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Votes could help Mid-Michigan animal shelter earn $25,000

(WJRT)
Published: May. 24, 2018 at 5:26 PM EDT
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(05/24/18) - A Mid-Michigan animal control officer has been selected as a finalist in nationwide program honoring animal advocoates who fly under the radar.

Director Catherine Lemunyon has been with Arenac County Animal Control for 17 years. It's a job that would be hard to do if you didn't love it.

"Grew up loving animals, always had a passion for dogs, started volunteering at a shelter and then from there is just kind of snowballed," Lemunyon said.

The shelter's work was noticed by the Petco Foundation which will award one winner $25,000. Lemunyon and the Arenac County facility are among the five finalists.

She learned of the honor in March when a crew contacted her to come get video of her facility. When they were done filming there was a surprise.

The Petco Foundation gave her a check for $10,000.

"It was shocking, surprising. It means a lot," said Lemunyon.

Voting will help determine who gets the $25,000 top prize.

"It will help us do a lot of the projects that we're currently, you know that we would like to do, we have kind of a little bit of a wish list of things we would like to do, but you know with not having that available funding, you know those projects get put on the back burner until we're able to do them," Lemunyon said.

She'd love to add on the building, which sits on Foco Road outside of Standish.

The reception area is small and Lemunyon would like more room for visitors who are considering adoption.

"Probably an office to work out of where it's a little quieter, we don't hear the barking dogs," Lemunyon said.

She'd love more room for the animals too.

"Doing some indoor-outdoor runs off of our building so the dogs can get outside, even more so during the day," she said.

Lemunyon is the only full-time employee at the shelter. She's joined by one part-time kennel aide and several volunteers. Together they're here for one reason.

"It's nice to see them come in the door and go out and get adopted in loving homes with people that will take good care of them," Lemunyon said.

Each year they help around 200 dogs and 300 cats. They also offer a low-cost spay and neuter program for community members.

Voting ends Friday, May 25 at 12 p.m. You can vote once per email address. Click on the 'Related Link' with this story to vote.