Genesee County Animal Shelter gets award

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FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (09/02/16) - A Mid-Michigan animal shelter is getting an award for its work with stray dogs and cats.

The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance looks at a variety of information to determine progress being made toward reducing the number of animals that have to be put to sleep. They say the Genesee County Animal Shelter has made tremendous strides.

"We went from an average of about 40 percent save rate to 88 percent save rate in a year," said Paul Wallace, Genesee County Animal Control director.

In 2014, the odds were against you if you were a dog brought to the Genesee County shelter. Now about 12 percent of the animals have to be put down, often because of illness or aggressiveness.

"Most the dogs are just plain old tail-wagging dogs. We save as many as we can," Wallace said.

That's why the shelter is being recognized as the most improved large shelter in the state for 2015.

There have been many changes since Wallace took over in January of 2015.

"We have an outstanding volunteer force. They network the animals. They get us houses and homes and fosters," Wallace said.

A countywide animal control millage is generating about $1.7 million in revenue.

"Without the millage, we would not have been able to increase staff," said Renea Kennedy, Genesee County Animal Control deputy director.

It's now standard operating procedure that every animal that comes into the shelter is spayed or neutered and that can have good long term effects.

"We can reduce over three to four years our intake population by two-thirds by making sure we're not putting a population out in Genesee County that is breedable," Kennedy said.

There are plans next spring to remove many of the cages in the shelters and replace them with more comfortable kennels and there's a program to help the dogs socialize more so they're less hyper when potential adopters come to visit.

"I'm proud of the work we did," Wallace said.

The award ceremony is Sept. 15 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre on Hill Road in Mundy Township.

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