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Review for Michigan Humane Society, Bingham Farms, MI, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

How terrible that so little improvement has been made! One year after losing four board members over its euthanasia rate, the Michigan Humane Society has hired people to evaluate shelter practices and has become more transparent, but its critics said little has changed with regard to saving animals' lives.A clarifying statement to donors identifies MHS as a stand-alone charity, rather than a statewide umbrella organization that funds other humane societies. But not all information is available.The Free Press requested copies of the full reports from the Cornell team and another consultant, as the summaries lack full findings. Last year, the Free Press requested multiple times to view animal records, to better understand euthanasia decisions. All requests were denied.But that statistic belies other numbers: From 2007-11, MHS reported to the state a euthanasia rate between 67% and 70% for dogs and cats, deeming those animals unhealthy and often taken for a fee. Another criticism of the organization is of fund-raising stories of sick and severely injured animals nursed back to health by MHS. The ads are misleading, the critics said, because donors believe such lifesaving measures are standard, even as the euthanasia numbers do not support that message. There's been no improvement."

Such criticisms were the basis of three charity fraud complaints filed in the last year against MHS with the Michigan attorney general, including one that referenced a similar case in Pennsylvania.Yet, MHS has designed its treatment protocol to transfer to other shelters and animal welfare groups those animals that it decides not to treat.Former board member Cheryl Phillips said MHS has the largest veterinary budget of any Michigan shelter, so to transfer animals rather than treat them is shifting the burden to those with fewer resources.

The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance said in a statement that the humane society's decision to disregard the intake recommendation is tantamount to animal cruelty.

"Why would MHS cling to this failed model?" the group asked in a statement. "If individuals or rescue groups were taking in more animals than they could care for, so much so that more than two-thirds of them ended up dead every year, wouldn't we call that animal cruelty?"

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