Fri. Dec 8th, 2023

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Officials from the Humane Society of Huron Valley are sounding the alarm after seeing a steep increase in the number of local pet owners needing emergency housing.

In 2023, the organization has seen three times the number of Ann Arbor area pet owners asking for help finding temporary housing for pets due to unexpected medical emergencies than in 2022.

“We don’t want to rehome animals who already have loving homes, and we know how important it to people to keep pet families together—especially during challenging times,” said HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf in a release. “Our pets are essential to our well-being—offering comfort, company, and unconditional love.  We unfortunately can do little to prevent emergencies and hardships that humans suffer, but we’re proud to be there for community pet owners when they need us and prevent further heartbreak and loss.”

The Cherry Road shelter’s Safe Harbor is one of the few temporary shelter programs in humane societies across Michigan. Animals in the emergency program are given a safe place to stay, meals, medical care, personalized attention, exercise and socialization.

The program is part of HSHV’s community services aimed at preventing pets from becoming homeless, or from being rehomed.

“But it’s not just about the animals,” Hilgendorf said. “It’s also crucially important to people and their ability to get the help they need—whether it’s related to domestic violence, a house fire, or a medical emergency—without the additional worry and stress about their beloved pet.”

Those in need of emergency care for their pets should call 734-661-3552 or 734-662-5585 to make arrangements.

HSHV is looking for volunteers to help foster pets, especially dogs, to accommodate the growing number of community members needing the Safe Harbor program.

“It’s a lifesaver,” says Karie McMahon, HSHV’s Intake manager, “That’s what we’re told time and time again by those who use our Safe Harbor program. And I get it. This year, we’ve had dozens of people who’ve suddenly been admitted to the hospital and had to leave their pet behind. And we certainly don’t want them to have to return home to find out their pet is no longer theirs—or worse.”

Community members can support the shelter program by volunteering, offering financial help, donating unopened bags of cat and dog food, or by purchasing items from HSHV’s wishlist.

“We are incredibly grateful to our community for their continued support of—well, fellow community members,” says Hilgendorf. “Without their generosity and compassion, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Those interested in becoming foster pets can find details on the program here.

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