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Posted on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:43 a.m.

Humane Society of Huron Valley honored as 'Best Large Animal Shelter' for second year in a row

By Lorrie Shaw

Kern/Clinic Treatment.jpg

A dog being cared for at the clinic at HSHV — just one of the services available at the non-profit facility.

Photo by Ann Edwards, HSHV Staff Member

What's the image that pops into your head when you think of Huron Society of Huron Valley? It's likely that what goes on in the day-to-day is very different than you might think.

The organization takes in all animals, whether they are unwanted, injured, stray or otherwise, and they adopt most of these animals back out to responsible homes.

The people who work and volunteer there also cultivate a culture of responsible pet ownership by way of education programs, assistance with training and even help with correcting behavioral issues with pets. Also, low-cost spay and neuter services are available.

HSHV provides assistance with reuniting lost pets with their families, as well as 24-hour rescue services for sick or injured stray animals, the Cruelty and Rescue division responds to cases of cruelty and neglect reported by residents.

Covering an exceptionally broad range of services to area pet owners and abused, neglected and homeless pets, is part of what they do, and because of their efforts, they have been honored by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance as an Outstanding Large Shelter award honoree for the second year in a row.

MPFA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a 'no-kill' shelter philosophy.

HSHV has a current 'save rate' of 80.59 percent. Save rates are calculated by comparing the number of animals adopted or returned to their owner over the course of one year. Existing animal populations at the shelter and those born there are included in that figure.

"This is a tremendous honor. I am grateful for the work being done by the Michigan Petfund Alliance to eliminate the senseless and tragic euthanasia of healthy animals in our state," said Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV executive director.

"This award represents the magical alchemy made from the blood, sweat and tears of our staff and volunteers, from the great leadership of our board of directors and from the generosity of our supporters who ensure we have the resources needed to try to save every animal that comes through our door."

Other winners include Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter, Negaunee (Outstanding Medium Open Admission Shelter) with a 87.65 percent save rate, Hope Animal Shelter, Ironwood (Outstanding Small Open Admission Shelter) with a 100.63 percent save rate and Humane Society of Livingston County, Howell (Outstanding Limited Admission Shelter) with a 91.87 percent save rate and greatest number of adoptions.

"I have recently heard public officials say that to save money, we should 'just euthanize more.' You can see through the work of MPFA that this statement is out of touch with today’s community standards, but it is also morally reprehensible," emphasizes Hilgendorf.

"Homeless and abused animals are completely dependent upon us, and they come to the shelter doors through no fault of their own, but because of because of human mistakes and problems. We are entrusted with their care and they give so much in terms of love, joy and companionship — and I believe we have a moral responsibility to try our very best to do right by them and give them an opportunity to have a happy life," she said.

"If we are talking about 'cost-effective' services rather than 'cheap,' this award helps show that there is no better return on investment than HSHV."

People make the mistake of assuming that all animal welfare groups are somehow tied together, because HSHV shares some of the same goals as other animal welfare groups — but that's not true. As Hilgendorf reminds, all animal welfare groups are completely independent and do not share donations.

When one is wonders where their support for companion animals should be directed — financial or otherwise — consider wisely. The highest-rated facility — which helps thousands of small animals each year — and pet-related resource is right here in Washtenaw County.

Read more about the honor, and the ranking of other animal shelters around the state by clicking here.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for Connect with her on Google+ and follow her daily pet adventures or email her directly.



Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Well Said, Dog Lover!! Congratulations HSHV!!! Both my dogs are also happy for all the great services they provide - both most likely would have been euthanized if it were up to those that don't want to give animals a second chance. Thank you to all the hard working staff that do what they do every day.

Dog Lover

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

Congratulations HVHS! Hopefully our county commissioners are paying attention. It would be a shame to get rid of such a great service for our citizens and animals. Well, hopefully they are busy digging up some money somewhere. Maybe from all those new ipads and cell phones they provide county workers. Or maybe from the 18% increases the highest paid staff are going to get. Any way you slice it, there IS money in the county coffers to pay for this needed service and the other human services that were cut. They just need to look beyond the status quo. Here's to taking care of the animals and people in our county!