The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society will open the new Thomas A. Mackey Animal Adoption Center in Harper Woods in the fall of 2019.

The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society will open the new Thomas A. Mackey Animal Adoption Center in Harper Woods in the fall of 2019.

Photo by Deb Jacques


GPAAS announces new animal adoption center in Harper Woods

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published May 14, 2019

 Grosse Pointe Animal  Adoption Society President Corinne Martin shows off an album of artists recorded at the Hideout recording studio in Harper Woods. Her organization purchased the  former studio to use as a new animal adoption center. They will attempt to retain memorabilia  from the building’s musical past.

Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society President Corinne Martin shows off an album of artists recorded at the Hideout recording studio in Harper Woods. Her organization purchased the former studio to use as a new animal adoption center. They will attempt to retain memorabilia from the building’s musical past.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Martin stands in the dog run area of the organization’s building. Unlike its other facility, this one will be open to  the public and will allow local residents to  look at dogs available  for adoption.

Martin stands in the dog run area of the organization’s building. Unlike its other facility, this one will be open to the public and will allow local residents to look at dogs available for adoption.

Photo by Deb Jacques

HARPER WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society formally announced the founding of a new animal adoption center in Harper Woods May 9.

The adoption center will be known as the Thomas A. Mackey Animal Adoption Center. It will be used in addition to its current shelter located in Harper Woods with the goal of taking animals that are homeless and finding them homes so they don’t get euthanized.

“This would be different than the current shelter,” explained GPAAS President Corinne Martin. “Our current shelter is not a walk-through shelter. Because we have the police bringing animals to us and we receive animals who aren’t vaccinated or immunized, we can’t have the public walking through it. Someone could potentially get bitten, and that would be an enormous amount of liability, so all of our adoptions have been off-site since we started 25 years ago.”

The organization had its annual Gimme Shelter fundraiser May 9 in St. Clair Shores, when it officially unveiled the project to the community. Present at the event was the new facility’s key donor and namesake: Thomas Mackey, a retired investment banker from Grosse Pointe Farms.

“We have a donor named Thomas Mackey who gave a large amount of money to the Michigan Humane Society to open a facility a year ago. We convinced him that we had a need for an animal adoption center,” said Martin. “We have not started refitting (the new building) yet. We need a new roof and need to make renovations that need to be approved by the state. We want to get it up and running in the next six months. We will need capital. After we announce it, we’ll be seeking additional donors.”

Martin said construction and remodeling of the facility is planned for completion by September.

Mackey has long been a supporter of efforts to improve animal welfare and improving communities through groups such as the GPAAS. Throughout his life, he has given more than $3 million to the Michigan Humane Society alone.

“I’ve known about the GPAAS for some time,” said Mackey. “Corrine does a great job, and they’ve had to move from one place to another to show off the animals and collect them, and the opportunity arose here to do something. I’ve done a lot for the Michigan Humane Society, and this would be something that would help in this community. It should do some good in the local community.”

Martin said there is a strong need for a dedicated adoption center in the Harper Woods area.

“If you live on the east side, you need to go up to Macomb County or go to the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit to adopt,” she said. “When we opened the shelter in 2012, we anticipated an intake of 250 animals a year, and we are receiving almost 600 animals a year. We are overcrowded, and we just serve the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. The concept of expanding ourselves came about naturally, and we were able to make it a reality because of Mr. Mackey.”

The building has a rich history in the area, and the GPAAS is hoping to memorialize part of that history.

“We have purchased the property in March. It’s at 20542 Harper Ave. in Harper Woods,” said Martin. “It was built in 1949 and was a (Veterans of Foreign Wars) hall. Between 1964 and 1969 it was called ‘The Hideout,’ and there was a record label that operated there. The guys who started it, David Leone and Punch Andrews, would rent it out every Friday night and offer tickets to local kids for concerts. This included people like MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, and Bob Seger. Bob Seger’s first record was actually on their label, Hideout Records. We are reaching out to some of the musicians from the old days to get memorabilia and autographs for our new facility.” 

Mackey said he supported the new facility because of the work the GPAAS has done in the past and the hardworking attitude of its workers and volunteers.

“They’ve been very successful. They’ve been doing it for years,” he said. “Corrine is a workhorse. Even now, she’s working with the buildings and the architects, fundraising for the organization and working full time with the animals. They allow this adoption process to happen and do it in a responsible way that benefits people and the animals. This fills a very definite need, in my opinion.”

Martin and Mackey both said this should be a considerable improvement for the local community.

“By making a permanent home for adoptions, it gives them a real base of operations with all the special equipment and necessities that they would need to handle a whole lot more animals,” said Mackey. “Everything for the GPAAS comes from public donations, and none comes from government money. … I think this new project will be a huge success.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.