The 2013 Michigan Shelters by Save and Live Release Rate report available through the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance provides some statistics that should ground your thinking when you begin looking into the management practices, adoption successes, community outreach initiatives and on the darker side, euthanasia rates of animal rescues in Michigan. For comparison look at the 2013 shelter report data on four big players in animal welfare:
- Detroit Animal Control
- Macomb County Animal Control Shelter
- Michigan Humane Society
- Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center
A dismal 2.77% save rate for Detroit Animal Control is reflective of the 6,127 animals taken in, with zero adoptions, 170 animals returned to owners and a fortunate 1,406 animals were transferred out leaving 4,490 animals reported destroyed.
The Macomb County Animal Control Shelter was reported as having a save rate of 54.49%, up 20.44% from their 2012 reported numbers. Of their 2,973 animal intakes 1,129 were adopted, 491 were reunited with their owners, 72 were transferred leaving 829 euthanized.
The Michigan Humane Society, operating 3 shelters in Detroit, Westland and Rochester boasted a 63.88% saved rate, up 27.6% from 2012. Of the 12,087 intakes 7,486 were adopted, 235 were reunited with owners, 157 were transferred and a euthanasia total of 4,229.
The Oakland County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center had a save rate reported of 52.41%, unfortunately down 12.16% from 2012. With 6,611 animals taken in they adopted out 2,495, reunited 970 with their owners, transferred 16 animals and euthanized 1,430.
The need in the numbers
The save rates may incrementally go up or go down over the course of years for any given shelter, the management and mission may change and the makeup of each county, city and township may fluctuate with the economy and other trends. Regardless of these factors and considering the effect of laws and local ordinances, funding and fundraising, and the resources and community support of each of these organizations listed as examples above, the kill rate is entirely and inexcusably too high. We must fight this from many fronts.
- We must spay/neuter our pets and provide affordable and accessible options for families that can’t afford to do this for their pet’s welfare.
- We must teach our children how to provide care and kindness to their own pets, how to respect the space of pets that are not their own and the value of life so as to not propagate in our culture evils such as animal torture and abuse and dog fighting.
- We must work in our neighborhoods to reflect the unconditional love our pets show but giving them proper shelter in our homes, exercise, play, good nutrition and proper vet care. Starving, abandoned and chained pets should never again be a sight passed over as normal.
- We must call out those that use pets for profit, breeding them for the sake of a dollar and a quick sale with neglect, physical disorders and emotional scars of those pets being a burden passed on to unknowing owners.
- We must take careful stock of our own lifestyle, schedule and really evaluate our ability to commit to a whole lifetime with a pet and not use animals shelters or back alleys as a dumping ground when things get difficult or inconvenient.
- We must give our time, money and attention through donations, fostering, volunteering and sharing through social media to support and sustain the organizations that are best at accomplishing their mission to shelter, care for and re-home Michigan’s homeless animals.
DDR: Detroit’s new hope
In 2011 Detroit Dog Rescue was born from a denial to allow TV cameras to document Detroit’s homeless dog population. The stray dog epidemic in Detroit is typical of any sprawling, urban area that also suffers from a weak economy, declining population and decaying neighborhoods. Founder Detroit rapper Daniel “Hush” Carlisle and co-founder Emmy-nominated TV producer Monica Martino set out to make a difference in Detroit one dog at a time. The culmination of their efforts, with credit to DDR staff and many volunteers and community supporters the Detroit Dog Rescue has secured licensing to operate the first no-kill animal shelter in Detroit’s history. Serving between 40 and 60 dogs at any given time between its facility and foster program DDR is by no means a high capacity facility, but with this new status as a no-kill shelter DDR is set to be a great redeemer for stray, abused and difficult to place dogs in Detroit.