During the pandemic, the Humane Society of Midland County continued to protect dogs and cats and move them to new homes.
The Humane Society at 4371 East Ashman Street housed 1,028 dogs and 943 cats with families in 2020.
“From the very beginning (after the pandemic), shelters were seen as a vital service so we never had to empty them completely,” said Beth Wellman, director of the Humane Society’s shelter. “We closed for a few weeks and put the animals in foster homes. We still had our adoption lists online, but we quickly realized that we can safely be open.”
Wellman said the shelter barely missed a beat during the pandemic.
As in many public places, last April the shelter installed a large Plexiglas divider around its desk area for health reasons.
The Humane Society is currently only open by appointment from Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter number is 989-835-1877.
“We need people to call (first) to adopt or bring in an animal,” Wellman said.
It has been widely reported that in the past year, many people adopted pets while working from home during a pandemic-related stay, and Wellman said when many of those people returned to work in person, they generally did not give up on these pets .
“Many people were concerned that when they went back to work they would give up any dog or cat they took in,” she said. “We didn’t see that. Those numbers didn’t increase … there was no correlation between strays and the pandemic.”
Compared to 2020 numbers, the 2019 Midland Shelter housed 1,133 dogs and 1,134 cats.
“We took in a few fewer cats last year,” noted Wellman, “which hopefully means our spay and neuter efforts are working.”
She explained that the shelter typically sees a lot of cats in June, when many kittens are born, while dogs are kept in the shelter all year round.
“We neuter and neuter inexpensively – we like to have an animal repaired,” Wellman said. “One study after another has shown that spaying and neutering leads to a healthier pet population. It is better if everyone in the community has neutered pets. I hope one day we can get that summer influx that we do year after year see, will not have. “
Wellman said the shelter’s neutering and neutering program for dogs has helped reduce the stray dog population since the shelter opened 11 years ago, and she hopes the cat population now follows suit.
In addition, the Humane Society offers free dog and cat food every Thursday through its pet pantry program, which offers at least 20,000 pounds of food per year.
“We have a pantry program for Midland County residents who are having trouble meeting their pets’ needs,” Wellman said. “We require that the animals in the house are neutered or natural, and if not, we will repair them for you.”
The Humane Society is also happy to accept more volunteers. Anyone interested in walking dogs and doing other chores should call the shelter at 989-835-1877.
Animal Control works with the Humane Society
One group that works closely with the Humane Society is Midland County Animal Control, which is administered by the Sheriff’s Department.
While Animal Control responds to complaints, monitors welfare, and handles cases of animal abuse, the Humane Society houses all of the animals that Animal Control collects. They have a strong, important connection and stay in touch when a problem arises.
“Midland County has a contract with the Humane Society to house animals and strays that we bring to them,” said Sheriff Myron Greene. “If you have any questions, please contact us, and if we have any questions, we will contact you.”
According to Greene, Animal Control took in about 25 stray animals in 2019. Information about 2020 was not available. Greene explained that stray numbers tend to increase in summer when owners let their pets out more.
People who encounter a stray can handle the situation in different ways, depending on the circumstances. If they know who the owner is, they can contact the owner.
If the animal is causing a nuisance – blocking traffic, for example – concerned citizens can call 989-832-6856 and either the animal control officer or the street patrol will answer.
Another resource that Greene has found helpful for pet reunions is lost pet pages on social media.
If the stray animal is friendly and approachable, individuals can pick it up and drop it off at the Humane Society.
“The Humane Society does a great job of caring for strays and reuniting them with families. We look forward to working with them, ”said Greene.
The easiest way to identify a stray animal is to check that it has a collar and license. The Sheriff’s Department works closely with the Midland County’s Treasurer to issue licenses to dogs. There are no rules for cats.
How do I get a dog license?
To obtain a dog license, an owner must provide their home address and proof of the dog’s updated rabies vaccination. In 2001, Midland became the first Michigan county to offer a three-year license in addition to a one-year license, said Christina Crawford, foreclosure and auditing specialist in the Midland County’s office of treasurer.
“It made sense as the rabies shot lasted three years,” Crawford said.
The Treasurer’s Office works with nine veterinary agencies – including the Humane Society – that are running license renewals at the same time as the rabies vaccine.
In 2018, the county introduced a new web-based system that dog owners can use to renew licenses and update their information. The district issued 6,736 dog licenses in 2019 and 6,477 in 2020.
“It makes renewing licenses more convenient,” said Crawford of the web-based system.
Licenses should be renewed by the last day of the month the rabies vaccination expires. However, there is a grace period of 60 days. After the grace period has expired, a fee of USD 20 will be charged.
If the owner does not contact the treasurer’s office after the grace period has expired, Animal Control will be asked to make a home visit.
“I encourage people to contact me when they have difficulty and cannot apply,” said Crawford. “We’re more than ready to work with anyone.”
For more information on dog licenses and fees, visit www.co.midland.mi.us/animalcontrol.aspx