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Michigan says record number of animal shelters get grants from check-off program

Jennifer Waters
Creative Commons
'Maggie' pictured at Harbor Humane Society in 2011.

More people are contributing to the Michigan animal welfare fund. That means the state was able to give more money to more animal shelters this year than before.

You can check the donation box when you file your state income taxes. This year $184,772 in grant money went to 22 shelters across the state. Fifty-six shelters applied for grants. Those applications totaled close to $480,000 in requests.

Harbor Humane Society in West Michigan got close to the $10,000 grant cap. Operations director Jeff Stiegman says the money will replace old surgical equipment used to spay and neuter dogs and cats before they’re adopted out.

“The only way that happened is by having the public donate the funds. There’s just no money for capital equipment and that’s pretty much true in any shelter you go to. Almost all the shelters operate on a bare bones budget,” Stiegman said.

With the grant money it got, Harbor Humane Society will be able to keep up with the number of animals coming through the shelter each week.

Most of the money will go towards efforts to spay and neuter shelter animals before they’re adopted out. The hope is that will lower the number of unwanted animals that are euthanized simply because there are not enough people willing to adopt them.

He says about two-thirds of the animals they take in are un-neutered males.

“It really represents about 70% of the problem that animal control faces every day is chasing down stray male dogs that are still intact. Get them neutered and a lot of that goes away,” he said.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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