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.