Animal shelters struggling as holidays approach
Photo by Erin Sanchez
Roman is tiny and only five months old, but he wasn’t expected to live very long. The white Pomeranian who was found tied up outside a local animal shelter had serious heart problems, and his future was uncertain.
Almost Home Animal Haven in Southfield, a no-kill shelter, refused to turn him away. They took care of the little pup, brought him to Michigan State University to have heart surgery and picked up the tab.
“The surgery was a huge success,” said Gail Montgomery, owner of Almost Home, more proud of the little guy and hopeful that he’ll now be able to find a good home than she is terrified that the shelter’s credit card is now maxed out.
Such is the case with many animal shelters right now. Because of the economy, these do-good business owners are really struggling.
“We are having terrible financial problems,” Montgomery said, adding that she’s forked over thousands of dollars of her own money to keep the shelter afloat. “We’re not getting as many donations; we’re not getting as many adoptions; and we have some really, really cute dogs and cats right now.”
The Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan in Madison Heights is feeling similar strain.
“Adoptions have been slower than typical, so that means there are (fewer) animals we can save,” said Jessica Sarcona, vice president of the no-kill nonprofit rescue and shelter. “Definitely, with today’s times, we have a lot more animals that need homes than any days before. We do offer free food to people who can’t afford it, hoping that if someone has lost their job, they can still keep their pets.”
As the holidays approach, donations tend to increase as local residents get into the giving spirit. But this year may be different than most.
“The economy is so bad. I think people are so strapped right now, so they donate less and want to take care of their families for the holidays,” Montgomery said. “But I feel it’s our responsibility to care for these animals. I look into their eyes, and I can’t choose. Once they come to us, we can’t say no. We feel that every life is precious. They come in sick and unadoptable, but we make them better emotionally, physically, medically — we spend thousands of dollars perhaps on one dog or cat.”
Recently, Montgomery had to rent a trailer to house excess animals after the city’s animal warden brought in 21 cats that were removed from one house. The shelter’s contract with the city mandates that they take in every animal found in Southfield, which is a struggle, Montgomery said, when adoption rates decrease. But generous foster families help keep the population down at the shelter.
Anyone interested in fostering, adopting or donating to Almost Home can contact the facility at (248) 200-2695 or visit www.almosthomeanimals.org. Donations can also be made by sending a check to Almost Home at P.O. Box 250602, West Bloomfield, MI 48325.
Anyone interested in fostering, adopting or donating to the Animal Welfare Society can call (248) 548-1150 or visit www.animalwelfaresociety.net. Donations can be sent to 27796 John R. Madison Heights, MI 48071.The Michigan Humane Society also has three adoption centers, in Detroit, in Rochester Hills and in Westland. For more information, visit www.michiganhumane.org.
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