County brings in new animal shelter manager

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 23, 2013



CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Local rescue groups hailed the selection of Jeffery Randazzo as Macomb County’s new animal care and control manager, hoping that, under his leadership, the shelter’s kill rate will go down.

County officials and local animal groups say the selection of Randazzo, Sterling Heights’ animal control officer since 2007, is a move toward improving collaboration between the shelter, located in Clinton Township, and animal rescue groups.

“Jeff is going to make changes that the shelter has needed for so long,” said Laura Wilhelm-Bruzek, director and founder of the Chesterfield Township-based Paws for the Cause Feral Cat Rescue. “We need to bring the shelter into the 21st Century.”

Randazzo’s selection by recently-named Macomb County Health Department Director Bill Ridella was announced at a Jan. 9 press conference. County Executive Mark Hackel was in attendance.

Randazzo replaces former chief animal control officer Sue Jeroue, who retired last year. Rescue groups and animal advocates had previously criticized the shelter for having what they said was too high a kill rate.   “The euthanasia rate has been going down in 2012,” Ridella said. “We can continue to work with adoption groups and volunteers, and reunite dogs with their owners.”

Randazzo and Ridella said that their agenda for the shelter includes increasing awareness about the need to vaccinate and license dogs, upping adoption rates, educating owners about responsible pet ownership and using the Internet and social media to reunite lost pets with their owners.

Randazzo, 40, has previously worked for the Michigan Humane Society, Oakland County Animal Control and other animal-care organizations.

Wilhelm-Bruzek — a member of the advisory panel of animal advocates and rescue-group representatives who were asked to weigh in on the selection process — said the group interviewed the candidates and gave their feedback to county officials.

“If I would have been asked to hand pick our new (county animal shelter) director, I couldn’t have done any better,” she said.

Another advisory board member, Amy Johnson, said the diversity of Randazzo’s experience, as well as his track record of pet-oriented advocacy and policy writing, was appealing.

“He’s written several ordinances in Sterling Heights that have passed,” said Johnson, director of Teacher’s Pet, which partners troubled youth from the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center with animal-shelter dogs with behavioral problems. “These kinds of ordinances, if we can get (them) blanketed through the county, it would benefit everyone — dogs, cats, people.”

Hackel said Randazzo was bringing a lot of passion to the table.

“The most important thing that anybody has coming into a job is passion because, with that passion, they’ll learn things, they’ll come up with ideas, they’ll be very creative,” he said. “This is his calling in life; this is his mission.”