UPDATE: In the story it is said that the shelter has adopted out 54 pets, but as of Tuesday, December 23, 70 cats and dogs have found forever homes this December! Currently the shelter only has TWO dogs and ELEVEN cats up for adoption. The shelter’s attempted goal at emptying the shelter for the holidays was a very close one! An additional HUGE donation was also made by the Clare Elementary School was made at the beginning of the week.
By Anna McNeill
With the change of season came a lot of big changes for the Clare County Animal Shelter.
The shelter staff has been stretched thin do to the resignation of former Animal Control Officer and Shelter Director, David Gendregske and a office staff worker.
With Gendregeske’s resignation, which Clare County Administrator, Tracy Byard is not able to speak with us about at this time, Animal Control Officer Ruanne (Rudi) Hicks has had to step up and fill the role of both ACO, manager and office staff.
At the December Clare County Board of Commissioner’s meeting Hicks was officially given the Director position, as per recommended by Byard.
Regular volunteer, Darryl Hainer, was present to give great praise on Hick’s behalf for all of the work she has started and also commented on the shelters still great need of volunteers.
With her new position, Hicks plans on making changes for the betterment of Clare County’s stray, abandoned and unwanted animals.
One step in the right direction that happened right as Hicks was settling into her new position was a grant worth $9,700 was approved for the spaying and neutering of the shelter’s residents.
Hicks had applied for the 2015 Animal Welfare Fund Grant through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for the full value of $10,000. The shelter was approved for just $300 less, which will make a big impact on the adoptability of the shelter pets.
In January the spay/neuter program will be implemented with these funds, along with the additional $1,000 donated to the shelter for spaying/neutering of cats from Discount Variety owner, Teresa Powell.
The shelter staff and it’s volunteers have been very grateful for Powell’s donations throughout the years, and this additional money will help many cats who may have not had much of a chance of adoption, get into loving homes by lowing their adoption fees.
Currently the shelter has a set adoption fee for cats and dogs and then requires a deposit, which will be refunded after the dog or cat is spayed or neutered. The new spay /neuter program that can be implemented due to the grant and Powell’s donation will make the deposit for spaying and neutering go away, leaving just a small adoption fee, $15 for cats and $25 for dogs (dogs require a $10 rabies/license deposit as well).
More good things have been happening at the shelter for the holidays. BIG donations of dog and cat food, leashes, collars, treats, toys, beds and other essential items, have come the shelter’s way this holiday season.
Two big donations happened last week. Stacy Schafer, Amanda and Mason McCarthy, Heather Faught and Katie Martin came in on December 17 with a truck load of goodies for the shelter pets that included a large wire dog cage for the volunteer run adoption events.
The generosity didn’t stop there. The Farwell Elementary Students collected items for the shelter and donated a heaping pile of treats, food, toys, beds, kitty litter and much more, just in time for the holidays.
If things couldn’t get any better, the volunteer run adoption events have been reaping wonderful success in finding loving forever (or “fur”ever) homes for the holidays for the wonderful pets at the shelter.
On Saturday, December 20, the volunteers hauled seven adoptable dogs and car loads full of adoptable cats to Clare’s Family Farm and Home. The volunteers were able to work their magic and find FIVE dogs and SEVEN cats homes for the holidays. If that weren’t enough, Clare’s Family Farm and Home donated a nice, plush dog bed for each dog at the event and each dog that was adopted went home with a new collar and leash. Clare’s Family Farm and Home is always accepting donations for the shelter and those donations get delivered or picked up regularly. The shelter volunteers hold a monthly adoption event at Clare’s Family Farm and Home on the third Saturday of each month, dates are always posted a week before in the window of Clare’s Family Farm and Home.
Another great thing that has started up for the fixed cats of the Clare County Animals Shelter is a new adoption location at Redbird Feed & Supply in Mount Pleasant. With the help of our newest transporter, and long times supporter, Margo Douglas, fixed cats of both genders are delivered to Redbird to spend time in the kitty condos at Redbird. Redbird gets a lot of traffic from animal lovers and the cats get a lot of exposure to the public, increasing their chances of adoption. This has been a great way to get these cats into loving homes and has been a great success over the past two months.
The shelter is making great strides and Hicks said that since the beginning of December, she did the math and thanks to the volunteer run adoption events, (at least) 54 animals have found new homes. This is a great number for the small county that the shelter resides in and Hicks is adamant that they could never reach this number without the volunteer run adoption events.
During the shelter’s Christmas gathering the volunteer’s toasted Hicks with sparkling grape juice and gave a small speech about how much they appreciated her hard work and how much she deserved the position. Before a drink of sparkling juice was taken, Hicks voiced her gratitude, “to the best volunteers anyone could ask for.”
With a new Director, a dedicated group of volunteers and a very supportive community, the shelter is looking forward to an even better year ahead of them.
The shelter is always in need of volunteers and donations. The shelter’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop on in to see how you can help out, or to meet your new family member.