#Michigan53 Timeline

6/23/17 – 9 dogs seized in Lansing, 4 of which were puppies.

7/21/17 – Ingham County Animal Control filed a petition with the Lansing 54-A District Court to euthanize 9 & 7 dogs. (Ingham County seized dogs in June)

7/27/17 & 7/28/17 – A multi-county dog fighting ring was busted in Lansing, Michigan. Fifty-three dogs were seized from multiple locations[1].

7/27/17 – Jamie Hillman reaches out to Attorney Richard Angelo with Best Friends Animal Society after seeing media interviews where Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon stated that all 53 dogs would likely be killed.

8/02/17 – The Director of Ingham Co. Animal Control John Dinon stated there were fifty-three dogs that were seized total. Of these fifty-three dogs, ten were seized in Eaton County, MI and forty-three were seized in Ingham County, MI. Director Dinon tells the media that officials will likely petition a court to euthanize the fifty-three dogs that had been seized in Ingham and Eaton counties[2].

Eaton County Director stated that all 10 dogs seized in Eaton County, MI were being held as evidence.  All dogs would receive an assessment and be evaluated on an individual basis. Eaton County never filed a Petition with the court to Euthanize.

8/03/17 – Jamie Hillman & Taryn Herbert formed the Coalition Save the Lansing Michigan Pit Bulls. They also created the petition as well as a Facebook group, Twitter and Instagram accounts to get the petition exposure.

8/05/17Coalition Members start county, state, and nationwide fundraiser to help dogs in Ingham & Eaton Counties.

8/08/17 – Coalition member Kaylah Wirtjes put together a (2) T-Shirt Fundraiser[3] that raised $1740.00. Eaton & Ingham Counties received the money.

8/14/17 – Attorney Richard Angelo received a response from Ingham County Director John Dinon regarding law interruption. Dinon stated that he forwarded the information about the other cases to the City Attorney. Angelo reached back out to Dinon on several occasions and received no response.

8/30/18 – Law and Courts Committee meeting. Click here for a copy of the Minutes

  • John Dinon, Ingham County Animal Control Director, updated the Committee about the pit bull fighting investigation. Commissioner Crenshaw stated he had noticed earlier reports of the numbers of dogs Animal Control seized had differed. This difference prompted him to ask why the numbers differed. When asked, Dinon stated he did not know why.
  • Commissioner Crenshaw asked if anyone had contacted Animal Control regarding a missing dog in light of the dog fighting investigation. Mr. Dinon stated this was high-level dog fighting. The dogs they recovered were not dogs stolen from someone’s backyard.
  • Commissioner Koenig asked if Mr. Dinon had done a dog fighting investigation like this before. Mr. Dinon stated he had investigated some cock fighting and smaller scale dog fighting.

9/3/17 –  Coalition Save the Lansing Michigan Pit Bulls reaches 2,500 members State and Nationwide.


  • Judge DeLuca signed 11 dogs over to the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter[4].

9/6/17 – Five dogs of the eleven rescued dogs in Ingham county were euthanized[5].

  • According to Director John Dinon, five of the 11 dogs seized were euthanized because they were pedigreed fighting dogs[6]. This pedigree Mr. Dinon mentions is a highly unreliable source known as online-pedigrees.com. Anyone with $30 can sign up and make a pedigree.

9/14/17 –  Law and Courts Committee meeting minutes. Click to view the minutes

  • Coalition members Christy Lawrence, Chelsea VanCamp, Jamie Hillman, Terry Chapman, Donna Roy, and Julie Duke spoke and submitted statements to the Commissioners. Other members showed up in support.
  • Letter from Mr. Angelo was submitted to the Commissioners. Click here to view the letter
  • Chairperson Hope asked that County Attorney review the materials provided regarding this issue. Commissioner Celentino asked how the dogs that were released to Animal Control were evaluated.
  • Dinon stated they performed a test known as the “Safer Test.” He provided an overview of the test. Mr. Dinon stated that they evaluated five of the fighting dogs using an outside evaluator.
  • January 25, 2016 MariaI- Included suggestion of implementing a different behavior testing model. Director Dinon is in the process of looking for behavior testing training. Former model that ASPCA (Safer Testing) has discontinued certification process. In the meantime, the current modified safer test will still be used. Click here to see the meeting Minutes
  • Dinon stated that a veterinarian who was in her residency in animal behavior did the evaluations. He further stated that the veterinarian had not taken her boards yet, but that she was taking them in October, and she was not a County employee.
  • Chairperson Hope stated that she would like the County Attorney to review the information provided and provide a legal opinion.
  • Commissioner Banas stated that she hoped that Animal Control would be open to the idea of independent expert evaluation.
  • Commissioner Koenig stated it was important to note that the County, as a government entity, needed to consider the County Attorney’s legal opinion.
  • Christy Lawrence asked why they chose the veterinarian who had not passed her boards yet. Dinon stated that he reached out to the Michigan Humane Society, and they recommended this veterinarian.

9/26/17- Mr. Angelo spoke with Director Dinon on the phone regarding potential placement of the dogs that were safe to leave.

9/26/17  – WLNS reports,  “Really the problem we’re having is finding anyone who has any experience rehabilitating getting dogs who will take them,” Dinon said[7].   World Animal News reports Mr. Dinon pointed to the difficulty, despite “trying every avenue”. Five of the dogs currently in the shelter’s custody will be euthanized by the end of the week if an organization does not step in to help[8].

9/27/17- Mr. Angelo emailed John Dinon a list of the 8 organizations that have expert knowledge and experience in dealing with dogs from fight busts. These organizations were currently offering assistance, via either assessments and/or placement. At no cost to Ingham County.  Mr. Angelo stated in the email that in addition to the groups he listed, through Best Friends’ Network Partner groups, the regional Network Specialist could reach out directly to all of our partner shelters in rescues in the region for potential placement. This region includes MI, IN, IL, OH, and WI, and the network includes more than 200 rescues and shelters in those states.

10/24/17 – WLNS spoke with John Dinon, he said that ICAC is waiting to hear back from Bark Nation, a Detroit non-profit, that specializes in rehabilitating fighting dogs and helps train them for adoption. During this time, 4 dogs were being considered for transferring.

11/1/17 – The Ingham County Animal Control office announced that four of the dogs from the mid-Michigan dog fighting ring will be transferred to Bark Nation. The group evaluated the dogs and deemed all four to be good candidates for rehabilitation[9].

3/31/18The Stand Up for Pits Foundation announced Bark Nation had placed 31 inherently good survivors from Ingham & Eaton County with transfer partners across the nation[10].

6/19/18- WILX-TV & WLNS-TV, reported that Deborah MacDonald, Senior Investigator and Director of Statewide response for the Michigan Humane Society has released a report showing neglect, suffering and dozens of other serious issues at Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter that have led to numerous dog’s deaths[11].

6/19/18 – WILX News, Reports Ingham Co. Animal Control investigated for neglect of dogs from dogfighting ring [12].

6/27/18 – WLNS News, Reports Petition calls for leadership change at Ingham County Animal Shelter


[1] https://www.wlns.com/news/6-news-on-demand/2-counties-launch-dog-fighting-and-abuse-investigation/999950387

[2] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/michigan/articles/2017-08-02/2-arrest-warrants-issued-in-lansing-area-dogfighting-probe.

[3] https://www.customink.com/fundraising/michigan53

[4] https://www.wlns.com/news/6-news-on-demand/ingham-county-takes-possession-of-animals-seized-in-dog-fighting-case/999917262

[5] https://www.wlns.com/news/6-news-on-demand/ingham-county-takes-possession-of-animals-seized-in-dog-fighting-case/999917262

[6] Source: Lansing State Journal.

[7] https://www.wlns.com/news/michigan/ingham-county-animal-shelter-continues-to-look-for-rehab-agency-to-help-with-dogs-seized-in-dog-fighting-ring/999913202

[8]  https://worldanimalnews.com/immediate-help-needed-save-5-dogs-dog-fighting-ring-michigan-euthanized/

[9] https://www.fox47news.com/news/local-news/four-fighting-dogs-to-be-transferred-for-rehab-and-adoption

[10] https://standupforpits.us/amo-team/the-lansing-53/

[11] http://www.wilx.com/content/news/Ingham-County-Animal-Control-investigated–485972761.html https://www.wlns.com/news/report-failures-contributed-to-suffering-and-neglect-of-dogs-seized-in-dogfighting-ring/1249700471

[12] http://www.wilx.com/content/news/Ingham-County-Animal-Control-investigated–485972761.html