Sunday, April 3, 2011

Humane Society of Huron Valley earns accolade as best large animal shelter in Michigan

Washtenaw County's very own Humane Society of Huron Valley does a phenomenal job of so many things, but do you really know the reach of their work?

What's the image that pops into your head when you think of HSHV? It's likely that what goes on in the day-to-day is very different than you might think.

The organization takes in all animals, whether they be unwanted, injured, stray or otherwise, and they adopt most of these animals back out to responsible homes.

The people who work and volunteer there also cultivate a culture of responsible pet ownership by way of education programs, assistance with training and even help with correcting behavioral issues with pets. Also, low-cost spay and neuter services are available.

Pet owners can go for help when a temporary financial burden or life-changing event occurs so that they can keep their companion animals, by way of the Safe Harbor and Bountiful Bowls programs.

Assistance with reuniting lost pets with their families is part of what HSHV does, too.

Providing 24-hour rescue services for sick or injured stray animals, the Cruelty and Rescue division responds to cases of cruelty and neglect reported by residents.

They cover a lot of areas with regard to the care of pets, and they do it well. So well, in fact, that on March 25, they were honored with the Outstanding Large Shelter award by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance at the first No Kill Conference in Ann Arbor.

HSHV was ranked No. 1 among all large shelters in Michigan, and with a current save rate of 81 percent, it's no wonder.

"We are very honored by this award,” said Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV executive director. “I accepted the award, but it is certainly not mine … it belongs to our staff and volunteers who provide the love, refuge, protection, and new beginnings to the lost, hurt and abandoned. It is created through the magical alchemy of their blood, sweat and tears. It is also for our board members, donors, and government officials who believe in what we are doing and make sure we have the support to do it well. Being truly successful is always a story about love and about perseverance. When you have both, you can’t be stopped from meeting your goals.”

Representatives from rescue organizations and animal shelters in the small, medium and large category were in attendance at the important event.

HSHV shares some of the same goals as other animal welfare groups. Because of that, people make the mistake of assuming that they are somehow tied together, which is unfortunate.

“Some people believe that all humane societies are governed by one organization or receive money from other agencies," said Hilgendorf. "That is not the case. All animal welfare groups are completely independent and do not share donations. It’s important that people do their homework when deciding where their donor dollars are going and which organizations are really saving lives. It’s up to community members to demand more from the organizations caring for the homeless pets in their hometowns.”

So, the next time that you are considering where your support for companion animals is directed — whether it's financial or otherwise — consider wisely. You have the highest-rated facility — which helps over 10,000 small animals each year — and pet-related resource right in your backyard.

Read more about the award, and the ranking of other large animal shelter rankings by clicking here.

Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger and writes about various pet-related topics. She welcomes your contact via email, and to follow her daily adventures as owner of Professional Pet Sitting on Twitter.

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