County moves to euthanize fewer animals in shelter

County moves to euthanize fewer animals in shelter

Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle (MI)County moves to euthanize fewer animals in shelter Volunteers could help increase adoption rate HEIDI ROMAN C & G Staff Writer Published: March 26, 2008 MACOMB COUNTY – County officials decided last week to make a better effort to get unwanted and stray animals into good homes, agreeing to open the Macomb County Animal Shelter’s doors to volunteers willing to help out. The Board of Commissioners voted to work toward becoming a “no-kill” facility by the year 2010 by trying to reduce the number of healthy animals euthanized after winding up in the shelter in Clinton Township.

The concept was proposed by

Commissioner Carey Torrice, who represents northern Clinton Township. She organized a petition trying to recruit an army of volunteers who will help increase the county’s adoption rate.

“There are all sorts of things we can do to move it along,” Torrice said. “Macomb County is in the Dark Ages.”

Torrice argues there are methods of finding adoptive homes for animals that have yet to be explored. By preventing volunteers to help, Torrice says the county was missing the boat.

In 2006, the county animal shelter took in 14,300 animals, according to the Macomb County Health Department 2006 Annual Report. That includes animals that were wild, that were given up by their owners, taken in as strays, and even road kill or animals dead upon arrival.

Of those, about 1,300 or 9.4 percent were adopted, according to the report, and about 1,200 animals were returned to their owners.

Oakland County has adopted a “no-kill” concept, and is working on achieving the goal by 2010.

But unlike the Oakland County shelter, the Macomb County animal shelter does not chose which animals it will take in, and also accepts animals from local rescue leagues or shelters that will not take an animal. That means many animals who are hurt or sick wind up in the county shelter, said Commissioner Philis DeSaele, who represents northern Sterling Heights and Utica. DeSaele is chair of the county’s Health Services Committee, which oversees the animal shelter.

When agreeing to the no-kill concept, the county board specified that it would focus its efforts on “adoptable and treatable” animals.

“I don’t know if we can ever be totally kill-free,” DeSaele said, “but we could at least do a better job than we’re doing – a lot better.”

DeSaele said there are already measurers being taken to increase the adoption rate. Last year, the county purchased camera equipment that will allow the shelter to put photos of adoptable pets on Web sites like

Employees just need to be trained on the equipment to get started in the program.

“We know we can do better, and we’re working on that,” DeSaele said.

To start, the county agreed to waive the fee that many adoption and rescue agencies have had to pay in order to take an animal from the facility and care for it until it’s adopted.

Torrice also hopes to increase the county animal shelter’s presence at events like Pet-a-Palooza at Freedom Hill County Park or the Bark in the Park at Stony Creek Metropark. The events have a high rate of adoption, but Torrice says Macomb County doesn’t send nearly as many pets to the event as Oakland County does.

Having extra volunteers could help in that respect. It takes manpower to bring the animals to the event and sit at the booths in hopes of finding adopters.

Volunteers will also be able to walk and feed the animals at the shelter, so the county wouldn’t need to pay extra employees to do so.

Details of the effort to reduce euthanasia are still being researched and worked out.

You can reach Staff Writer Heidi Roman at [email protected] or at (586) 218-5006. Copyright, 2008, Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle (MI), All Rights ReserveD SPEAK UP FOR ANIMALS

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