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Ingham County Animal Shelter offers reduced fee for dog adoption due to overcrowding

October 15, 2014
<p>A dog sits in a cage waiting for visitors Oct. 14, 2014, at the Ingham County Animal Shelter. He does not have a name and is therefore identified by his animal ID, 22199. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News </p>

A dog sits in a cage waiting for visitors Oct. 14, 2014, at the Ingham County Animal Shelter. He does not have a name and is therefore identified by his animal ID, 22199. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News

Photo by Jessalyn Tamez | The State News

A walk through the dog kennel at the Ingham County Animal Shelter evokes an eerily similar feeling to watching a Sarah McLachlan animal cruelty commercial.

While most of the dogs in the animal shelter weren’t there because they’d experienced cruelty, the overcrowded shelter in Mason, Mich. has been struggling to find owners for the dogs.

According to Ashley Hayes, volunteer and special events liaison at the shelter, the dogs are there for a variety of reasons, but most of them are strays.

“We’ve been getting a lot of owner surrenders too. People who can’t keep them in their homes. Maybe their apartment doesn’t allow them anymore or financially they’re just not able to take care of them,“ Hayes said. “Some of the animals we get here at the shelter are seized because maybe their owners aren’t taking care of them.”

Hayes said she doesn’t think the shelter is getting more dogs than usual, but they aren’t as many being adopted by new owners.

“Usually we only have about 20 or 30 dogs on the adoption floor, and the last two or three months we’ve had about 45. It’s been almost double what we usually have,” Hayes said.

The shelter is open admission, so if it were to get too full, they would have to euthanize due to a lack of space, according to Hayes.

In an attempt to find homes for the dogs, the animal shelter has introduced ‘Dogtober deals.’ Adoption fees are normally around $100, but for the first 40 people to adopt a dog, the fee will only be $30.

The idea was thought up by an anonymous volunteer who will pay the difference in the adoption fees for the first 40 dogs.

When asked what MSU students could do to help out, Hayes said that if students are interested in adopting, now would be a good time.

“We know that the initial cost of adopting a dog, plus having to go buy their bed and their food and stuff can be really overwhelming, even though you might have the money to take care of them on a monthly basis, that first initial fee and month can be a little high,” Hayes said. “So hopefully the $30 discount will help on that.”

Hayes said that if a student isn’t ready to adopt, the shelter’s foster program can be a big help. The foster programs allows for an adopter not to have to commit to keeping a dog forever, but only for about a month or so.

“If we get too full, we would have to euthanize due to space and we’ve been teeter tottering on the line for a couple of months with our dogs,” she said.

Hayes also cited volunteering as a way to help the animal shelter.

“A lot of the dogs are stuck in these four by eight kennels, or smaller depending on their size, all the time,” she said. “So volunteers that can come in and give them exercise helps keep their spirit up, helps keep them from becoming really depressed, or really aggressive because they just have so much energy and they’re stuck in such a small space with no exercise."

Many MSU students already volunteer and foster dogs for the shelter, Hayes said.

“The students really help us out and we appreciate it,” she said.

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