By Akshita Verma
Ingham County Chronicle
The first thing one notices when walking into the Ingham County Animal Control Shelter is a room full of cats of all different colors and personalities.
Some cats are energetic while some are hostile. All are in need of a home.
Finding a home for domesticated animals is the shelter’s job, according to Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator Ashley Hayes.
“We house all domesticated animals,” said Hayes. “We have had everything from birds, lizards, snakes and guinea pigs. We even get farm animals like pigs and goats.”
The Ingham County Animal Control Shelter was established in 1971, and all of its basic needs are paid for by the county.
“The county provides food, water, and shelter for the animals. However, special events, special programs like low cost vaccinations, these things are covered by donations by the public,” said Hayes.
The public can help the shelter pay for their programs and events by attending the multiple fundraisers the shelter does throughout the year, according to Hayes.
According to Hayes, there was a fundraiser just last saturday to raise money for a new shelter. Right now, there is a fundraiser to help cover costs for New Pets for Vets.
“New Pets for Vets, on Nov. 8, is an events we do to honor Veteran’s Day,” said Hayes.
After this, there will be a fundraiser to help cover the cost for the lower adoption fees that the shelter will do for their holiday open house and their holiday all nighter.
“Our holiday all nighter is when we try to get all the animals homes for the holidays,” said Hayes.
The holiday time isn’t the only time the shelter does lower adoption fees. According to Hayes, every wednesday is Whisker Wednesday.
Whisker Wednesday is when the cat adoption fees are free and the dog adoption fees are half off.
To adopt a pet, one needs to come to the shelter, spend some time with the animals, see which one’s personality matches the owner’s, and then fill out an application. After, one needs to talk to a member of the staff about the pet’s needs and how that would affect a set lifestyle.
Other than being in charge of sheltering animals and pet adoptions, the Ingham County Animal Control Shelter is also responsible for responding to nuisance calls and abuse and neglect calls.
In particular, the animal control officers are responsible for this.
“The officers are there to protect people from animals and animals from people,” said Hayes.
“We are one of the top animal control and shelters in the nation. Our officers and staff are really progressive, and one of our officers just won a national award.”
Jodi Lebombard is the animal control officer who was awarded the National Animal Control Association’s award for her work in 2013.
According to Hayes, Lebombard has been with the shelter since 2009.
“She is a great animal welfare officer, she is always asking for the animal welfare calls. She takes the toughest cases, and she has seen a lot of bad stuff,” said Hayes.
The public can also help with animal welfare in the animal shelter by volunteering.
“Our volunteers can log up to 14,000 hours a year,” said Hayes. “Without them, we would be lost. They are the only way we can afford to run the shelter.”
Besides the volunteers, there are 19 member in the staff. This includes dispatchers, director and deputy director, volunteer coordinator, office coordinator, redemption clerks, and kennel staff.