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'This summer has been a rough one'; West Michigan animal shelters see increased intake

Shelter leaders say that considering adoption and making monetary and physical donations is the best way to help at this time.

MICHIGAN, USA — Local animal shelters say this is their busiest time of year for intake of dogs and cats, and they need relief from the community. 

Shelter leaders say considering adoption and making monetary and physical donations is the best way to help at this time.

"This summer has been a rough one," Megan Winters, Director of Shelter Operations at Harbor Humane Society of Ottawa County, says. "It definitely is a lot more challenging this year compared to prior years. Just because those numbers are working against each other."

The shelter has been operating at full capacity for some time now, seeing an increased intake of animals, an increased amount of time they stay there and a decrease of people looking to adopt.

Winters say this time of year, the community comes through with donations of food and supplies, but the need seems never-ending.

"Then two weeks later, it's like we're in the same position, like we just have so many mouths to feed that we can't keep up," she says.

At Kent County Animal Shelter, this is their busiest time of year too, in terms of intake.

"We have taken in over 200 animals since the start of the month, actually 247 to be exact since September 1," Director Angela Hollinshead says. 

Things have improved there though, compared to ten years ago.

"I think in the last decade of 800 animals coming in a single month, which is a huge number," she says.

Hollinshead says meeting the community with resources to keep their animals rather than surrendering them helps, like food, supplies and training.

"If we can get those pets back to their families before they come in here, we don't have to worry about how we're going to find them a home if they don't come for them," she says. 

At Harbor Humane, they work on that too.

"We try to do anything we can," Winters says. "But it's kind of constantly just like a puzzle of figuring out how everyone can fit and how we can still provide all of the animals in our care top notch care, so we're not sacrificing their time here, because we have so many of them."

Something else that helps take the burden off shelters is helping reunite lost pets you find with their families. The ways you can do that are by checking social media, collars and microchips. 

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