Going Home

Michigan Humane Society Enchances Admissions Process to Save More Lives, Create a Stronger Community
January changes will engage pet owners, ensure more animals are Going Home

It is a sign of a community out of balance when tens of thousands of homeless animals enter area shelters and rescues every year, far exceeding the number of good homes currently available for them. While animal welfare organizations across the state are doing the best they can with limited resources, this is a problem bigger than any one group – it’s a community issue that requires community solutions.

As a leader in animal welfare for the past 135 years, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is taking one of the most significant steps in its long history to create a stronger, healthier pet community.

Already the state’s largest animal welfare organization, with an open-admissions policy accepting any and all animals, MHS will soon enhance its admissions process to better serve both the people and pets who rely on the private, nonprofit organization.

“We all want a Michigan where as many animal lives are being saved as possible,” said Cal Morgan, MHS President and CEO. “To do that, we need the community’s help now more than ever.”

In January 2013, MHS will change its intake policy and begin accepting animals only by appointment. Appointments can be made over the by phone by the pet owner. This ensures that each animal receives prompt and thorough attention, and can immediately take steps toward the best possible outcome – a forever home.

This process will include a discussion with the pet owner about the reasons why the pet is being surrendered and what other options and resources may be available to them. It will also include a preliminary health and temperament evaluation of the animal to determine its suitability for adoption, the results of which will be shared with the owner during the appointment.

The change will prevent animals from waiting in the shelter environment for a health and temperament evaluation and allow healthy animals to be placed for adoption immediately. It also benefits pet owners who are surrendering an animal but are concerned that an animal may be humanely euthanized.

If it is determined that the surrendered animal is not a suitable candidate for adoption, either at time of appointment or at a later time, MHS will contact the pet owner at their discretion and give them the option to take the animal back into their home.

Importantly, this change in policy will not affect MHS’ policy to accept any and all animals brought to the organization. MHS will never turn its back on an animal in need; nor will the organization place an animal it believes to be unsafe.

“We take in around 30,000 animals every single year, and our goal at Michigan Humane Society is to give each of the animals the best possible chance to find a responsible, loving new home,” Morgan said.

“Providing an extended one-on- one discussion with the pet owners inclusive of a review of the animal’s medical and temperament evaluation will help ensure that we’re serving these animals as best we can, and providing the very best care for each individual companion.”

MHS has looked into this change for some time now, and drew upon the lessons learned by Animal Humane Society (AHS), a similarly-sized humane organization based in the Minneapolis area that transitioned to this model in 2011.

As a result of this change, the organization not only saw a large decline in the number of animals who were humanely euthanized, it also saw a marked reduction in the number of sick animals going through the facility.

“Because of this change, animals will spend even less time in our shelters hoping that somebody will come and adopt them,” Morgan said. “Nobody does more for animals in Michigan than the Michigan Humane Society, and our goal is to find a home for every healthy and treatable animal in our care. These enhancements will help us reach that goal much faster.”

The new enhanced open admissions policy is part of a larger campaign called Going Home, which is focused on bringing the community back into balance and saving more animal lives.

The Going Home campaign also includes the Detroit Project – the creation of a new MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care, and enhancing MHS’ existing programs and services that touch the lives of 100,000 animals each year with the goal that more homeless pets will be Going Home; keeping families together so that more animals are Staying Home; and strengthening community partnerships with the goal of Building Homes that work together to support pets in need.

For more information, call 1-866-MHUMANE (648-6263), Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.


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