Sheriff responds to Animal Shelter criticism

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Antrim County's newest Animal Control Officer, Ariel Kerr, is pictured with Donnie, a pit bull- boxer mix that is looking for a home. 


BELLAIRE – Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean responded last week to recent social media criticism, as well as a letter to the editor in The Review, concerning the Antrim County Animal Shelter, and introduced the shelter's newest animal control officer.

Ariel Kerr, a 2014 graduate of Bellaire High School, was hired in early June, Bean said.

"Ariel's been on the job for the last several weeks and is doing very well," he stated. "She grew up on a farm and used to take in rescue animals. She and Animal Control Officer Inga Waldrep, who's been with the department for the last year and a half or so, are working very well together."

Kerr was hired after two Animal Shelter employees, including longterm part-time employee and former volunteer Nancy Rodriguez left the department earlier this year, Bean explained. "Nancy felt it was time to spend more time with her family, now that she has a grandchild, and I understand that," he said.

"Since then, we've been taking applications and interviewing people. It takes time to find the right person for the job."

Vetting and background checks required of all new law enforcement personnel also takes time, he noted, saying, "It takes almost a month to get the results of a background check. Then there are the required psychological and physical check-ups required for the job, which also take time."

The shelter's animals did not suffer from the lack of personnel, Bean said.

"I was down there periodically to help out whenever help was needed,” he stated, “as were other officers from the department. The best thing for the animals in the shelter is a quick adoption – and only the public can help with that."

The department has continued to respond to animal complaints, the sheriff added.

"We've been out and about whenever we get calls, and currently have a number of animals in the shelter that were seized as part of an ongoing neglect and abuse situation," he said.

According to Bean, the public cannot expect animal control officers to accept every animal that is brought to the attention of the shelter.

"The shelter only has so much room. For instance, last week we did not accept cats for several days because our cat area was already overloaded." 

Animals deemed to be feral, or wild, as well as animals that may be harboring diseases aren't always accepted, either, he added. "We try to avoid the possibility of introducing disease issues like Charlevoix County currently has. So we can't, and don't, necessarily take in every cat or dog that comes along."

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P.O. Box 313
Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone: 231-533-5651
Fax: 231-533-4662
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Bellaire, MI 49615

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