Dogs, Cats and Bunnies, Oh My!

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The Capital Area Humane Society rescues and finds new homes for animals that have been mistreated or left behind. 

Humane Society overview

The Humane Society of the United States, with over 10 million members, rescues all kinds of animals across the country. The condition these animals are found in can range drastically. Some may come from homes that simply could no longer care for them, others may come from abusive and neglected homes. Each year the Human Society rescues, fosters, and arranged adoptions for countless animals. Finding homes for these animals is the end goal which Humane Society employees strive for. 

Humane Society in the Lansing community

The Capital Area Humane Society, located at 7095 W Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI, has changed the lives of these animals as well as the families who adopt them since 1936. The CAHS can hold 400 animals at a time with specific sections of the facility dedicated to different animals. In 2020 alone the shelter found homes for an average of 16 or more animals per day, which adds up to an animal finding a home every 26 minutes during operating hours.

The 48 shelter employees work to provide the best care possible for the animals that fall into their care. Volunteers also provide help when it comes to caring for the animals. Every year volunteers donate about 36,000 hours of their time to support the work done at the shelter.

First hand experience 

Lexy Ritenburgh, the shelter’s community relations manager, started working for the CAHS back in 2016 as a member of the animal care department helping with day-to-day care of the animals. In the spring of 2017 she became an adoption counselor, a position that helps with the matchmaking of the animals with families. 

Now in her current position as the community relations manager she oversees the volunteer programs, education, community outreach, and media, including TV and radio. 

“ I oversee all of our shelter emails, any person inquiring about tours or a person coming into the shelter or someone wanting to donate. I also make sure all of our volunteers are healthy and happy while they are here…In the summer I spend most of my days overseeing and teaching our humane education camps,” Ritenburg said. 

She started working at the shelter while attending Michigan State University when she realized how much she enjoyed helping in an active way.

 “There are a lot more hands-on opportunities here with the animals and I feel we are able to have a large impact in our local community,” Ritenburgh said. 

Volunteering is an essential part to the shelter’s impact on the local community. “The volunteer program here starts at ages eight and up. You can come in and work with our animals, socialize with the cats and walk the dogs. We have so many opportunities both hands-on and less hands-on too,” Ritenburg said. 

The animals that make their way to the CAHS come from all different situations.

 “About 60% of our animals come in from our community as owner surrenders, so they are brought to our shelter by their guardians who are no longer able to care for them and then it is up to us to find them new homes. The other 40% come in from other facilities, most of them being local facilities,” Ritenburg said. 

While the time these animals spend in the care of the shelter can vary depending on the animals condition, most find homes quickly, 

“It is about an average stay of 11 days, which is great. All our animals will stay here in the shelter or in a foster home until they find a forever home,” Ritenburgh said. 

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