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Michigan's overcrowded animal shelters appeal to the public to foster or adopt a pet

 Animal shelters say they are in crisis, with too many surrendered animals and not enough veterinarians to care for them, or people to adopt them
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Animal shelters say they are in crisis, with too many surrendered animals and not enough veterinarians to care for them, or people to adopt them

Animal shelters across the state are in an overcrowding crisis, according to Deborah Schutt, chair of the Michigan Pet Alliance.

The Alliance represents animal welfare groups including shelters.

Schutt said it's due to a perfect storm of issues related to the pandemic. She said people were less likely to take their pets to a veterinarian during the pandemic to get them spayed or neutered.

In addition, many veterinarians who could perform the surgeries retired, making it very hard to get an appointment.

And veterinary schools have not increased their admissions in order to increase the supply of graduates.

"Spay and neuter was kind of put on hold for a while," Schutt said. "We're seeing more animals come in the shelter than we were seeing before COVID, especially kittens. Oh my goodness, we are seeing lots of kittens."

Schutt said people can help relieve the overcrowding by fostering or adopting a pet, or if they can't do either, then donating to their local shelter. She hopes people will consider getting a pet from a shelter before obtaining one through a breeder.

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.