Each year the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Industry Division distributes thousands of donated dollars to animal shelters in Michigan through Animal Welfare Fund grants. This year, the fund will provide approximately $135,000 to 23 registered animal shelters throughout the state.
The Kent County Animal Shelter and Montcalm County Animal Shelter both made the list of grant recipients. Kent County will received $2,250 in funding, and Montcalm $6,100.
Since 2010, the Animal Welfare Fund, provided for by tax check-off monies from generous Michigan taxpayers, has distributed more than $967,000 to 131 facilities. The funds go directly to registered shelters to increase the number of adoptions through spay and neuter programs, improve staff knowledge of proper animal care through educational programs and training, and assist shelters with unreimbursed costs of care for animals housed for legal investigations.
“These funds allowed one shelter to increase dog adoptions by 63 percent and cat adoptions by 23 percent, providing more opportunities for animals to be taken into their shelter,” said Dr. James Averill, MDARD’s State Veterinarian. “Thanks to the generous support of Michiganders, local shelters across Michigan have more opportunities to make a positive impact in their community.”
This year MDARD received 68 applications totaling over $580,000 in requests. Some of the innovative projects chosen this year included:
*Public education outreach campaign, in collaboration with a popular local television station and its advertising team, to increase the public’s knowledge of the proper care of pets.
*In-house assembly at the local school with selected shelter pets teaching students about animal care and handling, the importance of spaying and neutering, recognizing and reporting neglect or abuse, among other topics.
*Take home handouts and puzzles for an “in-class fostering” program at a school where a shelter pet is virtually fostered. The shelter pet’s information and photos are kept in the classroom and the students help raise funds and promote the shelter pet’s adoption.