Jackson County stops selling pound animals to labs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2006:
JACKSON, Michigan–Two less Michigan county animal shelters
are selling animals to laboratory suppliers, as result of mid-August
2006 policy change.
Gladwin County became involved in the practice only three
weeks before the Jackson County commissioners voted 10-1 on June 18
to stop selling animals to longtime purchaser Fred Hodgins of Hodgins
Kennels in Howell. Anticipating the Jackson vote, Hodgins
approached Gladwin County Animal Shelter director Ron Taylor. Taylor
reportedly favored selling dogs to Hodgins if they would otherwise be
killed at the shelter.
On June 27 the Gladwin County commissioners voted 6-1 to
authorize Taylor to sell dogs to Hodgins. Hodgins bought two dogs on
August 1, just as local activist Cindy Krycian and Humane Education
And Legislation PAC founder Eileen Liska disclosed the arrangement to
the public through telephone calls and e-mails. Their efforts were
amplified internationally by Marietta Nealey Sprott of Heart of
“More than 20 concerned citizens attended the Gladwin County
Commissioner’s meeting” on August 8 to voice their protest, wrote
Graves. Taylor then voluntarily suspended further dealings with
Hodgins, pending meetings among the protesters and the county board
Gladwin County was one of only nine Michigan counties which
had not banned selling animals to labs, county commissioner Lou
Kalinowski told Michelle Graves of the Gladwin County Record–but on
August 21 the commissioners voted 5-3 to do so, reported Eileen
Liska, founder of the Michigan pro-animal lobbying organization
The Gladwin and Jackson county shelters handle similar
numbers of animals, with reported 2005 killing totals of 888 and
932, respectively–but Jackson County has about eight times as many
The Gladwin County episode somewhat upstaged the work of
Jackson County Volunteers Against Pound Seizure, formed in 2004 by
Judy Dynnik of Rives Junction to continue a struggle started in 1960
by Jackson Animal Protective Association founder Dorothy Reynolds.
Reynolds died in 2001 at age 86. Others had picked up the struggle,
including artist Nancy Hauser Camden, who collected 6,000 petition
signatures against selling animals to labs in the mid-1980s.
Hodgins enjoyed considerable success in litigation against
critics, winning libel verdicts against two activists who attacked
his business in letters to local newspapers. He later won a
reduction of a USDA penalty of $13,500 for alleged violations of the
federal Animal Welfare Act to just $325, plus reinbursement of
attorneys’ fees of $155,385.
Dynnik credited her predecessors for their groundwork and
thanked attorney Allie Phillips and psychologist Bob Walsh for legal
and scientific support.
Three of the last 15 sellers of random-source animals to U.S.
labs are located in Michigan. More than 300 dealers supplied pound
animals to labs before the passage of the 1966 Laboratory Animal
Welfare Act, which in 1971 was expanded into the much broader Animal
Welfare Act of today.
Since the Animal Welfare Act introduced mandatory
record-keeping, both cat and dog use in labs has declined by more
than two-thirds. Cat use peaked in 1974 at 74,259, while dog use
peaked in 1979 at 211,104.