On Oct. 1, Meridian Township Police Chief Ken Plaga and Sergeant Ed Besonen were recognized for their heroism for this act with a tribute presented by State Rep. Julie Brixie at the Meridian Township Board Meeting. This award was given on behalf of Julie Brixie, Gov. Whitmer, Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. and Lieutenant Gov. Gilchrist.
The event occurred the morning of Aug. 26, the people of Meridian Township “witnessed an act of courage,” said Brixie.
Brixie explained that while stopped at Quality Dairy, Plaga received a call about an elderly woman who had driven her car into Walden Pond after attempting to avoid hitting a deer. He responded to the call and was on the scene in seconds.
Upon arrival, Plaga quickly removed his vest, belt and shoes and jumped into the pond, even though the car had submerged into the water. With the assistance of Sergeant Ed Besonen the two were able to break the car window and help the woman get to safety. This information was provided by Julie Brixie.
“As we were swimming her back to shore, she moved her head back, spit up some water and took a deep breath,” said Plaga.
Brixie was able to attend this week’s township meeting so she could present the award to the officers and explain the situation to those who were unaware.
Plaga has a long-standing record as a member of the police department. He has served for over 15 years, one of those being chief of police in Meridian Township.
After the recognition, the township board moved to the topic of dog and cat sales which was next on the agenda. The ordinance brought forward by Trustee Dan Opsommer would prohibit cat and dog sales at all pet stores in the township.
Opsommer’s position on this ordinance was that prohibiting this sale, we could prevent puppy mill farms from continued overbreeding.
“This is not to prevent pet stores from selling,” said Opsommer. “This is the only true way to crack down on having these puppy mills in existence.
This ordinance is also sponsored by the local Human Society in an effort to reduce puppy mill production. The ordinance does not prevent pet stores from working with recognized organizations, like the Humane Society, that organize safe adoption events.
“The animals are there to breed and when they are no longer able to breed, they are put down,” Opsommer said in regard to his description of puppy mills.
Opsommer was challenged by fellow Trustee Kathy Ann Sundland who felt that by prohibiting the sale of cats and dogs they would be taking away the credibility of these pet stores.
“I’m not sure that we can say that every business that would want to sell animals is linked to puppy mills,” Sundland said. “I wonder if perhaps we are going too far with this ordinance.”
The ordinance was tabled for the next meeting as Supervisor Ronald J. Styka said he felt that more detailed information needed to be presented from both sides.