During the previous few years Gratiot County Animal Control has seen a big uptick in the variety of canines and cats which were saved from euthanasia.
During his annual report back to the County Board of Commissioners, Animal Control Director Tom Clark famous the shelter had a save rate of 99 p.c in 2021.
“Our numbers were fantastic,” he stated. “It was not too many years ago that the number was down in the 60 to 70 percent save range.”
Last yr the shelter took in 203 canines, of which 62 had been adopted and 137 reclaimed by house owners. Only three had been euthanized.
There had been additionally 87 cats taken in with 83 adopted, three reclaimed and only one euthanized.
The greatest change for the shelter has been in the variety of cats it now offers with.
In 2017, the shelter took in 496 cats with solely 197 being adopted or reclaimed, whereas 144 needed to be disposed of, in keeping with Clark.
“Cats are by far the hardest animals to find homes for,” he stated. “We have several organizations in the area that specialize in finding homes for cats because of this reason.”
Among these are Gratiot Animals in Need and Dalis to the Rescue.
Both sponsor low-cost month-to-month spay and neuter clinics for cats.
For the GAIN clinic the shelter contributes a median of $10 per cat to assist preserve the price low. The cats additionally obtain rabies photographs.
“Last year alone we contributed through our (budget) donation line item $2,020 for the feral cat project.” Clark stated.
Animal Control additionally began a brand new program final yr with a veterinarian from Grand Rapids who involves the shelter as soon as a month to spay and neuter between 50 and 60 cats every journey.
“If you look at the numbers this has dropped the total intake significantly,” Clark stated.
In addition, the shelter not accepts “cages full of cats,” he added.
“We only take in cats that we know that we can move,” Clark defined. “Sometimes this can be a little controversial but we do not have to put otherwise healthy, although maybe not adoptable cats down.”
The shelter additionally runs a “Home-to-Home” program the place an proprietor of a canine or cat can ship in a photograph and outline of their pet, together with a telephone quantity.
“We post it on our Facebook page where a potential adopter can call the owner directly and view the animal in a natural home setting,” Clark stated.
“The (owners) have had tremendous success in finding (their pets) new homes. This keeps them out of the shelter environment.”
Clark has labored for Gratiot County Animal Control for 25 years, the previous 18 as director. He has a workers of two, officer Emily O’Boyle, now in her eleventh yr, and workplace supervisor Blair Woodgate, who has been there three years.
Like many others the shelter handled some tough instances the previous couple of years through the pandemic.
“Our department is small with only three people,” Clark stated. “We had shutdowns and screenings coming into Animal Control. We had to be extra vigilant when we went out on complaints to try and not spread COVID to one another.”
Despite that, animal management responded to 1,180 complaints throughout 2021, up from 766 in 2020, 954 in 2019, 1,074 in 2018 and 811 in 2017.