Grand Traverse County Animal Control Officer Under Investigation

“Site Updates, Day Care at the Government Center” was what I was going to title today’s post for all of 10 seconds before I learned that a Grand Traverse County Animal Control officer is on leave pending investigation.

This article says that Deb Zerafa has been an animal control officer with GT County “for years.” (Except that no one really works in government that long because if you start when you’re 20 you’re over and out by the time you’re 45. Anyways.)

The Upnorthlive article doesn’t give any more details. At this point, all officials seem to be telling us is “I know something you don’t know.”

But I’m going to reserve judgment on this one. If you poke around Facebook, you learn that there appears to have been some controversy back in April over Zerafa being passed over to be a supervisor. So it could be that she’s completely guilty of whatever it is that she’s accused of doing. But it also could be a political maneuver to smear and muffle a competitor. If she did something that she shouldn’t have done, I hope she’s held responsible. If she’s the victim of someone doing something that they shouldn’t have done, I hope it all comes to light. We can hash it out when we get more information.

There was a Northern Express article from late 2017 in which Sheriff Bensley called the Animal Control department “underfunded, understaffed and undermanaged.” He made it clear that he didn’t want the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department having anything to do with Animal Control. Zerafa wanted the Sheriff’s Department taking over Animal Control, because she wanted to be able to carry weapons like a taser and pepper spray. Given that Zerafa’s job is to deal with difficult animals and often emotional people, that seems like a reasonable request.

On January 18, 2018, Grand Traverse County approved a $280,000 budget for animal control. Zerafa was there at the time and it sounds like the budget approval was a win for her. Fast forward a few months, one of the interim administrators is the undersheriff, and Zerafa is kicked to the curb. My head is spinning.

Grand Traverse County 911 posted this fluff piece today:

I’m not sure I understand the point of the 911 post. Are we all supposed to be showing our support for the fact that an Animal Control department exists, or if we like the page, are we demonstrating that we’ve moved on and don’t care about the reasons for Zerafa’s absence. I’m not sure whose side you’re on or what side you want me to be on.

Sounds like there’s a ton of drama going on behind the scenes. It also sounds like we know way less than the entire story. If you know something, feel free to share in the comments.

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