Michigan Shelter Animals Sold For Research

by Elisa Black

Photo by Brian Gunn with his permission

Photo by Brian Gunn with his permission

OK folks, time to get hot over another issue many don't know about. Today I'm taking on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), and some shelters in the state of Michigan. So what's got me hot this week? I'm not sure. I guess a little bit of everything.

I start web surfing and these subjects literally jump out at me.

Selling animals turned into the shelter to agencies who will conduct "experiments" on the animals is tops on my list this week. Especially if the animal may have a home and was "lost."

Until May 2008 The Eaton County Animal Shelter in Charlotte, Michigan either gave away or sold shelter pets for research. They did not try to find homes for the animals or even allow volunteers to work with the animals. Why bother with volunteers when they knew from day one that the surrendered animal was a dead animal?

They also didn't bother checking for microchips or tattoos. In December 2009 the lawful seizure of shelter animals for research was stopped at this facility - see: http://web.archive.org/web/20100328230713/http://www.americanhumanesociety.org:80/advocacy/stop-pound-seizure.html (link broken).

This came to light when a Class B dealer called one of the tattoo businesses saying he had an animal that needed to be signed off on by the owner because it had a tattoo. In other words the shelter never bothered to look for an owner. The trouble is that Michigan had several who were breaking the law and I'm sure there are shelters just like it all across the country.

Julie Moscove, owner of Tattoo-A-Pet in Michigan is a heroine. In October 2008 she received a call from a Class B dealer. He had obtained a tattooed dog from a shelter (caller refused to name shelter) and needed the owner to sign off on the animal before turning it over for research. She took matters into her own hands to save the dog involved. She contacted the MDA who said it was a USDA issue. Anyone care to guess what happened next? She contacted the USDA who stated it was an MDA issue. Michigan Animals has more information on the case and the dog she helped save.

The University of Michigan is one place where animals are used in medical experiments. First let us look at the statistics. There are more than 10 million animals put to death in shelters and pounds each year. Michigan alone has about 500,000. Research shows that less than 2% are used for medical and educational purposes.

Another thing that complicates matters is the importance of this research. This is how many treatments/cures for a wide variety of diseases are determined safe for the human population. This issue is not one where you can just pick a side.

There is a bill called Koda's Law which would ban pound seizures to be used in research. The formal name of this bill is HB4663 and it can be viewed here.

There are at least 10 Class B dealers in the U.S. Many are under USDA investigation. I haven't found any info on whether this has been passed yet. Hopefully someone in Michigan will let us know. It will ensure animals are found homes or humanely euthanized. NOT tortured-for lack of a better word. Which is what happens anytime an animal is experimented on.

The whole issue is sugarcoated with words like "pound", "shelter", and "purpose bred." For more on this please see Michigan Society for Medical Research. It all summarizes where animals marked for death come from. I won't go into more on this because I'm about to make you even madder.

The USDA admits to over 1 million "pets" which includes, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits and a few others are sacrificed each year. This is down from the 2 million per year in the late 1980's. This subject is also sugar coated. That seems to be my word for the day. They classify research by levels of pain inflicted on the animals. Many are bred solely for research and never intended to join the "forever home pet population." Many are obtained by Class B dealers - see American Anti-Vivisection Society.

I realize people have to do something to earn a living but this is just WAY beyond my comfort level. Let me explain. THESE are the people I'm very upset with. They obtain the animals for research. Some come from pounds or shelters. What many pet lovers don't realize is these are the "nice people" who show up when you run a freebie ad. So instead of sending Fluffy or Smokey off to a good new home, you're giving these Class B dealers what they want. FREE STOCK! Who knows how many of the dealers are "operating under the radar."

I've often mentioned dealing with freebies in finding homes for my rescues. Note what I add at the end of the freebies add. Vet references. It's a given if you want your little ones to find a good home. If you don't take the time to check out the character of the home your babies are going to-it's just too horrible to continue this.

I'd also like to stress the importance of checking out your local shelter. Study their policies. If you don't like their policies then do something about it. Help turn a kill shelter into a no kill shelter. Financially support them. Take responsibility and have your cat spayed or neutered. Donate food and blankets. A friend of mine emailed me the following article. I'd like to point out that 40 animals were turned in by their owners in 1 day. There is no minimum holding time for turn ins. The shelter where the animal is surrendered literally determines life or death.

Please don't blame the shelter for doing our dirty work. They don't like it any more than we do.

People need to take responsibility from day one of cat ownership. Spay or neuter. That way you won't have to worry about taking your fur babies to the shelter in the first place. And don't talk yourself into a happily ever after ending. Unless it's a no kill shelter your baby has a 90-95% chance of being euthanasized.

I'm not exactly clear what I'm trying to say here. Call it brain freeze. There's bound to be controversy regardless. The animals would have been put to death anyway. My argument is they shouldn't have to suffer. I disagree with breeding solely for research. These are little lives with little hearts we're talking about here. To never know the love of a forever home is unimaginable.

Isn't causing death or suffering to an animal illegal? Guess the bureaucratic red tape squeezed that one thru also.

Do any of you have an issue you'd like to vent over. If you don't, just vent on mine.


Michigan Shelter Animals Sold For Research to Cat News

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Michigan Shelter Animals Sold For Research

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Dec 02, 2011 Queenie
by: Anonymous

2011 News article about Queenie a dog that ended up in the Gratiot County Animal Shelter. Then sold by a class b random source animal dealer to Wayne State University and killed there. This could easily be about a cat from Gratiot County MI.


Sep 10, 2011 Animals sold for research
by: Anonymous

It is beyond cruel that any animal should ever be tortured in the name of science. How heartless can a human be in order to do something so awful to a precious innocent animal? This should be outlawed and animals who are given to a shelter or "free" to a good home should never be given to research. The owners thought they were giving them a chance at finding a home. Being put to sleep is much better than being tortured to death. This needs to stop and the public needs to know what is going on. What kind of country are we anyway?

Jun 13, 2011 lonely cries of little animals
by: Anonymous

i hope the ones who do this to Gods sweet little animals at some point... can't close their eyes to sleep w/out seeing those sweet little animals and hear their cries... they never asked to be dumped they didn't ask to be hurt... but they had love inside their litle hearts to give.. but only got pain.if that was the only job to do i would rather live on the street and strave my self.as being a pet person this makes me so very sad and i cried for those sweet little animals. but all the tears will not help... the law need to step in and stop this greed for the sake of life.. and i think by law... pet owners should be made to spay and neuter.thios needs to stop. i do not loke animal shelters anyway. many times i took thing to the animals to find the workers took the thingds home to their own pet and paid to keep a little dog from being put to sleep they took my money but put that little dog down anyway for 4 months they took my money but killed the dog AND TOLD MY FRIEND THAT THE DOG HAD BEEN ADOPTED. SO i went in to stop the paying and one spoke up and said it was dead they killed it the very day that i gave the feed to keep it alive so it could find a home. i have 7 dogs and that is all i can have. because i take my pets to the vet every six month check ups and yearly heart worm med every month i give them and their shots.this was a very small dog around 6 months old if i had known i would have 8 dogs but i did not know the shelters are mean i think.not all the people but most i have dealt with are cold. i saved 7 and i enjopy them with all my heart and i feed nothing but halo pet food. mine i could not give a one up and to think this could have happend to the ones i have if i had not taken them makes me angery. how do we stop this?

Mar 30, 2010 Gratiot and Mecosta County Animal Shelters Give Pets To Research
by: Help

Only two taxpayer funded animal shelters in Michigan still give/sell LIVE animals to class b random source animal dealers.

The Mecosta County Animal Shelter is privately owned and operated by Ken and Susan DeVries. They choose to give/sell pets to class- b dealer, Cherri Hill Kennel and Supply. This shelter still uses the outdated and inhumane gas chamber to euthanize pets.

In exchange for carcass hauling, the Gratiot County Animal Shelter gives LIVE pets to class-b dealer, R&R Research. Despite having a DEA license that would allow shelter staff to perform injectable euthanasia, Gratiot County is still using an outdated and inhumane gas chamber.

R&R Research is currently under investigation by the USDA. Please read the link below and ask the USDA to revoke R&R's class b random source license.


Mar 29, 2010 Animals in research
by: Christine,PooleUK

I was disgusted and sad to read Elisa's comments on animal shelters. What kind of people, can pretend to care for animals, take them in and then sell them for research? The animal shelters that I know of in England, have a policy of not putting any healthy amimal down.
I am not sure about the R.S.P.C.A.they say that they do not, but I have been told that sometimes they do.
I want to know why they don't speak out more on animal testing, after all they are supposed to protect animals.There is a large place,I think its called huntingdon, where they carry out awful experiments, and the R.S.P.C.A. have visited, and could find nothing wrong.
As there are s many stray,and unwanted cats as well as dogs, I think that a law should be made regarding breeders. There are too many aminals looking for a good home, so why go to a breeder, go instead to a shelter and get a pet there. After all they are just as loving as a pure breed.
God Bless.

Mar 25, 2010 HB 4663
by: Holly Sauve'

Unfortunately it has not passed yet. There was a hold up due to the unfortunate passing of Representative Simpson.

Representative Huckleberry has replaced Rep Simpson as the chair of the Agriculture committee........this is the committee that is holding up this bill.

Please visit our website for updated info, as we expect to have some updated info in the next 2 week and will have some more direction on who to start contacting, where to contact to voice your opinion. Right now Rep Huckleberry just came on board as the Ag chair. I know American Humane recently met with him to update him on the bill. So we should all give him a chance to give this bill a hearing before bombarding him with calls, emails etc. LOL. UNLESS of course you a constituent of his and live in district which is mostly Montcalm county. For a map please go to:

Please watch our website for more info. If you are interested in being added to our mailing list for action alerts, please email me.

Holly Sauve'

Mar 25, 2010 The Structure
by: Michael

Thanks, Elisa, for a nice article. I agree with you that animals should not be used in research for human benefit. Are we more important that other species of animal? I don't think we are. We do more damage to the planet than all animals put together. There is an argument that says that we live too long. That we are kept alive when we should die more naturally. A lot of medical research is designed to try and keep us alive when we should be allowed to die naturally. And medical research is big business on its own. Forget the supposed benefits.

But I also understand that this is a very hot topic and there are arguments for both sides.

I also think that the whole animal shelter "business" is too stable, too cosy and established. It is almost as if it is a business with interested parties who want to keep it running rather than a necessity to deal with unwanted animals.

There is little work going on to deal with the mass slaughter annually in the many millions in the USA at a proactive, preventative level. It is almost as if some people want it to continue on a business level. Dead cats have a commercial value I feel. And live cats for research have a value to.

In a better world there would no animal shelters. Can you imagine a world where there was a shortage of companion animals? Why does it have to be so out of balance?

The bottom line is that it is business that runs all this. And business is run by the alpha human for financial profit.

These are my personal thoughts but accept and understand alternative viewpoints.

Michael Avatar

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