Working Both Sides of the Law
Michigan county focuses on outreach as well as enforcement
When Jamie McAloon-Lampman began directing the animal control department and shelter in Michigan’s Ingham County in 2004, some people accused her of trying to run the operation "like a humane society." That accusation—she recalls with a laugh—prompted her to reply, "You say that like it’s a bad thing."
"We really are not your standard animal control, by any means," McAloon-Lampman says, pointing to the county’s pet food banks, spay/neuter clinic, and outreach programs. She’s particularly excited about a new community outreach center in a Lansing neighborhood—an area that has been a source of complaints. The center, which was set to open in October, will assist local residents with everything from dog training and humane education to spay/neuter and low-cost vaccinations. "We really want to be proactive," she explains. "… Let’s stop it before we have to deal with it."
A 27-year veteran of the animal welfare field, McAloon-Lampman believes that a humane approach to animal control doesn’t mean—as her skeptics feared—that you weaken law enforcement. Along with all its other services, the county has increased its animal licensing by almost 30 percent, and doubled its prosecutions.