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New Chief Aims to Lower Kill Rate at Macomb Co. Animal Shelter

Jeffery Randazzo, 40, has been named animal care and control manager for the Macomb County Animal Shelter.

Macomb County is changing its approach to the health and welfare of its four-legged residents, starting with the hire of a new animal control director who says lowering the kill rate of the county’s animal shelter is a 2013 priority.

A former Sterling Heights animal control officer, Jeffery Randazzo, 40, has been named animal care and control manager for the Macomb County Animal Shelter, located in Clinton Township.

“I’m so excited to be a part of this change and becoming a resource for our community,” Randazzo said. “It’s our shelter and our plan begins with strengthening our relationships with our communities, rescue groups, animal organizations, veterinarians and all of the people interested in the welfare of animals and our neighborhoods.”

This plan also includes efforts to lower the shelter’s kill rate, which was reported to be approximately 75 percent in 2011.

Asked how he will accomplish this, Randazzo emphasized the need for collaboration between the shelter and all rescue groups and animal organizations in the county.

“You have to be very creative in your thinking,” the St. Clair Shores resident said. “You have to have collaboration and networks or that will never get done.”

That promise of collaboration has caught the ear and imagination of more than 30 animal organizations across the county.

“We want to do everything we can to boost shelter to where we are all proud of it,” said Amy Johnson, executive director of Teacher’s Pet, a program that pairs at-risk youth with hard-to-adopt shelter dogs for a 10-week workshop in basic obedience. 

“The Macomb County Animal Shelter, we believe, will be a viable resource for members of the community through better means of promoting adoptions, more accessibility, improved health care delivery, community education, training and much more,” Johnson added.

The president of 4 Paws 1 Heart, a nonprofit that funds medical treatment for abandoned and abused dogs and cats, shares Johnson’s optimism.

“We’ve built up a great relationship with a lot of these (organizations),” said Diana Rascano. “I know the shelter will now be opening its doors to work more closely with rescue organizations, using their expertise and network of volunteers. We have lots of ideas and we’re looking forward to working with Jeff in the future.”

With the assistance of organizations like Teacher’s Pet and 4 Paws 1 Heart, as well as their vast network of supporters, Randazzo said he hopes to make Macomb County a “model shelter in the state.”

“I know there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about (animal welfare) who can bring more expertise to what we’re doing,” added County Executive Mark Hackel, who has tied this new endeavor into his office’s ongoing Make Macomb Your Home campaign.

“We need the support of the community and those who are interested or passionate in animal welfare to be our reserve force and work with our animal shelter …We want you to be engaged. We want your help.”

Animal groups and rescue organizations throughout the county are encouraged to connect with Randazzo and his staff through the Macomb County Animal Shelter or Macomb County Health Department.

Nancy January 10, 2013 at 03:24 PM
I certainly hope this works. A 75% kill rate in 2011 is unacceptable. I took a stray cat there a while back, posted signs in my neighborhood, and when the owner came forward a couple of days later, the cat had already been euthanized. Heartbreaking! Why not campaign for volunteers to help at the shelter? I mean...REALLY get it out there to the public. I, for one, would donate time to help out, and I'm sure there are many animal lovers who would do the same.
Laura Claussen January 10, 2013 at 03:28 PM
I really hope there is something that we can do to help! I'm not in any active animal organizations, but I'm a member of several moms' groups and also active in the vegan community. I will be calling soon to find out how to help. Please do the same!
jen wilson January 10, 2013 at 04:08 PM
The story of the cat that was put to sleep before the owner had a chance to come forward is all too common for this shelter & only this shelter. For starters all of us animal lovers need to stay vigilant & follow thru to be 100% positive change occurs.
jen wilson January 10, 2013 at 04:09 PM
The story of the cat that was put to sleep before the owner had a chance to come forward is all too common for this shelter & only this shelter. For starters all of us animal lovers need to stay vigilant & follow thru to be 100% positive change occurs.
Mary Cipriano January 10, 2013 at 04:19 PM
This is wonderful news that we are finially getting humane. The Macomb Co animal selter would have been the last place I would have called for strays in the past knowing it would be a certain death sentence. Bravo!!
Nancy January 10, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I just discovered a section of The Patch where you can sign up to volunteer. I signed up for "Paws for Life Rescue". Check it out! We ALL need to get involved.
Nancy January 10, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I agree. It had a horrible reputation! I recently took in a friend's cat because she had to give it up. She was going to take it to the Mac. Shelter, and I said NO WAY! Your cat will be dead tomorrow. (I'm still trying to find a home for her.) Even "rescue" shelters I called won't take her -- too overcrowded. We HAVE to do something. That's why I volunteered for "Paws for Life" rescue. I want to help area cats and also want to see first hand how these organizations work.
Chris Osborne January 10, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Reading the comments about the MCAS is all too true. I have been a volunteer rescue worker for the last 7 years. Our group has pulled dogs from this shelter in the past. Along with other rescues that have pulled from Macomb, at times we were met with resistance. Those days are gone. Jeff Randazzo has a big project ahead of him. But he will accomplish it because he now has the backing of the rescues, the shelter staff and Mr. Hackel. The MCAS reputation has not had a good reputation, that is true, but we finally have a champion for the animals. And isn't that what shelters and rescues are all about-the animals. Those that offer their time and services will be rewarded 10-fold from the animals there. I hope to meet you at the MCAS and shake your hand to say thank you and welcome.
Amy Johnson January 10, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Well said, Chris! We can all share horror stories, but that won't help the animals! There has been a call for volunteers through MCAS and they will welcome dog walkers, cat socializers, rescues who'd like to pull, etc. Jeff Randazzo, Mark Hackel and the Advisory Committee are committed to making change. We just ask for patience as this is a big undertaking. Please be assured that each and every animal that enters the shelter will be treated respectfully and cared for in the best possible way. If you encounter an issue, please contact Jeff rather than engaging in hostile negativity.
jen wilson January 10, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I truely hope & pray the new committee members aren't talking out both sides of their mouths. I don't want to see breed discrimination or any more excuses on the shelters behalf. It's time to hold MCAS responsible for their actions. They wouldn't have gotten a bad rep if they didn't deserve it. Everyone needs to rally together & take ranom walk thrus & report irresponsible behavior. For the love of the animals...they are counting on us. We are their voice!!
jen wilson January 10, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I think MCAS needs to be called out w ith their history...come on. IF positive change occurs, I'll gladly complement the shelter. It's time the public knows what's really going on behind closed doors.
macombresident January 11, 2013 at 05:38 PM
So glad to hear that change is coming to this facility..it's been a long time in coming!
Amy Johnson January 11, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I'm not sure how rehashing the past is going to be effective. The past leadership is gone and new leadership will be in place beginning January 22nd. The new leadership does not have the same history or work ethic or protocols and has a lot of experience, passion and motivation .. so perhaps we can give him a chance to get into the position before we start judging. Just a thought.
Holly January 12, 2013 at 05:06 PM
HI Nancy - Regarding your friends cat, there is a rescue in Algonac that might be able to help in the finding of a home for the kitty. You may still be have to foster her until a home is found, but Debbie (the owner), will have you send her info/ pics and she will post on her website/facebook page. The rescue in 'Luv Um All Animal Rescue' and her email is luvumall101@gmail.com. Good luck.
Nancy January 12, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Holly...Thanks so much for the information. I will certainly get in touch with Debbie!! This is the best information I have received so far!! :-)
Ann Marie Rogers January 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM
I have known Jeff personally when he worked at Michigan Humane Society and at Oakland County Animal Care Center as well as being an ACO for Sterling Heights and Oak Park. I could not think of a better person to run this animal shelter. I have already told him I can now rest easy knowing that NO animal will ever be tortured at the hands of an MCAS employee again! He truly cares about animals and is also a people friendly guy. He will cut down on unnecessary euthanasia, but if an animal has to be euthanized I know he will make sure it is done HUMANELY and CORRECTLY. He will ensure that the animals at his facility will be kept clean and WELL cared for. He has a huge reconstruction job ahead of him with the old mentality in place, but if anyone can clean up this HELL HOLE- It's JEFF! All the best to Jeff Randazzo. Bless You for caring enough to get involved there!
Diana March 26, 2013 at 05:52 PM
The shelter needs people to come in without their egos or grand plan to reduce kill rates. You have to consider since it is government owned, they do not get to choose what comes in. Sometimes it's half dead animal and the only humane choice is to euthanize. Or even worse a sick animal that spreads the illness to the other animals within the shelter. I certainly do think however volunteers that walk dogs or just open discussion for potential pet owners to adopt first is a step in the right direction.
Diana March 26, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Pet owners need to be vigilant and mircrochip their pets. ID tags fall off, a microchip gets the animals home the quickest.
Macomb Rocker March 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM
I have a great cat I adopted out of the shelter 10 years ago. He's a great pet.

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