Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

Michigan Humane Society

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit


Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Training, Animals, Veterinary Services

Mission: To end companion animal homelessness, to provide the highest quality service and compassion to the animals entrusted to our care, and to be a leader in promoting humane values.

Programs: Animal Welfare,Animal Adoption & Care,Veterinary Services, low-cost sterilization, Humane Education, Cruelty Investigation and Emergency Rescue, community outreach; Trap-Neuter-Return

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 1

MHS kills 7 out of 10 animals that enter their facility, year after year. Go view their reports on the Michigan Department of Agriculture website. The entire organization needs a sweep! They refused a COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT of their shelter, WHY? Now, you must make an appointment to surrender an animal...people will drop the poor animal on the side of the road, or worse! This is not the answer to improve their save rate! No transparency here! Four board members resigned in 2011 due to the HORRIFIC kill rate, excuse after excuse and their refusal to undergo a COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT. LEADERSHIP MUST CHANGE TO SAVE THE ANIMALS! DEMAND a LEADERSHIP CHANGE!



Rating: 1

Don't think people don't see the good things that go on at MHS either. Even those of us who question leadership and think the organization is headed in the wrong direction see the good. There is a lot of good going on there as well. We all know that. Once again, this is an issue of leadership and direction of the organization, and transparency.
There are a number of us who have tried to bring our issues to those at MHS who do have the authority to address our concerns. Each time we came forward with our issues, management has always been "unavailable" and board members generally don't respond. With no alternative left, a growing number of us are now speaking out about our concerns.
Asking legitimate questions and posting truthful information that gives insight into how MHS operates is not what I consider to be bashing or a personal vendetta.
Ultimately, MHS is the people's charity. The public has a right to know what goes on, how resources are used, and what oversight is in place. The public deserves to hear the truth. Period.
Speaking of the truth, the 2011 Individual Michigan Shelter Statistics are in from the Michigan Department of Agriculture:
Dogs and cats
25668 Received
17265 euthanized = 67.26% euth rate dogs and cats
8403 = 32.74% save rate dogs and cats.
Yet, on the MHS Website, it's stated that,
"MHS worked diligently to achieve its goal of 100% adoption for adoptable animals, which was reached two years ago and the organization is now working to attain that same goal for animals deemed to be as treatable."
So if MHS has achieved it's goal of a 100% adoption rate for adoptable animals, that means that MHS deemed all 17265 dogs and cats as not adoptable. It is incomprehensible that that number of animals are beyond redemption.
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."

Review from CharityNavigator



Rating: 5

MHS does so much with so little, in large part due to their great volunteers, and they are able to help over 100,000 animals a year without turning anyone away because of cost or space. If people wanted to really help animals, they would simply take their arguments up with the individuals whom which they have issues and stop pasting duplicates of their personal vendettas on review boards meant for constructive feedback of an organization. MHS doesn't bash others, continuing to work with groups that dump their unwanted cases on MHS so they can keep up the appearance of being "no-kill," the philosophical tenets of which one finds that MHS closely follows if they know the definition of the term.

Review from CharityNavigator



Rating: 1

I'm not sure that I know what "Open Admission" means anymore. This article represents a turning point when employees and volunteers began to notice a shift in focus from helping animals to numbers and money.

Critics: Humane Society goes astray

Fees, limits on dropoffs lead some to question if organization is losing its focus

John Wisely / The Detroit News

Wednesday April 12, 2006

Has the Michigan Humane Society lost touch with its original animal welfare mission?

ROCHESTER HILLS -- The Michigan Humane Society promotes its mission with pictures of cats and dogs and the slogan "Someone here needs you."

But many critics, including some former staffers and volunteers, say the state's largest animal welfare group is retreating from a mission it has pursued for more than 100 years: caring for stray animals.

"I would ask them what the mission statement is now," said Linda Gardiner of Shelby Township, who worked for four years as an administrative assistant at the Humane Society's Rochester Hills shelter before leaving last year.

The group's leader said the Michigan Humane Society remains committed to homeless animals, but in response to Detroit News questions, he acknowledges it has sent mixed messages and even instituted a fee to people who repeatedly drop off strays. He also reiterated to his staff that they must accept any animal in need.

But questions over the fate of strays loom large in the animal welfare community. More than 240,000 stray animals land in Michigan shelters each year and about 55 percent are euthanized. Some animal advocates say care of strays is best left to government-run shelters. Others say the independent, privately funded humane societies have historically offered strays a second chance and now may be drifting from that work.

Group gives mixed messages

The Michigan Humane Society, the state's largest, operates three shelters in Wayne and Oakland counties on a $12 million annual budget. Officials there insist they still take strays and if any were turned away, it was a staff mistake. But executive director Cal Morgan acknowledged his group has contributed to the confusion.

"That message has been mixed in terms of how we handle people that come up to the counter," Morgan said.

Sue McNeary said the kitten that wandered over to her Pontiac home last fall had matted fur, a famished frame and a case of fleas. But she said the staff at the Humane Society's Rochester Hills shelter turned it away.

"They said it was too sick," said McNeary, who eventually gave the cat to a rescue group. "They suggested I take it to Oakland County."

Morgan clarified the policy for staffers and volunteers in an April 6 memo.

"It is the policy of the Michigan Humane Society to accept any and all animals in need during regular business hours," Morgan wrote. Morgan said the Michigan Humane Society hasn't even discussed closing its doors to strays.

However, since mid-September, it has been urging people to take stray animals to local animal control facilities, to increase the odds of reuniting them with their owners by limiting the places pet owners must search, Morgan said.

Larry Olbrecht, manager of county animal control, said since October, monthly animal intakes to his facility are up 15 percent over the same months a year earlier.

A former Humane Society adoption counselor said the Humane Society previously asked people to take animals to the animal control office only when they had bitten someone.

"They may be saying it's not a change, but that's a change," said Brian Stouffer, 45, of Troy, who volunteered for eight years before quitting in August. He and others worry that forcing animal Samaritans to navigate multiple animal control jurisdictions may make them give up on homeless critters.

"If someone brings in a stray and we tell them put it back in your car and take it over here, that's a real pain," he said.

Under Michigan law, shelter operators who accept strays must keep them at least four business days to allow owners a chance to reclaim them.

In addition to its shelters, the Michigan Humane Society operates clinics, conducts education seminars and cruelty investigations and lobbies for animal rights. Except those under contract, humane societies are not legally obligated to accept strays. Most do, but some have stopped. The Capital Area Humane Society, which serves Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties, quit taking them four years ago, said chief executive officer Stephen Heaven.

"They are doing the right thing" by referring people to animal control, Heaven said. People who lose pets need a simple way to find them, he said.

Stray fee alienates some

The stray fee adopted last fall irked animal advocates. An internal memo obtained by The News dated Sept. 15, 2005, applies to private individuals who surrender more than three strays in 12 months.

"After an individual has surrendered three animals to MHS, a sliding scale fee in $10 increments will be assessed for subsequent animals surrendered to the MHS," said the memo from Steve Horn, chief administrative officer.

Critics argue the fee discourages people from helping strays.

"I don't think the solution is to charge people $10 per cat," said Chad Gilchrist, 34, of Hazel Park, a former shelter staff supervisor for MHS who quit last year.

Other Humane Society officials said fees could discourage people from dropping off animals.

"We know that people will dump it on the side of the road," said Tanya Hilgendorf, executive director of the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Washtenaw County, which levies no fee. "Our whole job is about giving these animals a second chance."

Morgan himself seemed confused about the fee policy.

"I'm not aware of anything that says there's a fee," Morgan said in an interview last week. But when asked about the September memo, Morgan said the policy was aimed at people who were known to drop dozens of animals at a time, even though another section of the memo addresses "placement groups." He said he doesn't believe the fee has ever been levied.

"We're always going to be committed to animal welfare on every level, strays, owner surrenders, etc," Morgan said.

Some animal welfare advocates disagree.

"I don't think they should be charging people to drop off strays," said Sherry Wozniak, 34, of Livonia, who said she donates about $100 to MHS in a typical year. She said the Humane Society is synonymous with investigating animal cruelty and caring for strays and it risks misleading people if it doesn't accept stray animals.

"With the impression they are giving, if they are changing that policy, they should let people know," she said.

Others are more skeptical.

"They have lost touch with the animals," said former staffer Linda Gardiner. "They have lost sight of what it's supposed to be."

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Pam_8


Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with, and a donor to, the Michigan Humane Society for 20 years. I type '20 years' with a smile on my face because I have so much pride in being affiliated with such a wonderful organization. I have had numerous opportunities to volunteer in different areas with MHS; animal care, fostering, fundraising, pet education, animal welfare conferences, numerous special events, and have participated in many training sessions. The Michigan Humane Society is consistent (and constant) about the homeless animals in their care being their Number 1 priority. I am constantly amazed at their willingness to try new ways to help the animals, whether it be with events, training, etc. What is important to remember is that MHS does not turn away any animals that come through their doors and MHS has so many opportunities to give animals the additional opportunities to find a loving home through various pet adoption events, not to mention the many, many foster 'parents' that take the animals in until a loving home is found. People need to remember that it is through donations and fundraising that this is possible.



Rating: 4

Being of that certain age group that has not only the maturity that comes with a 40+ year work history and all the exposures and experiences that were "fringe benefits" to that, two things stand out in my experience as a long-time volunteer with the Michigan Humane Society: 1. the unbelievable abuse and cruelty that continues to be inflicted on animals by society's underbelly, and 2. the non-stop efforts of the staff and management of MHS to their mission of promoting humane values, care and compassion towards the animals entrusted to their care and ending animal homelessness. MHS is truly a dynamic organization in the animal welfare world - continually evaluating processes and practices to bring the best possible outcomes for every animal that comes through their doors, furred, feathered or otherwise. Their open admissions policy means no animal is turned away, period. Until one actually sees the conditions of so many animals that come through the Detroit shelter's doors on a depressingly regular basis, one should not be so quick to criticize or condemn their work.