MI Humane Society Threatens to Lead the Way for America’s Animal Shelters

Which of the following is based on a true story?

  • OJ Simpson to counsel men in advanced spousal conflict resolution techniques
  • New diet book to be based exclusively on recipes from Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Graduate of Ted Bundy Charm School to speak at conference on women’s rights
  • MI shelter which kills roughly 7 out of 10 of its pets despite holding zero animal control contracts to mentor other shelters in the state

Unfortunately, the answer is not None of the Above:

Michigan Humane Society (MHS), under the umbrella of the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare (MPAW), will provide training and mentoring where it is most needed, establishing new communication platforms among groups, enabling inter-agency animal transport, and acting as a central resource for the state. MHS is the state’s largest animal sheltering organization. They have many specialists on staff in such critical areas as animal care, evaluation, medical treatment, cruelty investigation, adoptions, sterilization, shelter construction, animal transport, fundraising, legislation, etc. They plan to expand access to our experts so that northern organizations can benefit from their knowledge and experience.

Let’s clarify what that “knowledge and experience” is exactly.  MHS provides animal control services for no city, county, region, town, neighborhood, street corner, or bus stop.  In other words, they aren’t tasked with impounding strays or any other animals by any public entity.  To put it yet another way, MHS only takes in the animals it wants to.  MHS chooses to accept all animals brought through its doors.  And then kills most of them.  Because it wants to.  I see no other possible explanation.

There is no standard excuse that that applies to MHS such as those that many pet killing facilities use in an effort to shift blame for the killing.  “We have to protect the public from dangerous dogs and disease ridden cats.”  “We are contractually obligated to accept all animals within the county/city.”  blah.  MHS does not have to protect the public from any animal.  It has no contractual obligation with any government entity to accept any animal.  MHS could, if it wanted to, turn away any animals it could not guarantee a right to live.  Instead, it chooses to accept all animals, killing the vast majority of them.

The above linked article says MHS sent out a representative to visit with dozens of shelters already because “[r]elating to a very large organization like Michigan Humane Society can be intimidating”.  I would posit that finding out how to do your animal control job from someone who doesn’t perform animal control but kills homeless animals anyway can be horrifying and revolting.  The article adds, in reference to MHS:

[T]heir size and resources allow them to help link northern and southern groups together, so that we can all do a better job helping the animals in our care by working smart, collaborating, and leading the way for the nation.

Oh no.  Please, don’t.

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22 Comments

  1. Meaghan Edwards

     /  January 9, 2013

    Really spot on. Ick. My skin still crawls at Animal Planet’s Animal Cops Detroit (and Houston . . .).

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

     /  January 9, 2013

    Are they charging for this expertise?

    Reply
  3. Clarice

     /  January 9, 2013

    This is an empty gesture when MHS visits the lowest kill shelters in the state. Is MHS hoping to transfer some of their animals to these successful shelters, thus increasing the save rate at MHS? Michigan has many areas where most of the shelters have kill rates in excess of 80%. Those are the shelters that need help.

    Reply
  4. Why is it that all the shelters that were on Animal Planet are nothing but hell-holes? Did they realize this during or after filming?

    Reply
    • My guess is because those are the ones that don’t even care to put effort into improving their operations, and so expend those efforts elsewhere.

      Reply
  5. Dr Betty Schueler

     /  January 9, 2013

    Every time I think Michigan has hit rock bottom, when it comes to animal control and care, something like this comes up to prove me wrong. Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is a travesty and a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. I wonder who came up with the bright idea of networking the shelter groups under the mentoring of MHS staff? It sure wasn’t someone who gave a hoot about treating animals humanely.

    Reply
  6. db

     /  January 9, 2013

    It sounds like they are taking lessons from the other biggies in “non” animal welfare. This is nothing but a terrible idea. More animals will die!

    Reply
    • db

       /  January 9, 2013

      Contact them directly at http://www.michiganhumane.org. I just sent an email. Can’t hurt, and if they know that they are getting some public scrutiny, perhaps they will take another look. But don’t count on it . . .

      Reply
  7. KarenJ

     /  January 9, 2013

    The “Animal Control and Shelter Club” is so tight – and so dysfunctional and it’s a multi-million dollar killing machine – funded on hard working taxpayers’ money. They continue to promote failure and mediocrity when the road map is out there and the citizens want to help. I’m emailing them too. I’ll be waiting to hear if anyone hears anything back…

    Reply
    • KarenJ

       /  January 9, 2013

      OMG – you gotta see their flow chart. It shows that they deemed 62.6% of their impound as UNHEALTY / UNTREATABLE and they killed them. They claim a “Placement Rate” “No Kill Rate” of 79.4%. How is this spin even taken seriously by ANYONE.

      http://www.michiganhumane.org/site/DocServer/2011_Michigan_Humane_Society_Animal_Intakes___Outcomes_R.pdf?docID=5201

      Reply
      • db

         /  January 9, 2013

        Kind of mind boggling, isn’t it? They’ve had good folks on their board of directors go “pubic” with this and have resigned, but for some reason, the public continues to buy what they’re selling. It just makes me sick to my stomach. I’m sure their excuse will be DETROIT!

      • Clarice

         /  January 9, 2013

        Only one of the three MHS shelters is located in Detroit. Rochester and Westland have been trying to have their stats separated from the Detroit location. I imagine the Detroit location accounts for the greatest percentage of the kill rate.

      • db

         /  January 9, 2013

        Right – but that might be their excuse!

      • Jennifer

         /  January 9, 2013

        If a vet is diagnosing these animals as unhealthy/untreatable then he/she needs to be reported to the state vet board!

  8. If MHS was in North Carolina they would definitely be on the short list for a North Carolina Voters For Animal Welfare/HSUS “Shelter We Love” award. But they probably don’t use a gas chamber … that would count against them.

    Reply
  9. Isn’t it better that more groups are working together? I would think that more groups working together would mean more resources working toward finding more homes, but maybe I don’t understand the entire situation.

    Reply
    • db

       /  January 10, 2013

      The problem is a big budget and very restrictive opinion about which animals are deemed “adoptable”. They kill many more than they adopt out – and these are not the attitudes and leadership that Michigan facilities need. We do enough killing in this state without MHS supporting it.

      Reply
    • This is about a systems issue. MHS has a failed system for running a shelter, as proven by its own reported statistics and what we know about the shelter medicine assessment they refuse to release.

      There are many amazing shelters in Michigan that save 80-90 percent+ of their pets, and that are municipal shelters obligated to take all pets. MHS kills 70 percent and holds NO animal control contracts.

      Why on earth should MHS be mentoring other shelters, given this track record? I don’t know about others, but I like to learn from success, not failure.

      Reply
  10. Molly

     /  January 12, 2013

    Great insight in your article. Those of us in animal welfare would love to stop the bickering with and about MHS. The problem is that until they focus their efforts on their internal operations, it’s hard to take them seriously about helping others. They kill 75% of their animals and then go talk to UPaws about how to improve what they do? MHS could take a lesson from UPaws on how to run effective programs. In the end, this all means more money for MHS and less for shelters and rescues in across the state. MHS has already taken away many Petsmart locations for rescues to showcase their adoptable animals. They have 3 shelters to bring adopters to. Rescues rely on these retail locations to do the majority of their adoptions. Take a look at the number of animals they have online at these locations-they don’t even fill the cages. The problem with MHS is that they have always wished to be a statewide organization, but they don’t put their resources toward taking care of their own backyard. Do as I say, not as I do. Make MPAW an independent organization & others will join in.

    Reply
  11. John

     /  January 18, 2013

    MHS in westland does have animal control contracts (sort of) they get paid to house or disposition animals from 7 different cities.

    Reply

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