By Michelai Graham
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
INGHAM COUNTY- The Sheriff’s Office has added a new service to their line of work D.A.R.T., the dead animal recovery team that began in May 2012. This organization was created to get dead animals off of the roadways and create a cleaner environment for Ingham County residents. All types of animals are collected and disposed at the Granger Waste Management Company located in Lansing. Lt. Vern Elliot of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of this new program.
“A couple of our sheriffs got the dead animal recovery team idea from another county so I we decided to bring it here and see how it turns out,” said Lt. Elliot.
The D.A.R.T program is still in its trial stage so not all of the boundaries are set in stone. Volunteer deputies go through special training to be a part of this program.
“Our volunteer deputies already have specific training needs so we now train them to handle the dead animals properly and are able to lead the searches as well,” said Lt. Elliot.
The sheriffs don’t actually take part in the D.A.R.T. organizations, but the volunteer deputies do. The deputies lead the Ingham County inmates who are nonviolent offenders on the dead animal pick-up during their community service hours.
So far, citizens of Ingham County appreciate this new program. Sophomore, Sydney Frazer, commutes often throughout Ingham County from her hometown to MSU’s campus.
“I only notice dead animals on the side of the road when I am on the expressway but it is nice to know they are being properly disposed now,” said Frazer.
This program has some positive and negative components to consider including health risks for the deputies and inmates handling the dead animals as well as less food for animals such as birds who feed on the dead animals.
“All of the animals we recover are handled with care. This program is solely to keep dead animals off of the roadways hoping to keep our citizens satisfied” said Elliot.