By SHEILA SCHIMPF
Capital News Service
LANSING – About $135,000 in funds donated by taxpayers who ticked a box on their state income tax forms will go to 23 registered animal shelters throughout the state. The Animal Welfare Fund grants range from $175 to $10,000, and many will be used for spay and neuter programs, staff education and to cover the cost of housing animals involved in legal cases, according to Jennifer Holton, a communications representative for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. But, she said, some of the money will go to innovative programs that teach children how to take care of animals. Grants for three such programs will finance public education on pet care on local television, a visit to a school with shelter pets to talk about animal care and a virtual fostering program that allows a classroom to follow the course of a shelter pet’s experience. Gladwin County Animal Shelter in Beaverton will get $10,000, its first grant from the Animal Welfare Fund, said Krystal Moore, one of its officers.
“I have been here longer than any other dog. Please give me my second chance,” a sign reads on the cage of 7-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Redbone Coonhound-mix Zoie. Fortunately for animals like Zoie, things are looking up: Capital Area Humane Society received new grant funding, and adoption rates and volunteer numbers are high. The humane society, located at 7095 W. Grand River Ave., is not funded by government. “We’re completely independent,” said development, events and grant manager Jamie Fuhr. “We don’t take tax money or anything like that.”
Fuhr said that their funding is comprised exclusively of donations from the public and the fees they collect for their services, including their adoption and spay and neuter fees. PetSmart Charities recently awarded Capital Area Humane Society a $135,000 grant payable over two years, according to Fuhr. “This grant will end up spaying and neutering about 2,400 cats,” Fuhr said. “And this is actually the second phase that we’re doing.” Two years ago, they received a grant that allowed them to spay and neuter 2,800 cats.