April 15, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

Kent Co. Animal Shelter sees surge in stray pets

The animal shelter is looking for anyone interested in adopting a pet or those with a lost pet. Volunteers and foster families are also needed.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Animal Shelter is asking for the community’s help as it reaches capacity amid an increase in stray animals.

Angela Hollinshead, director at the Kent County Animal Shelter, said the shelter is particularly seeing more stray dogs. She said the shelter had 90 dogs last week. Now, they have 77 dogs in their care, which is still at capacity for them.

“So what we’re asking right now is, if the community is missing a pet, please reach out, get ahold of us,” she said. “Or if they’re looking to add a pet to their home, particularly a dog, now is a really good time to do that.”

Shelter officials are now working on an education campaign to make sure West Michiganders are aware of the shelter. Hollinshead said many people don’t realize there’s an animal shelter in their area that their lost pet may be at.

She also shared the best way to help a lost pet find a home if you come across one.

“[Pet owners] may call us and say ‘hey, my pet is here, I see it’s at the shelter,’ but they may never have the resources to come and get it and we see that pretty often. And it’s really sad,” she said. “So if that animal can remain in the area for as long as possible when it’s found, as long as it’s not sick or injured, that’s really the best way for it to be reunited with its family.”

Hollinshead said she thinks the increase in stray pets may be partially due to the mild winter, because animals are less likely to wander far from home when the temperature drops. She said many pets are also given to the shelter because their owners are unable to afford their care or secure housing.

She said it’s important for the community to step in however they can as the shelter struggles with the increased capacity.

“So when we get in times of crisis, where we’re running out of space, it’s really important that the community help us. We’re really begging them to help reunite these animals,” she said. “If you’re looking for a pet to adopt, now’s the time to do it. And hopefully, our numbers don’t continue to increase.”

When stray pets come in, they are placed on a “stray hold.” The shelter puts the pet’s photo online in hopes someone claims them. 

If your pet is at the animal shelter, staff will ask you to describe them and provide proof of ownership. There will also be a fee to claim your pet based on your income to cover the cost of care while they held onto your pet.

Hollinshead said the adoption process at the shelter is easy. Photos of their adoptable animals are posted for you to see, and if you’re interested in meeting one, you can sit down with the adoption counselor and the pet to see if it’s a good fit.

The shelter also asks you to fill out a survey to find what animal would best suit your situation.

“What that does is it helps us narrow down, which animals that we have here in our shelter population that are ready for adoption that might fit your needs really well,” Hollinshead said.

Even if you aren’t quite ready to meet any animals or take one home, everyone is welcome to learn more about the process and discuss what pets could be best for you.

You can also help the animal shelter by fostering a pet, sharing their adoptable pets’ profiles, volunteering and helping educate the community. 

See the adoptable pets at the Kent County Animal Shelter here.

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