Pets to go trick-or-treating at shelter fundraiser

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 16, 2018

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Some people see their pets as furry four-legged kids. So why shouldn’t pets get to join in the fun of trick-or-treating? 

An upcoming fundraiser for the Madison Heights Animal Shelter will offer just that. 

The family-friendly event, titled “Howl-o-ween,” will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Madison Heights Department of Public Services, 801 Ajax Drive. Dogs and cats are invited to attend. Cats must be crated or wearing a harness and leash.  

The cost is $2 per adult. Kids and pets get in free. There will be stations set up around the DPS building and the adjacent animal shelter yard where people can take their pets trick-or-treating, collecting all sorts of goodies — chew toys, pet accessories, tasty treats, tennis balls, pooper scooper bags and more.

There will also be a bake sale selling homemade goods, a small rummage sale, prize raffles and shelter T-shirts available for sale. All proceeds will benefit the animal shelter.  

“It’s just like how kids go trick-or-treating for candy, but for the pets instead,” said the city’s former animal control officer, Suzette Gysel, now the administrative secretary for the police chief and deputy police chief.

The shelter does fundraising throughout the year at local restaurants and during events such as pictures with Santa at the Madison Heights Public Library. This year’s Santa pictures will be held Dec. 8. 

But Gysel felt there should be an event earlier in the holiday season, around Halloween. To the best of her knowledge, this event is the first of its kind in the area.

“I think it’s going to be a total blast,” Gysel said. “The shelter volunteers are excited. If people want to dress up their pets, they can, but they don’t have to. It’s fine showing up in their fur coats. We’ll have lots of fun either way.” 

Fundraising is critically important for the shelter. The city only budgets for basics like food, so when an animal comes in requiring immediate medical attention, the only way to pay for surgery and other treatment is with money donated to the shelter. The same goes for spaying and neutering, rabies and distemper shots, flea preventative and more.

“We just had a kitten that went through surgery (the first week of October), and it was over $1,000 for just that one kitten to have surgery,” Gysel said. 

The hot summer was especially bad for fleas, since the pests thrive on heat and humidity. 

“These fundraisers are the only way we can afford to get animals the medical attention that they need,” Gysel said.

Justin Holland is the city’s new animal control officer. He said the shelter generally sees fewer animals as the weather gets colder. The challenge becomes booking them for medical appointments, since the clinics are often inundated with animals requiring care at this time. 

“We do find animals in varying states of health, including animals off the streets in immediate need of care. And it can mean everything for those animals to be treated right away — not only for their survival, but for becoming adoptable pets,” Holland said. “These animals weren’t lost or abandoned for any fault of their own, so the least we can do is piece them back together and get them into a loving home.” 

The Madison Heights Animal Shelter can be reached by calling (248) 837-2784.