isn’t really free if you value your reputation. You, as a county commissioner, can participate in this change by (1) the cessation of gassing animals in barrels, a very horrendous way for any living thing to die; and (2) to allow the pubic to adopt animals instead of giving them to Mr. Woudenburg to make a personal profit. Without these changes, it will be difficult to hire a credible, qualified director to undertake a shelter where county policy dictates that animals are either gassed in barrels or given to a B-Class Dealer to make money for himself.


I pray the shelter will be returned to the taxpayers of Montcalm County and that animals that need to be euthanized will at least be given a humane death.


Cheryl McCloud
Director and Founder of Lake Haven

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Plenty! Contact the Montcalm County Commissioners and tell them to enact humane euthanasia policies at their animal shelter and end their relationship with Class-B dealer Jim Woudenberg.

Montcalm County Board of Commissioners:

Marcia Walker
811 Hawthorne Ct.
Greenville, MI 48838
(616) 754-8236
email: lloydwalker@chartermi.net

Tom Lindeman
8060 S. Backus Road
Greenville, MI 48838
616-754-4918
Email: tblindeman@sbcglobal.net

Ron Retzloff
786 S. Senator Rd.
Crystal, MI 48818
(989) 235-6827
email: comish@casair.net

John Johansen
3503 S. Monroe Rd.
Greenville, MI 48838
(616) 754-5375
email: johm@pathwaynet.com

Carl Paepke
18419 Stanton Rd. NW
Pierson, MI 49339
(616) 636-5692
Ron Baker
PO Box 91
Howard City, MI 49329
(231) 937-5465
email: rbaker68amx@hotmail.com

Pat Carr
10397 Almy Rd.
Lakeview, MI 48850
(989) 352-8129

Roger Caris
8984 E. Deaner Rd.
Vestaburg, MI 48891
(989) 268-5875
email: rcaris@gccmha.org

John McCrackin
9682 Carson City Rd.
Carson City, MI 48811
(989) 584-3713

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Lake Haven is a non-profit no-kill animal rescue shelter dedicated to the care and adoption of homeless and/or injured dogs, cats, kittens and puppies in the West Michigan area.  Lake Haven is a recognized 510(c)3 organization that is 100% volunteer operated.