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Huron Humane Society sees increase in animal intakes

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Huron Humane Society Animal Technician and floor manager Mikaleh Strothers peeks in on Shrimp, who is recovering in an incubator after being abandoned at the shelter. Shrimp is one of many kittens currently looking for homes, or will be soon.

ALPENA — People in Northeast Michigan looking to adopt a cat or kitten will have no problem finding one if they visit the Huron Humane Society.

On Monday, HHS vice president Mary Eagan gave a report to the Alpena Municipal Council, and shared that the shelter is taking in more animals than last year, and working hard to maintain their health and find them homes, while still being financially responsible.

Eagan said there are several reasons why more animals are brought to the shelter. She said during the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many people who were at home decided to get pets.

As people have returned to their normal routines, they have discovered they may not have the time or resources to care for them.

Eagan said the more animals the shelter cares for, the more costly it is for the shelter as veterinarian bills and other expenses rise.

Despite that, she said it only strengthens the administrators, staff, and volunteers’ resolve to serve the animals and community.

“It is a tremendous financial burden, but it is our mission to help these animals find the home that is the best fit for them. Everything we do is in the best interest of the animals,” Eagan said.

The pandemic also made fundraising more challenging. The shelter was forced to cancel some of its biggest events.

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With creative thinking, it came up with other ideas that helped to weather the storm but, Eagan said, donations are still needed and welcome.

“We have a lot of sick kittens, so the vet bills are starting to pile up,” she said. “It has been a hard time, but the community’s support for things like our bottle drive have been very helpful and we are very thankful for the community for its support.”

There have also been many improvements made to the facility, which will make for a better experience for employees, visitors, and most importantly, the animals, Eagan said.

She said instead of a community cat room, cats are now more separated, which helps to prevent outbreaks of illnesses. Other amenities have been added to keep them entertained too, such as outdoor, enclosed areas that feature elevated catwalks, a television that plays animal videos, and even radio speakers that feature human voices that help familiarize some of the more shy or traumatized felines and canines with human sounds and speech.

“For some animals that are a little spooked the voice helps to create a little more positive experience during personal interaction,” she said. “We have also added pheromone dispensers that help to calm the animals, and make them come comfortable.”

Eagan said people who wish to adopt a pet can fill out an application at the shelter’s website, or schedule an appointment at the facility. Each application is reviewed and an owner is selected according to what the shelter believes is the best fit for the cat or dog.

“It’s not first come, first serve,” Eagan said. “It is our job to find the best situation for the animal because we don’t want them to come back to the shelter. Each time they come back, they get more traumatized, and it is harder to find them homes.”

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