Humane Society expansion should ease animal suffering
The Michigan Humane Society is raising money to expand its animal rescue and care services in Detroit's north end. That's good news for the 15,000 animals the Detroit facility handles every year, and for the thousands more strays that roam Detroit's streets.
Reports vary, but a Michigan State University study from February shows there are an estimated 7,500 dogs and 18,000 cats loose in the city.
Detroit, with chronically understaffed public services and just four animal control officers, has had a problem controlling the animal population and properly caring for it.
These creatures don't deserve to be neglected. As Detroit gets back on its feet, a new, improved and larger animal facility is a welcome development.
It's a challenge for Detroiters, many of whom struggle to meet their own daily needs, to properly care for and raise pets.
The city should also look to partner with nonprofits that do the important work of identifying and caring for animals in need, as well as educating owners on how to properly treat them.
There are limited pet supply stores in the city. Low-income residents often can't afford to properly feed and tend their pets. Many animals end up abandoned or abused, and dogs are organized for fighting or left tethered outside, where they can freeze to death.
Several nonprofits in Detroit work to educate animal owners on proper ways to treat and raise their pets, and they deserve credit for their work.
Education can include avoiding chaining dogs to fences, teaching owners why it's important to spay or neuter their pet, how often their pet should be fed, and even where to buy pet supplies.
The Humane Society is looking for $15.5 million to help build the new 34,000-square-foot facility.
The organization says improvements will include better housing for animals, an expansion of its veterinary services and a community dog park. It will also house the organization's Cruelty Investigation and Rescue Department.
As Detroit continues to restructure city services and improve the quality of life for residents, animals should not be left out.