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Applications open for Michigan animal shelter grants

Jasmin Barmore
The Detroit News

Michigan animal shelterscan apply for state grants to help with the care of the animals.

Applications for the 2021 Animal Welfare Funding is open for registered shelters in Michigan. The deadline to apply for the grants,throught the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, is Oct. 15.  There are 194 registered shelters in Michigan, the department said.

A black and white female cat peek through the bars as a volunteer cleans cages in the room  at the Detroit Animal Care and Control facility in Detroit, Michigan on October 25, 2016.

The grants can be used to support dog and cat sterilization, provide training for law enforcement agencies for anti-cruelty programs, support animal care programs for the public and help shelters with reimbursement costs of care for animals involved in legal investigations.

Last year, the department awarded $127,240 to 23 shelters, the department said, but not all that is collected from state tax returns goes toward grants. Some of the donations are kept in reserve, said Jessy Sielski, deputy public information officer for the Agriculture Department. 

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"I think it's incredible, said Cathy Bissell, founder of the Bissell Pet Foundation, of the state program that dedicates money directly to animal welfare groups.  

COVID-19 has interruped fundraising and outreach for shelters, hurting their bottom line, Bissell said. The loss financially also means fewer pets are being spayed or neutered, she said.

The Bissell foundation held an "Empty the Shelters" campaign over the weekend in Michigan. The effort animals helps spur animal adoptions in shelters.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture disburses the money from funds collected from  taxpayers who check the “Animal Welfare Fund” box on their state tax returns.

“Because of these funds, despite the complications that arose due to the pandemic, current grantees were able to provide crucial care for their animals,” said state veterinarian Nora Wineland. “Thanks to the generous support of Michiganders, local animal shelters across Michigan continue to have the ability to make a positive impact in their community.”

As a result of the donations since 2010, more than $1.3 million has been awarded to 189 facilities.