County to transfer animal control

ALPENA – Alpena County and the Huron Humane Society are nearing an agreement that would transfer the responsibility of animal control to the local shelter. The move became a possibility after Dennis Partlo, ordinance enforcement and animal control officer, informed the county he intended to retire. The humane society has been playing a large role for several years in helping house stray animals and providing shelter and care for them until their owners or new homes for them can be found.

Board Chairman Cam Habermehl said there is a proposal to the humane society that will allow it to take the reigns for animal control issues in the county and earn some extra revenue for the shelter.

“I think this is going to benefit everyone because I believe the humane society is very capable of handing the responsibility,” Habermehl said. “I think it will be good for both sides. We will have someone find and pick up the animals, house and care for them and find them homes. The shelter will be getting compensated and can use the money.”

Shelter Manager Natalie Francis said the humane society has been working closely with Partlo for some time. She said taking on the added responsibility and working for the county makes sense.

“It just seems logical for us to take over when Dennis retires,” Francis said. “We will be working together to continue to serve the people of the county and also do what is best for the animals. I will be getting certified and probably another member of the staff. we may even hire someone, because we want always want someone available. We don’t want animals running around and nobody to serve them.”

Habermehl said the shelter will be given the animal control truck, its tools, a gas allowance, as well as pay to perform the service. He said he thinks once the transition takes place it will go smoothly.

“The contract’s not signed yet, but there is a proposal and I hope this will work out,” Habermehl said. “They care about the animals and the community and can use the help. We have a need and need help, so I think it will be a good fit for both sides.”

As of now when animal control picks up a stray animal it is housed in a building at the fairgrounds, until it can be moved to the shelter. The humane society helps care for the animal before and after the transfer takes place. Francis said the staff at the shelter already have experience in catching stray animals. She said many times people drop off dogs or cats outside the shelter and her staff must retrieve them.

“Currently the employees use their personal vehicles to get the animals, so it will be nice to have the truck and all of the equipment that comes with it,” Francis said. “We have done what we have needed to up until now. We aren’t going to let the animals run through the woods or through neighborhoods.”

The humane society also has been instrumental in helping pet owner reunite with animals who have strayed. It provides updates and alerts on Facebook and shares the information outside of Alpena to help locate the lost animals.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at