SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Now in its eighth year, Michigan’s largest walk for animals will expand to Stony Creek Metropark Oct. 6. Registration and check-in starts at 9 a.m., and the two-mile walk will launch at 10 a.m.
“The Michigan Humane Society is excited to expand the Mega March for Animals to this incredibly beautiful venue, and hopes it will encourage even more animal lovers to get involved in helping homeless animals,” said MHS Events Coordinator Sarah Nagel. “With its scenic nature paths through the woods and lake views, the walk event at the Stony Creek Metropark is sure to be enjoyable for all the participants and their canine companions.”
According to the MHS website, last year’s walks at Kensington Metropark in Milford and Hart Plaza in Detroit attracted 7,000 animal lovers and hundreds of their companions and raised enough money to change the lives of more than 2,300 animals in need.
This year, organizers hope to grow the event.
So far, individual and team efforts raised more than $370,000 through the Mega March website, www.michiganhumanesociety.com/mega.
In order to participate in the walk, pet owners may register online at the website listed above or register the day of the event at Stony Creek Nature Center, located at 4300 Main Park Drive in Shelby Township.
“Registering online is easy. People can donate to the Mega March or start their own fundraising page or donate to a team or individual that’s walking,” said Ryan McTigue, the MHS public relations coordinator. The donation phone number, he added, is (248) 283-5644.
McTigue said that, on average, it takes $156 for one animal to get the care it needs.
“The need varies upon the animal,” he said. “Sometimes, they require extra medical attention, medication, and things like that cost money. Every animal is going to require food, water, care and, of course, a clean area.”
McTigue added that the MHS does not receive any state or federal funding, nor does it have affiliations with any national humane organizations, so it is solely the support of the donating community that keeps the organization going.
“The event raises critical funds for the Michigan Humane Society,” McTigue said.
He said the money raised from the march goes toward a variety of MHS outlets, including the Cruelty Investigation and Rescue Team, veterinary service and the cost of sheltering and caring for animals.
Luckily, he said, the MHS sees a relatively quick turnaround from when an animal is brought to an MHS shelter to when it finds a loving home, although it is something the organization always strives to improve.
Last year, McTigue, a Birmingham native, participated in the event at Hart Plaza in Detroit, and he also will attend the inaugural event at Stony Creek Metropark next month.
“It’s a fun, festive thing for animal lovers of all ages to come out and enjoy with their animals,” he said. “I saw a lot of dogs making dog friends and a lot of people making people friends.”
He said the Stony Creek Metropark will be a great venue, but encouraged pet owners to keep dogs and cats on leashes or in carriers, and to leave at home animals not as comfortable in crowds. He also warned that the trails are unpaved.
Another walk will take place Oct. 6 at Kensington Metropark in Milford, and the grand finale will see hundreds of pets march through downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza Oct. 13. Registration/check-in for all events begins at 9 a.m., and the two-mile walks will kick off at 10 a.m.
Entry to the park is $5, but participation in the event is free. Those walking with a pet are asked to bring the pet’s current vaccination records.
For more information about the MHS’s Mega March for Animals, call (248) 283-1000, ext. 149, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.