Closing Animal Control poses many short and long term risks to the community and its support systems. Allowing this facility to close will produce a whole new set of issues.
Some of these issues are:
Without a facility of our own in Genesee County, any unchecked animal population will see a dramatic increase in numbers. Packs of dogs will form and roam our communities. Cat populations will do the same as well. This is not safe for residents and can also serve to shape a negative public image of our county.
With no organized method or facility to aid in re-homing these animals, other county support systems will inherit the burden of providing a solution;
Sheriff Pickell’s staff will have to address the calls that this population of animals present. With the current cuts in Genesee County budgets, the Sheriff’s Department staff is reduced as well. That staff could be easily pulled away from other community issues or vice versa. This unavailability could potentially create an unnecessary negative public image of the Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, hundreds of volunteers in Genesee County are extremely passionate about animals and helping to put them in loving homes. Closing Animal Control not only takes away one of the more prominent volunteering opportunities, but it could make many of these potential voters feel as though their missions are being sidestepped or worse, not important.
While keeping Animal Control open can present its own issues, there are some solutions that have worked in other communities. Cities like Kalamazoo, Midland and Ann Arbor have presented models that show a lot of success. Using a tried and true model presents an opportunity to lower costs and develop county specific plans to increase revenue would be a win/win.
Lastly, closing Animal Control does not save Genesee County as much money as one would think. Since revenue from licensing is required to back to the animals, net savings would be on the order of $50,000.