Animal control officers grateful after rescued dogs adopted

Chief reflects on community’s generosity

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 21, 2019

 Macomb Community College veterinary tech students try to clean up a dog rescued from a Sterling Heights home in February.

Macomb Community College veterinary tech students try to clean up a dog rescued from a Sterling Heights home in February.

File photo by Deb Jacques


STERLING HEIGHTS — More than nine months after dozens of dogs were rescued by authorities in Sterling Heights, Macomb County officials are reflecting on an outpouring of generosity that helped turn those animals into pets for new homes.

The Macomb County Animal Control Division had a handful when it rescued more than 50 dogs Feb. 13. The dogs had been hoarded at a Sterling Heights home, according to police.

On Feb. 14, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said at a press conference that many of the rescued dogs were dirty, underfed and feces-covered. County officials asked the public for donations to help shoulder the burden of taking care of 53 dogs that needed new homes.

With the holiday season and the end of the year now on the horizon, Macomb County Animal Control Division Chief Jeff Randazzo gave a November update about the donations and the dogs’ status. He said all of the dogs were placed with partnering rescue groups, which adopted them out.

“It was a great time for the community to come together,” he said.

Randazzo said the division received both donated supplies and an undisclosed amount of monetary donations. He said the donated materials made up 19 pallets full of supplies, including dog food, blankets, towels and cleaning supplies.

“So what we did was we took the donations, which we were very thankful for, and we divided them up for each rescue organization that took the dogs,” he said. “All donations, we stuck into a warehouse. We allowed all these rescue groups that actually took the dogs to help themselves to what they needed.”

Donations ended up going to rescue groups and the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team, Randazzo said.

Randazzo showed a February email from the Macomb County Animal Control Division that thanked donors and volunteers. The email said the division was amazed and humbled “but not surprised” at the level of community support over a 48-hour time period. The email thanked volunteers and students from Baker and Macomb Community colleges for performing tasks such as walking, bathing and vaccinating dogs, and cleaning kennels, bedding and dishes.

More than a dozen partner groups participated. Michelle Heyza, the founder of A ReJoyceful Animal Rescue, said her rescue group ended up taking 11 of the rescued dogs and helped them get new homes. She said the group also used some of the donated supplies, such as blankets and towels, that the Macomb County Animal Control Division received.

“We spent a lot of money getting them medically up to date and cleared,” she said about the dogs. “I would say we probably invested about $25,000-$30,000 in clearing all of their ailments. They all found great homes, excellent homes.”

Find out more about the Macomb County Animal Control Division, 21417 Dunham Road in Clinton Township, by visiting or by calling (586) 469-5115. Find out more about A ReJoyceful Animal Rescue by visiting or by calling (586) 944-7210.