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Making them feel wanted

Inside the Alpena County Animal Control Department

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Buddy, left, and Bandit are best friends and being cared for by the staff and volunteers of Animal Control in Alpena County. The shelter still needs more kennels and outdoor fencing for the facility.

ALPENA — Officials at the Alpena County Animal Control Department say they are going to great lengths to ensure stray animals are safely captured and properly cared for and good homes are found for them.

The last few years have seen significant improvement at the small shelter at the Alpena County Fairgrounds. As a result, officials say operations are running more smoothly and effectively.

Deputy Michelle Reid is in charge of the Animal Control operation. She has a pair of part-time employees who work at the facility and volunteers who work to keep the place clean and provide the cats and dogs attention and love.

Reid said Animal Control’s number-one goal is to control the population of animals that are homeless and wandering unlicensed around the county. She said that can cause a public safety issue, because the animals can be aggressive.

Reid said the current Animal Control building is only used to house animals involved in legal issues, such as hoarding cases and strays.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena County Sheriff Deputy Michelle Reid spends some time with one of the larger dogs at the facility. She said all of the animals at the shelter are involved in some type of law issue, such as abuse or hoarding, or the animals are unlicensed.

“We are control shelter, which means we deal with animals that have some type of legal attachment to it,” she said. “We have quite a few dogs that were just dumped on us this year. I try not to turn any animal down. I work with the owners first to see if we can get the animal re-homed without having to come here”

If an animal is not spayed or neutered, that will be done in the clinic area of the facility. There could be a hold on the animal for a spell and then, if the animal is not aggressive or needed as evidence, it will be adopted out to a good home.

Nan Carrick is a volunteer at the Animal Control shelter and helps with basic cleaning duties. She spends time with the animals to help them feel wanted. She said the first time she volunteered, she was impressed with the operations, staff, and treatment of the animals.

“I came to ask about walking dogs, but I’m always hesitant, because I’m unsure of the situation and the people,” she said. “I just sort of dipped my toe in the water, at first, but, within a short period of time, I found these people here care about these animals. They are extremely careful to the people they adopt to, and this is much more than a job to them.”

Reid said that, although the facility is better-equipped than it was several years ago, there are still needs.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Dogs make up the bulk of the population at Animal Control. There are, however, a few cats, like this black one, from time to time.

She said she needs more dog kennels and chain-link fencing for the outdoor area where the dogs will have more room to run and play.

Reid said food, toys, and other supplies also are needed, and cash donations are welcome.

Reid said donations can be dropped off at the facility at the fairgrounds.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.

For more information

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Niki Halleck, left, and Aaron Dolliver give some affection to a pair of small dogs available for adoption at the Alpena County Animal Control Shelter. The two dogs need to be adopted together because of how close they are.

For more information on the Alpena County Animal Control Department, call 989-354-9841.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena County Sheriff Deputy Michelle Reid said Animal Control staff go out of their way to find homes for the animals and go to great lengths to find good homes. This orange and white cat is available and very playful.

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz There have been a lot of improvements to the current Animal Control facility, but work still needs to be done. Alpena County Sheriff Deputy Michelle Reid said donations and volunteers are always welcome.

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