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HARRISON – The Clare County Animal Shelter will be hosting a Saturday pet adoptions-only event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 to provide a more convenient time for all, particularly those who may be unable to visit during the shelter’s regular weekday hours. This event will be staffed by some of the many fine volunteers who give of their personal time to ensure that animals entering the shelter are well cared for and provided their best chance to find a new home.
The shelter is designed to accommodate roughly 60 animals, including space for about 40 cats and kittens. This year has seen an unusually sustained number of dogs, many of them unclaimed strays.
With all county departments having been required to cut their budgets back to 2017 levels, the animal shelter has had to trim costs as well. For a department that offers spay-neuter services and immunization clinics on top of its obligation to answer calls to subdue animals perceived as threats and rescue animals in dire situations, the cuts will mean serious belt-tightening. Although Animal Control Director Rudi Hicks has been highly successful in securing grant funding for spay-neuter clinics, and some veterinarians offer their services for reduced or no cost, there will still be great reliance on volunteers – and food donations.
The selfless efforts of Clare County Animal Control have earned many accolades. In 2015, the shelter was acclaimed by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance as the Most Improved Animal Shelter [of medium size] in Michigan and recognized the shelter’s significant rise in animal adoptions over the previous year. In that year, the shelter handled 1,086 animals. Additionally, the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers named it Shelter of the Year in 2017, and MAACO also named Bob Dodson its 2018 Animal Control Officer of the Year.
A large part of being able to properly care for these animals is having adequate facilities. To help accomplish that, the shelter added five new outdoor pens to the existing five in 2016 with a new roof overall [grant funded]. It also added 30 new stand-up dog cages in 2018, freeing up the smaller, stacked dog cages for use as roomier cat cages.
Unfortunately, the need to champion those creatures continues. That is why Animal Control is dogged in its efforts to see that animal abusers are held legally accountable for their actions. While it can be difficult to pursue such cases, the efforts of Animal Control and the Clare County Prosecuting Attorney continue and have yielded jail sentences: one in recent weeks for the killing of a dog and one in 2018 for the cold, intentional and continued knife mutilation of another dog. Both resulted in jail time for the perpetrators.
Ideally, the best answer to the cost for animal housing and care is to have no animals to care for at all. To that end, county residents have an opportunity Sept. 15 to do their part. Stop by the Clare County Animal Shelter, 4038 Hazel Road, off Cranberry Lake Road north of Harrison, to see if that “just right” heart-tugging critter is waiting for not only a home – but waiting for its just right “you.”
For more information, call the shelter at 989-539-3221. One of those heart-of-gold volunteers will be ready to assist.