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Upcoming event to help animal shelter with unexpected costs

Nov. 10 fundraiser at Big Boy will benefit Madison Heights Animal Shelter

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 30, 2015

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The economy may be showing signs of recovery, but money is still tight at the Madison Heights Animal Shelter.

“It’s still a lean year — we don’t have any non-lean years,” said Suzette Gysel, the city’s animal control officer. “Trying to get funding, whether through grants or budget or whatever, is a total struggle each day.”

Gysel and her volunteers strive to save every animal that comes through the shelter doors. This includes severe cases such as Monte the Rottweiler, who arrived at the shelter in October and became very ill. It turned out he was having intestinal issues that required surgery. The dog was saved and will be OK, but just like that, the shelter had to pay for medical work costing thousands.

At press time, they were on track to raise the money needed via a campaign on GoFundMe, but Monte is not the first emergency the shelter has had, and he probably won’t be the last. And it’s not just the ill and wounded animals that take a toll on the shelter’s finances. Everyday costs like food for the animals, cat litter and more are a constant drain on shelter resources.

Which is why fundraisers are crucial, and the main one is coming up soon. On Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Big Boy at 30460 John R Road in Madison Heights, 20 percent of your food purchases will be donated to the Madison Heights Animal Shelter when you show them the flier.

The flier is available at the shelter’s Facebook page, which can be found by searching “Madison Heights Animal Control.” No Facebook account is needed to view the page.

There will also be a raffle for prizes throughout the event.

The shelter is also always in need of certain supplies, such as pet food (specifically Purina One Smart Blends Chicken and Rice, Purina Cat Chow, and Friskies Canned Pate Cat Food), as well as cat litter, Front Line Plus flea treatment for cats and dogs, Dawn dish soap, Milk-Bone dog treats, Nylabones, bleach and paper towels.

Gysel said the shelter usually has room at this time of the year, but is just about full right now since they’ve been having trouble finding homes for their dogs. She said there are many cats and dogs at the shelter that are friendly and people-loving. Monte himself is still young enough to seem like a puppy, yet he’s past the destructive house-chewing phase.

“He’s very affectionate,” Gysel said.

The dogs should be a bit happier now that a dog run was installed at the end of October, allowing the dogs to move in and out of the shelter. Action Fence Company installed the fence. And earlier this year, fundraising efforts helped the shelter renovate and expand the building so the dogs could be kept separate from the cats. This reduces stress for the animals, keeping them healthy, which in turn makes them more adoptable.

Brian Hartwell, a former city councilman who at press time was running for mayor, praised Gysel’s humane approach to the animals and her ability to achieve a lot with a little.

“If it wasn’t for Suzette, her vision and the group of volunteers, I suspect the shelter would’ve been closed years ago,” Hartwell said. “Without Suzette’s leadership, the shelter could’ve been an easy thing for the city to cut. She’s made do with very limited funds, providing a humane existence for the animals brought there. And those humane policies of placing animals in no-kill shelters comes from Suzette’s heart — it’s not a city law that forces her to do it. So if — heaven forbid — she ever retires, the city should catalog everything she does so the next leader follows the example she set.”

The fundraiser will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Big Boy at 30460 John R in Madison Heights. Twenty percent of your food purchases will be donated to the Madison Heights Animal Shelter when you show them the flier available at the shelter’s Facebook page, which can be found by searching “Madison Heights Animal Control.” No Facebook account is required.

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