Ingham County outreach center helps owners afford to take care of their pets

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By Kellie Van Maele
Ingham County Chronicle

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich.— The volunteer-run Ingham County Animal Control Outreach Center is helping pets throughout the county. The outreach center provides pet owners with the proper pet supplies at an affordable rate. The need for the outreach center became apparent in 2012, and the center opened in January 2013.

“The previous animal shelter director noticed that a lot of the animal abuse and neglect calls that the police department was getting had to do with unintentional neglect,” Ashley Hayes, volunteer coordinator of the outreach center, said. “The pet owners did not mean to neglect their pets, but when you don’t have enough money to buy food for your family, it’s hard to care for a pet.”

The outreach center receives donations from the community, which include pet food, toys, treats, dog houses and other necessities.

“Our goal is to provide assistance and education for pet owners,” Hayes said. “We want to provide supplies at a low cost so that family’s pets can stay safe and at home and not end up in the animal shelter.”

Volunteers help to keep the center in operation, and many provide foster care for animals in the shelter as well.

“I am currently fostering six rabbits, one goat and one dog,” Cathy Baker, volunteer at the outreach center said. “I love interacting with the animals. We actually just updated our pole barn at home in order to house the rabbits on one side and the goat on the other. It’s so much fun.”

Volunteers at the center enjoy fostering animals because it allows them to watch the animals grow and eventually find a home.

“I mostly foster cats,” said Julie Mizner, volunteer at the center. “I will take female cats in when they are pregnant, help with the birth, and then raise the kittens until they are two pounds. After that, they are fixed and put up for adoption.”

Hayes said the opportunity to run the shelter is a blessing, and she is very thankful for her volunteers.

Visit the Ingham County Animal Shelter outreach center website to make a donation.

“We hope to continue to provide for pet owners in Ingham County,” Hayes said. “And the fact that we can help to save animals’ lives is something very special.”

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