State promotes spaying, neutering of pets

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Capital News Service
LANSING — Grants to support spaying and neutering in Michigan shelters will help save animal lives, experts say.
Steve Hall, the director of the Jackson County Animal Shelter, received $9,173 from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to allow his shelter to pay for more work time from its veterinarian.
“That would allow us to spay or neuter an additional 312 animals, and that is 312 animals that would otherwise be euthanized,” Hall said.
Dave Burke, a veterinarian and the president of the board of directors of the Cherryland Humane Society in Traverse City, said spaying and neutering increase adoption rates.
“An animal that is already neutered or spayed has a higher probability of being adopted because the people think that this is one additional expense they don’t have to worry about,” Burke said. “They also don’t have to worry about a dog or cat in heat, or a male cat or dog running around chasing females.”
Making sure an animal is spayed or neutered before it leaves a shelter guarantees that the job gets done, Burke said.
Hall said state law requires all animals to be spayed or neutered prior to leaving a shelter unless a contract is signed requiring that the procedure be done later.
But that system has flaws: “We didn’t have compliance. People didn’t follow through with spay and neuter agreements,” Hall said.
Fifteen agencies will split $134,253, through grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, according to the department.
Burke said the grants are helpful for nonprofit shelters.
“All nonprofits have been hurt by the downturn in the economy, so a lot of the things that we were planning on doing, like spaying and neutering all animals, we just weren’t able to due to lack of funds,” Burke said.
Debbie Oberle, director of Livingston County Animal Control, said that without the grant, her shelter would take in fewer animals. She also said the money that would have paid for spaying and neutering is now available to treat injuries and save more animals from being put down.
The grants come through the Animal Welfare Fund. Established in 2007, it is funded through donations made by taxpayers on their state tax returns. The program has raised $356,454 since 2010 and has assisted 39 projects, according to the department.
The department will ask for more grant proposals next October.
© 2012, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.

Shelter Name City Amount
Allen Park Police Department Allen Park $10,000
Al-Van Humane Society South Haven $10,000
AuSable Valley Animal Shelter Grayling $5,000
Cherryland Humane Society Traverse City $10,000
Madison Heights Animal Control Madison Heights $10,000
Elk Country Animal Shelter Atlanta $5,000
Humane Society of West Michigan Grand Rapids $10,000
Ionia County Animal Shelter Ionia $10,000
Jackson County Animal Shelter Jackson $9,173
K-9 Stray Rescue League Oxford $10,000
Muskegon County Animal Control Muskegon $10,000
Livingston County Animal Control Howell $10,000
Paradise Animal Rescue Columbiaville $8,080
Pet Resource Network, Inc. Otsego $7,000
Roscommon County Animal Control Prudenville $10,000
Source: Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

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