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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

Humane Society, overwhelmed with homeless pets, offers free, reduced-price cat and dog adoptions

By Cindy Heflin


The normal cat area at the Humane Society of Huron Valley is filled to capacity so some kittens had to make their home in the lobby of the Humane Society of Huron Valley Wednesday. HSHV is facing extreme overcrowding of puppies, kittens, dogs and cats all ages and sizes.

Jeff Sainlar |

The Humane Society of Huron Valley is overflowing with cats and dogs.

Shelter officials say the facility at 3100 Cherry Hill Road in Ann Arbor Township is “bursting at the seams.” Animals are in cages in the hallways and foster home volunteers have taken in nearly all the animals they can. They’re encouraging Washtenaw County residents who want a pet to adopt an animal from the shelter.


Some dogs have to share cages because of overcrowding at the Humane Society of Huron Valley

Jeff Sainlar |

Two recent cat-hoarding cases that brought nearly 40 adult cats to the facility contributed to the over-population, but the shelter was already near capacity before that, said marketing director Deb Kern.

To encourage adoption and reduce the population, the shelter is offering several adoption specials until further notice. They are:

  • Adopt any kitten and get the second one free. The kittens must go to the same home.
  • Any cat over 7 months old is eligible for a free adoption Friday through Sunday.
  • Every dog is eligible for $25 off the original adoption fee.

All animals are spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and come with microchip identification. Also, prospective owners will be subject to the Humane Society's normal screening rules.


A dog peers out of its cage at the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Jeff Sainlar |

Humane society officials said the shelter has continued to see large numbers of kittens coming in even though it’s past what they call the spring and summer “kitten season."

“HSHV has litters of kittens ready for adoption every single week with no end in sight,” the agency said in a news release.

Dog lovers can also find many pets from which to choose at the shelter. Kern said several puppies will be ready for adoption by Thursday and shelter officials said more than 30 puppies will be back from foster home care at the end of October and ready for adoption.

Anyone looking for a pet can see pictures and information about animals available for adoption on the organization's website.

Though the overpopulation problem comes as a budget crunch has Washtenaw County officials considering cutting the facility's appropriation by 50 percent, Kern said it's a complete coincidence. She said the overpopulation problem is one that happens from time to time, but this is the most serious this year and possibly since the Humane Society opened in its new shelter in 2009.

Among other reasons for the increase in numbers at the shelter is that some people have given up their pets because they can't afford to keep them after losing a job, Kern said.

"We don't want to turn any animals away," she said. "With the numbers that we have we just want to remind people to please think of adoption first."

Even people looking to adopt purebred animals can sometimes find them at the shelter, she said. If they’re willing to work with us we can help them find the match that they’re looking for."



Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

"...I don't believe in leaving an animal alone - of any species - or more than an hour at a time" Are you serious? I can't decide if you're being sarcastic or if you really mean that. I'm going to assume you don't have children either.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 11:28 p.m.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unwakened" (Anatole France)

Urban Sombrero

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Oh man. That picture of that gorgeous beagle breaks my heart. It looks just like my beagle, Elinore, who was adopted from HSHV. What a cutie.

Blue Marker

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

I've got a beagle too and you're right, that look breaks my will.

Patty Urban

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

Thanks for posting this story. Folks can get a nice vetted animal for such a low cost or free! I adopted "Nana" a 9 year old cat on 10-16 and she is the sweetest thing!


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Actually, the Humane Society runs special spay/neuter clinics all the time. My son brought home a stray cat that was too pregnant to spay--but I took the kittens in when they were old enough and the mother and got all of them spayed (all females) for $100! It was the $20.11 special--they each got a rabies shot included in that price too. HSHV just rocks. They will microchip your pet for $15.00. Don't think you can beat those deals anywhere.

Renee S.

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Re: jcj Taking good care of an adult cat is hardly any work at all, and that's the real population crisis here. Kittens can be destructive, but all a cat needs is a bowl of food and water everyday and a litter box change every now and again. If they want your affection they'll ask for it, but they're generally not THAT demanding. And yes, some people do return animals they can't take care of back to the shelter. A certain amount of that is expected. But most of those animals will live happy lives with their new owners.

Dog Guy

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I love dogs as dogs, but dogs are not persons. Using "adoption" for buying an animal is at best irrational. In the 60's hamburger was three or four pounds for a dollar at the A&P, but I ate the canned dogfood which was cheaper and precooked--a great base for pizza or casseroles. I was a horse lover back then, but Alpo has changed with the times.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Our problem is this. I would take in another dog but with our schedule, acclimating the animal to the others is something we don't have time for right now. Wow. Might consider fostering though. Glad to have this article out. But I do agree with one thing. People do need to spay or neuter the animals. Especially in these tough times.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Early on in my dog owning days i was not hip to crating my dogs. However, I've found it to be a great way to control their behavior, since they can't get int to stuff when we are not at home. Don't feel to guilty either, just give them a decent size cage They could be caged up at the humane society if they were not at your house while you are working. As long as they get some decent yard or leash time they will be ok. Plus, whenever I stay home during the day it seems like all I am doing is interrupting some good nap time.

Lt. Burgundy

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

As the owner of 4 rescue pets (2 dogs/2 cats) I can tell you that my life would not have anywhere near as much enjoyment without our little pack. 3 of them have come from the HSHV and 1 of them is even a certified therapy dog now. If you can't keep or house pets at this time please try to find a way to help the local pet population. Minimal amounts of support can go a very long way with HSHV, even just a time donation like walking dogs that need exercise and people time can make a huge difference! Thanks to all of the staff and volunteers for all that they do!

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Cool. Yeah, life without cats is pretty dull.

Marilyn Wilkie

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

If anyone is considering a dog, please consider adopting a homeless pet over one from a breeder. In all the years that we have owned pets, the adopted ones have been the healthiest and most loving. They almost seem grateful and eager to please. I cherish the memory of each one. Now we have 3 dogs and two cats and can't afford more, but if we could, we would adopt a homeless pet again. Our most lovable dog was found walking down a country road on the coldest day of winter with 3 pups trailing behind. One of the other dogs was found as a young pup wandering the streets of Royal Oak with no tags. We would never give up on our animals, until they die. That is our pledge to them, though we know that extenuating circumstances can cause folks to have to give up their pet.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

I was driving a school bus out near Joy road when a half starved dog ran out into the road. If I did not have children on board, I would have scooped that animal and took him to the nearest shelter. I still pray for that animal. I did try to contact animal control but got no where with them and their HSU told me not to bother them with a stray call. How sad is that?

wolfman jack

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

I see that my first selection to help the overcrowding a transplant from down south. HSHV has a population problem and they have pups from other areas brought in ? Illogical. Michigan is not the place to bring a surplus from elsewhere.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

I'll tell you this, the sooner you get that beagle the better. My pup was about 4 months when I got her and all that time in the cage of jumping up at anyone who passed by or came in was somewhat hard to break, along with a couple other things. But overall, i am so happy to have welcomed her into my home. i was dogless for about four months and the absence of hearing of paws and nails on the hardwood floors on my house was not nice. Not to mention, I had to pick p all the food I dropped in the kitchen.

wolfman jack

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

Cool news on the puppies. i was confused - and atrtracted to a beagle puppy with a drawl.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

The Petsmart program is not causing the overcrowding, and is a remarkable program. Puppies destined for certain death are transported to shelters up north where, believe it or not, there is a puppy shortage. People tend to spay/neuter dogs more often than cats. The temporary overcrowding situation was caused by an influx of cats due to some hoarding situations.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

My most recent addition last summer from HSHV came from Tennessee. Although she has been quite the handful and a considerable challenge compared to other dogs I have gotten, I don't hold her southern roots against her. She does bark with a noticeable drawl though.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

I'll be there on Friday or Saturday to pick up a kitten. Absolutely.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

I adopted 3 from the HSHV and unfortunately after the birth of my daughter last year, had to return them because she has allergies to them. It was very hard for me to do but it had to be done. I saw that 2 out of 3 were adopted. I'm not sure what happened to the 3rd as I never saw his profile on the website.

Renee S.

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

Sometimes animals get adopted quickly enough that they don't end up on petfinder. They only go through the effort to put them on petfinder if they've been stewing for a bit.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

If only there was this much concern for the elderly in nursing homes!

average joe

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Careful- many people end up in nursing homes.........maybe you arborani.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

Lets give each resident in that nursing home a puppy or a kitten. Then we will have a lot of concern for each.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Oh, puh-leeze.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Thank you,, for posting this story. We have 2 cats and 1 dog, all rescue animals. They are wonderful pets and have been a joy to experience. If you want to adopt a pet, PLEASE go to the shelters first. Don't assume that shelter animals were brought there because they were untrainable or vicious; most of the animals were brought there because their owners couldn't care for them anymore or they were strays. The vast majority are wonderful animals that would make great pets AND provide a means to teach children (and some adults) responsibility and experience unconditional love (and who doesn't want that?). IF you can't adopt but would like to help these animals, please consider donating $$ to the Human Society - they can only do so much with the $$ they have but will be able to care for these and more animals longer and better with more $$.

Dog Lover

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

The shelter staff and volunteers create enrichment toys for the dogs and cats to play with to help keep them happy. Cheez Whiz and Peanut butter are great to stuff in Kongs and it keeps the dogs very busy. Plus, people love buying cheez whiz.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

Cheez Whiz is often used to distract the dogs while they are getting vaccinated. Squirt a little on the top of their nose and they are so busy trying to lick it off they don't even notice they are being poked in the other end :)


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

It's for the dogs. It's a treat that can be put into those little things..I think they're called bongs or something like that (not a dog owner).

the thing is...

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

I looked over the wish list and, under urgent needs... Cheese Whiz? LOL! Can someone explain, please?


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

They've also got an excellent wish list posted on their site. For our daughter's birthday, we always do a drive for something in lieu of gifts and this year happened to be for the Humane Society. After finding out how much additional need there is right now, we extended the drive to my workplace and our neighborhood. There are plenty of items on the list that you probably already have at home that you're not using--check it out and see what you can do! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

sun runner

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

I adopted two year-old cats from the HVHS in 2002. Nine years later they are still my best buddies, always there to greet me when I get home from work, sit on my lap while I watch TV, and cuddle with me at night. I would be very lonely without them. The adoption coordinator at the HS was thrilled I was taking home two adult cats, because adult cats are harder to place. Everyone wants cute little kittens. There's nothing wrong with an adult animal, whether cat or dog (and you can skip those annoying kitten/puppy antics and training).


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

We decided to help out with the situation by doing in-home fostering of a mother and her kittens to relieve the over crowding. We filled out the forms, went to the Saturday classes from 8:30 to 11:00, and now, four weeks later we're still waiting for the guy to come and make sure our home is suitable. What the hey?


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5 p.m.

tmil Thanks. We have contacted Ann and was told the same thing. I don't know how many people are waiting to foster, but it appears that this is a real bottleneck in their system.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

I volunteer at the HSHV and recently fostered 2 dogs. I cannot say enough good things about the shelter! Having volunteered with other shelters/rescues, HSHV definitely outshines the others in many ways. That said, it can take time to get started with fostering especially since the person who does the home checks is a volunteer. I would recommend contacting Ann Edwards, the foster care coordinator at the shelter. Her phone # is 734-661-3520 or email


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

Saturday mornings are tough for us. Wish it was a Sunday. Might see if we can clear a day.

Dog Lover

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

sbbuilder - Have you contacted the shelter?


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8 a.m.

&quot;... some people have given up their pets because they can't afford to keep them after [ losing ] a job...&quot; and &quot;... the overpopulation problem comes as a budget crunch has Washtenaw County officials considering cutting the facility's appropriation by 50 percent...&quot; Okay, so don't these two factors show yet another area affected by our Neocon Economy? Just asking, in case any neocons want to make some snarky right-wing motivated attacks on Democrats or Obama or Oprah or Public Schools (and on and on) in response to this article. ;-) Unfortunately, I have to self-exclude myself from pet ownership or pet adoption, no matter the species. I work away from home only about 24 hours / week but that means hours during which I cannot be a complete pet owner. Pet ownership - I truly believe - is a serious two-way street where pets and owners must walk that street in the same direction every day. I don't believe in leaving a pet of any species alone for more than an hour or so at a time. Also unfortunately I , like many people, don't have an income large enough to include every charity and every legitimate political cause on my list of donations. I do wish more of us were in a better position in that regard.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 4:23 a.m.

What this county needs are vets that will spay and neuter cats and dogs for low income pet owners FOR FREE. I saw on TV a vet that had a big RV that was set up to do this and he went into inner cities to help control the pet population. These poor animals suffer when there are too many of them. SPAY AND NEUTER people!! Can the vets in this county and other counties please step up??? A big animal lover and vegan...:)


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Actually, the Humane Society runs special spay/neuter clinics all the time. My son brought home a stray cat that was too pregnant to spay--but I took the kittens in when they were old enough and the mother and got all of them spayed (all females) for $100! It was the $20.11 special--they each got a rabies shot included in that price too. HSHV just rocks. They will microchip your pet for $15.00. Don't think you can beat those deals anywhere.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

Sorry I didn't mean to say He in the second sentence...habit I suppose


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

They didn't tell anyone what to do with their degree. He made a suggestion. And it's not like it would kill a vet or two to offer that, they're not seeing every animal for free..geez


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

roadsidedinerlover, that is a great idea! Why don't you take the initiative first by sacrificing a decade of your life in undergrad and vet school, rack up 5 years salary in student loans, and then have people tell you what to do with your degree! Great thinking!


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:43 a.m.

Its not just dogs and cats. This year there has been a starling rise in horse problems, both malnurished and abused. Here is a link to one latest horse rescue for which we are looking for permanent homes. I am fostering a few of them right now for the Mich. Horse Rescue Coalition. Donations are being sought to help defray the cost of veterinary care and feed. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> We are expecting another dozen or so next week will need help, as soon as the court reassigns ownership. Website for donations to this cause is in the video text. PayPal accepted.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

Quebec just took in 400 from a puppy mill. Kentucky I think took in another 300. These animals according to the ASPCA said this was the worst case of PM abuse they had ever seen.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Cindy, Quick suggestion: When most people see the link for the Humane Society of Huron Valley in the first sentence, they would expect clicking on it would take them to the website for the Society (which is actually farther below in the article) rather than a link to another story accusing the Society of malfeasance.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

Thanbks for putting this story front and center. Almost all of my pets have come from HSHV, you get a dog gone good deal when you bring a rescued dog or cat into your home.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

Every time you turn on the TV or look at there is a story or an article about pets. It is always made to sound compassionate and romantic to have pets. Seldom is there mention of the amount of work involved with the proper care of any pet. Make it easier to get pets and there will be that many more that get them home only to find out its more effort than they are willing to expend.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

@Dog Lover The HSHV is a great organization and my comment was directed in general shelters and also why this is a problem over all. As a no kill shelter it isn't uncommon for people to travel outside their county to take pets to lower kill shelters, which probably doesn't help the problem here in Washtenaw.

Renee S.

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

Taking good care of an adult cat is hardly any work at all, and that's the real population crisis here. Kittens can be destructive, but all a cat needs is a bowl of food and water everyday and a litter box change every now and again. If they want your affection they'll ask for it, but they're generally not THAT demanding. And yes, some people do return animals they can't take care of back to the shelter. A certain amount of that is expected. But most of those animals will live happy lives with their new owners. It's much better to have a small percentage of animals returned than all of them getting euthanized instead.

Dog Lover

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Buildergirl, I don't know what rescue you work for, but it's great that you help educate adopters. Many rescues don't just so they can adopt out the animals and save more. Obviously, you have not been to HSHV or taken a look at the website. The staff and volunteers spend an enormous amount of time working with adopters to find the right match and talk with EVERY adopter about the time and money commitment an animal takes. They spend 30 minutes in an adoption meeting, receive a packet of information about welcoming home their new pet, get a voucher for a free vet health check and get a magnet with all the important numbers, including a FREE behavior helpline. Adopters are also encouraged to contact HSHV if things don't work out, so that the animal can come back and find the right home. There is no other humane society that does more than HSHV for our community. Plus, these animals live a better life at the shelter than some of the situations they came from. If you have not visited the shelter, you definitely should. Thanks for helping rescue animals, HSHV can't do it alone.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

I volunteer for a rescue and more than half our dogs come from people who adopted from a local shelter and realize how much work the animals require. They don't want them to end up in another shelter so we get them, a year or so later. We do more adopter education and have higher standards for placement that helps alleviate the problem of &quot;returns&quot;.

Blue Marker

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

I do a lot for my dogs but no where near what they do for me!


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

Exception noted.

Lorrie Shaw

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

jcj: I take exception to your comment about how pet-related stories and blog posts on lean toward being &quot;romantic&quot;. Most of them illustrate the care that needs to be taken when selecting the right pet for ones family, how to properly care for said pets, emphasizing the commitment that sharing life with a pet deserves and in plenty of cases, pointing out profound and difficult issues that pets face with regard to the less-than-desirable decisions that humans make. In the latter case, focusing on how solutions can be put into place is key. Sure, some of the stories are fun, tongue-in-cheek and lighthearted. That goes hand in hand with sharing life with any pet. I should also point out that HSHV works very hard to vet potential adoptive families. They offer peripheral support with professional training services at a reduced rate to adoptive families, as well as veterinary services to the public to further reinforce the mindset of responsible pet ownership and highlight the needs of companion animals.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Yes it is some work to have a pet. We have three dogs, all from the Humane Society. The work you talk about is out weighed by the love and companionship we have gotten from all three. My wife and I have had a very difficult year but one of the true blessings is Max, Annabelle and Sugar seem to know when we are hurting and come to give us comfort. As I sit here typing this all three are curled up by me on this cold rainy night and everything just seems all right in the world. Of course I am also watching the World Series and the world would be even better if the Tigers were in it. :)


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

No argument here johnnya2. If I ever wake up again to the sound of something besides a dog barking I will post a positive statement here.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:45 a.m.

Are you ever positive about anything? HSHV makes it pretty clear to adopters the work involved in taking care of a pet. Go by sometime and look at their adoption materials and talk to the staff.


Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

I'd argue the same is done in this world regarding babies.