By Anna McNeill
For the past four weeks, new Animal Control Officer, Bob Dodson, has been learning the ropes under the watchful eye of Clare County Animal Shelter Director, Rudi Hicks.
Taking on the job of Animal Control Officer just seemed like “it was the right thing to do,” Dodson said.
As an avid animal lover, during his time working for Waste Management, Dodson would always call in if he saw an animal who was left out in the cold, abandoned, or in rough shape.
“I said this to Rudi,” Dodson said, “I said I wanted to be a voice for the animals. But it’s hard to be their voice. I’m just so tired of seeing the mistreatment of animals.”
Dodson has a dog pack of his own who he considers his children. He has two Rottweilers, one St. Bernard and the smallest of his four legged kids is a Boxer/Pit Bull Terrier mix.
Having four, large, dogs as part of his family, Dodson just can’t wrap his head around how people can mistreat animals, not just cats and dogs, but all animals.
“They’re family,” Dodson said.
So joining onto the shelter’s staff was a no brainer for him.
He said that one of the best parts of the job is watching the animals he’s gotten to know, and possibly rescued, getting adopted.
Dodson has been deputized and is beginning the process of becoming a certified ACO. Hicks said that the process will take Dodson about a year to complete.
Working under Hicks’ watchful eye, he said that the training process has been a good one so far.
“It’s been really nice,” Dodson said. “Everyone helps me along when it comes to things computer wise, but Rudi’s been awesome.”
Hicks agrees that she made a good decision in hiring Dodson for the job.
“I’m very happy with who I hired,” Hicks said.
Dodson moved to Clare County in 1978 from Detroit. He graduated from Harrison and served eight years in the Army and worked for Waste Management before becoming the shelter’s new ACO.
Along with introducing the new ACO, Hicks updated the Clare County Board of Commissioners about goings on at the shelter.
For the months of November, December and January, Hicks reported that the shelter has taken in $6,840 worth of donations. Last year, during these same months, donations were only at $2,532. Hicks chalks the $4,308 increase up to good press and social media practices.
Hicks reminded the Board of the story about the little pit mix shot through the throat and how that one story raised the dog around $1,200 for its medical bills.
Another tip of the hat was given by Hicks to the shelter’s volunteers.
During the months of November, December and January last year there was an adoption rate of 65, with an 80 percent adoption rate this year in the same months, with a 100 percent adoption rate in December.
Hicks said that she had to give most of the credit to the volunteers. She said they’ve been the ones pushing adoptions and hosting adoption events outside of the shelter at least two times per month.
Another great thing that Hicks has been able to start doing is getting dogs and cats fixed with donation money and a grant she applied for and received.
“We will try to spay and neuter most dogs and cats before they go out,” Hicks said.
Hicks then again had to commend the volunteers on all the work they’ve been doing at the shelter.
Commissioner Karen Lipovsky made the comment that with Hicks being a good leader, she is getting good followers.
County Treasurer, Jenny Beemer‑Fritzinger also mentioned that during the second rabies/license clinic that was held at the shelter on Valentine’s Day, had went well with approximately 40 dog licenses sold.
If you would like to meet ACO Dodson, say hello to Rudi and the office staff, visit with the animals, volunteer or give donations, you can stop into the shelter, located at 4040 Hazel Dr., Harrison, MI 48625, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. You can also give them a call with any questions at (989) 539‑3221.