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Animal shelters get state grant money at critical time

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Animal welfare grants are now available as more shelters reach “critical capacity,” still experiencing devasting effects from the pandemic

“These poor dogs have become very disposable.”

Jan Jacobs is the board president of Pound Buddies Animal Shelter and Adoption Center in Muskegon. She’s grateful for a $25,000 grant from the state which comes at a critical time. The shelter is taking in 62% more dogs since 2021.

“When you’re going from feeding 100 dogs a week to feeding 150 dogs a week, you can see how that takes a toll on our expenses.”

Jacobs has two theories for the increase: people changing their minds after adopting puppies during the COVID pandemic, and inflation making dog ownership more expensive. With all shelters at capacity, Jacobs says some owners abandon their pets.

“The number of dogs, stray dogs, that go unclaimed – we know they have an owner – has increased by 52%.”

COVID dogs were also isolated along with their owners, and unsocialized dogs are harder to adopt out. That means staff is spending more time socializing them.

“Our expenses for staffing alone have increased 32% since COVID.”

Jacobs says Pound Buddies is committed to not euthanizing any healthy adoptable dogs, so to house the influx, they’ve had to expand.

“That meant purchasing new kennels to actually house these dogs until we could work with them long enough to get them into new adoptive homes.”

She says the grant money is the relief the shelter needs right now.

“Its life-changing for the shelter because it came at a time when we were stretched pretty thin.”

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