Michigan has an animal problem: its local county shelters are overcrowded and, in many cases, lacking resources to handle shelter pets in humane ways. Michigan has very few state laws protecting shelter animals from unjust treatment or inhumane euthanasia, and there are no state laws that require enrichment, exercise or socialization while animals are held in a shelter. As a result, the treatment of shelter animals rests with local governments and county administrators, and often results in highly adoptable pets being euthanized. In 2012, 185,154 dogs and cats entered Michigan shelters. Fewer than 10% were returned to their owners and 39% were killed or euthanized. That’s 72,005 animals euthanized in our state alone. In addition to the obvious detriment in loss of animal life, this high rate of euthanasia is expensive and is being paid for with your tax dollars.
The good news is that there are people out there who have solutions. People like Jamie McAloon Lampman, Director of the Ingham County Animal Control, are proving that a change in policy can effect a change in results. In 2013, for the first time ever, the Ingham County Animal Control, under Ms. Lampman’s direction, avoided putting down any shelter animal due to overcrowding. Not one animal euthanized due to overcrowding. And all because of the strategic planning and goals of an administrator who had new ideas.
And now, the folks that helped Lee Flaherty and me rescue Zoey (the pup who was left behind by a tenant during an eviction proceeding last fall) have opened my eyes to a new effort to reduce overcrowding in Michigan’s shelters, thus saving lives and money: Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals (Mi-PACA). Mi-PACA is a group that welcomes all Michigan residents qualified to vote with a focus on animal protection and shelter reform. You can learn more about Mi-PACA at www.mi-paca.org.