Long Cruel Winter for Animals: Pet Adoptions Down, Cruelty Up

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Local animal shelters say it’s been a long cruel winter for homeless cats and dogs.

Julia Palmer has run the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing for the past 15 years. She says, this winter, she’s never seen so many cases of animal cruelty. “We've had multiple cases with animal deaths related directly to the cold. We did the necropsies and we have the evidence to support that. So there were truly cases of animals that were succumbing to extreme temperatures. By far, more animals than I've ever seen in my career."

It’s a packed house at the Ingham County Animal Shelter. Managers there say the long and frigid winter has put the freeze on adoptions. Ashley Hayes, Volunteer Liason and Event Planner says, “We're below average from what we've been in the past few years which has caused the shelter to fill up. We're getting in as many as we usually do, but not as many going out."

The Ingham County shelter relies on its popular mobile adoption events to make it easier for people to adopt cats and dogs. But this winter, it was tough to get out into the community. Hayes says, “We've had to cancel a few mobile adoptions due to the harsh weather. We always have to weigh the risk of sending out our volunteers as well as a van full of animals when the roads are slick, winds are high, there's a foot of snow to go through."

Now the shelter is working to get the word out, practically giving animals away, to make room for more. Said Hayes, “Last year we didn't have to euthanize at all due to space, pretty phenomenal for an open admission shelter like us. We really want to keep that trend going. If the year continues the way that it does, and adoptions don't increase, that might change."

Ingham County has special deals for people willing to adopt. On “Whisker Wednesdays” dogs are half off and cats are free. All animals are spayed, neutered, microchipped, and vaccinated.