Efforts to rebuild Branch Co. animal control shelter not moving quick enough for some

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jul 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-10 17:08:12-04

BRANCH COUNTY, Mich. -- Less than two months after the county's animal control shelter burnt to the ground, some of the volunteers who offered to temporarily house the animals say the county isn't acting quickly enough to rebuild.

Jan Negeldinger, a manager with the Humane Society of Branch County, said taking in the extra animals has proven to be a burden for the shelter and the volunteers working there.

“We are overwhelmed, we’re hoping the board of commissioners will move fairly quickly on deciding whether they’re going to rebuild or fix the old building," she said. “We’re all stuck wondering how long this is going to take.”

Negeldinger said their shelter is now regularly at capacity housing more than 40 dogs at any given time, which is about 10 more than usual. She told FOX 17 she's worried the county will not compensate the humane society for the extra animals they've volunteered to care for.

Sheriff John Pollack, who oversees the county's animal control shelter, said learning the humane society was overwhelmed was news to him, adding it was still too soon after the fire to have a concrete plan in place.

“It’s still very early on. We’ve just recently been notified by the insurance company that they’ve made a decision," Pollack told FOX 17. "We don’t know what that decision is yet, but our goal would be to build a facility as soon as we can.”

Pollack said the decision on when to rebuild will rely on the decision of where to rebuild. Ideally a new shelter would be built alongside a new county jail on the site where the current jail now sits.

Beyond that, Pollack said the county will be working with the humane society and other neighboring counties, like St. Joseph, to take on any of the animals the humane society in Branch County cannot handle. Expected money from the county's insurance claims will also go toward compensating the humane society for the costs incurred by taking on the extra animals since May.