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Michigan's overcrowded animal shelters appeal to the public to foster or adopt a pet

Ilse Orsel
Animal shelters say they are in crisis, with too many surrendered animals and not enough veterinarians to care for them, or people to adopt them

Animal shelters across the state are in an overcrowding crisis, according to Deborah Schutt, chair of the Michigan Pet Alliance.

The Alliance represents animal welfare groups including shelters.

Schutt said it's due to a perfect storm of issues related to the pandemic. She said people were less likely to take their pets to a veterinarian during the pandemic to get them spayed or neutered.

In addition, many veterinarians who could perform the surgeries retired, making it very hard to get an appointment.

And veterinary schools have not increased their admissions in order to increase the supply of graduates.

"Spay and neuter was kind of put on hold for a while," Schutt said. "We're seeing more animals come in the shelter than we were seeing before COVID, especially kittens. Oh my goodness, we are seeing lots of kittens."

Schutt said people can help relieve the overcrowding by fostering or adopting a pet, or if they can't do either, then donating to their local shelter. She hopes people will consider getting a pet from a shelter before obtaining one through a breeder.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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