Dogs from neglect case available for adoption at Kent Co. shelter

The Kent County Animal Shelter has announced that 10 dogs taken in from a recent animal cruelty case in Grand Rapids are now ready and available for adoption.

Hundi is a 13-year-old Lab mix who has only three legs. She was saved from a neglect case in Grand Rapids and is now available for adoption.

Because the former owner pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and thus forfeited ownership, KCAS (with the help of Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary) was able to save and rehabilitate the dogs, many of whom were underweight, injured and suffering from signs of neglect.

The dogs include two Chihuahuas, two German shepherd mixes, three Doberman pinschers, two Lab/border collie mixes and one long-haired mixed breed dog.  Ages range from 2 years to 13 years old, according to Lisa LaPlante, marketing and communications manager for the Kent County Health Department.

Hundi, a 13-year-old Lab mix, is among the dogs rescued from the animal cruelty case. She is a special case in that she has only three legs. One of her hind legs was amputated previously, LaPlante said in a news release, in an incident unrelated to the neglect situation.

The release said Kent County Animal Control Officers had worked with the former owner for several months, asking her to improve the living conditions for these dogs. In November,  according to LaPlante, it became apparent that KCAS needed to intervene.

The former owner was charged in November with animal cruelty, punishable by up to a year in jail, and failure to license a dog. The guilty plea to the cruelty charge dropped the second charge. The former owner is scheduled to be sentenced next month, the release said.

KCAS took control of the dogs in November. Mackenzie’s assisted, taking in five of the dogs for a week.

Anyone interested in adopting one of the dogs, or any dog at KCAS, can visit the shelter at 740 Fuller NE in Grand Rapids. Thanks to a grant from the BISSELL Pet Foundation, dog adoptions through the end of the year are just $82 and include spay/neuter, all vaccinations, microchip and licensing for 2013.

The Kent County Animal Shelter is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. KCAS will be closed Christmas eve and Christmas day a well as New Year’s day.


Challenge not met, but Kent Co. Animal Shelter a big winner with 300 adopted pets

The Kent County Animal Shelter may not have reached the goal set by the ASPCA and Rachael Ray in the $100K Challenge, but officials at KCAS say they’re thrilled at what the staff did accomplish during the three-month contest period.

This adorable Jack Russell terrier mix was one of 300 pets adopted from the Kent County Animal Shelter during the three-month challenge. (Photo courtesy KCAS)

KCAS was challenged to “save” 300 more animals in the three-month period from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31 in 2012 over last year’s numbers for the same period. Saves included adoptions, field officers returning pets to their owners and owners claiming lost pets at the facility.

Total “saves” for the three months in 2012 was 674, beating last year’s total of 537. That’s a 26 percent increase, but it didn’t quite meet the goal of the challenge.

What surpassed expectations, however, was a 138 percent increase in adoptions from the animal shelter. In all, 300 pets were adopted in three months, beating last year’s total of 126 during the same period.

KCAS earned enough votes in the West Michigan community to qualify for the competition and was one of 50 shelters nation wide competing. The Challenge includes several other categories such as divisional winners and community engagement. Winners of the various monetary prizes will be announced Nov. 30.

KCAS was able to use special pricing on its adoptions, just $50 for dogs and $5 for cats, throughout the contest thanks to a grant from the Bissell Pet Foundation’s Blocktail Party. While the pricing no doubt played a big role in the number of pets adopted, equally important was getting the word out about the animal shelter’s adoption program.

Animal shelter program supervisor Carly Luttmann and her staff worked tirelessly to promote the campaign online through the IC Pawz website and Facebook page, even posting pictures of every adopted pet with its new family.

“This competition brought in dozens of families who had never come to the Kent County Animal Shelter in the past,” Cathy Raevsky, the Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department, said in a press release. “Our dedicated staff worked incredibly hard to promote adoptions and return lost pets to their owners over the past three months.

 “We are so grateful to the Bissell Pet Foundation for the support they gave us these past few months. The real winners are all of the pets who found homes through this event, as well as the families who found a new friend.”

Lisa LaPlante, marketing and communications director of the health department, said she’s happy to celebrate the “little victories” of the Challenge.

“There are nearly 300 families who adopted a pet during this competition — some had never been to the KCAS,” LaPlante said. “There are 300 pets that are up-to-date on vaccines, spayed or neutered, and microchipped, that if they get lost, there is a much better chance of them being returned to their owner. Our efforts raised the level of visibility of the work the KCAS does every day. We may not have won the Challenge, but we can celebrate these victories.”

LaPlante pointed out that while the competition is done, there still are still many pets at KCAS in need of homes. The shelter is open  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Adoptions and visitations end one hour before closing.

For more information, call the shelter at (616) 632-7300 or check them out online at


KCAS announces ICPAWZ campaign to meet $100K Challenge goals

If you’ve seen the ICPAWZ billboards and signs around the Grand Rapids area and wondered what it’s all about, Carly Luttmann of the Kent County Animal Shelter today finally let the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

In fact, Luttmann, KCAS program supervisor, is behind the campaign, which kicks off the organization’s entry in the ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. The animal shelter qualified for the Challenge by finishing 27th out of 108 shelters nationwide during the preliminary voting period earlier this summer.

Now, the real “Challenge” begins. KCAS must “save” 300 more animals from  Aug. 1 through Oct. 31 than it did in that same span last year. A “save” is counted if an animal is adopted from KCAS, or a stray from the field is returned to its owner by KCAS, or an animal transferred to another organization is then adopted from that facility.

KCAS received a big boost to help meet the Challenge. With $41,000 in grant money it received from the BISSELL Pet Foundation, from the profits generated through this year’s successful BISSELL Blocktail Party, the animal shelter is able to offer adoptions of its dogs and cats at significantly reduced rates.

Cat adoptions during the 90-day Challenge are just $5, while families can adopt a dog from      KCAS for just $50, plus the cost of a dog license. All animals will be up to date on vaccinations and spayed and neutered, so if you or a family member or friend is thinking about getting a new pet, doing so from August to the end of October not only saves you money, it also helps KCAS in its effort to win the $100,000 Challenge prize.

KCAS has launched a website,, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter account (@ICPawz) to promote the event and give the public the opportunity to monitor how it’s doing. The public can use the website to follow the progress, see how many pets have been adopted and see photos of pets and families who adopted them for the duration of the contest. People also can view the many adoptable pets at KCAS.

A kickoff celebration with food, fun, prizes and adoption opportunities, sponsored by BISSELL Pet Foundation, takes place Saturday, Aug. 4  from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last adoption counselor appointment is 3 p.m.), and the public is invited. The event will be held at KCAS, 740 Fuller NE in Grand Rapids.


Crash’s Landing, Kent Co. Animal Shelter, Harbor Humane all could use our help

You know what? The world would be a much better place if we all helped each other out just a little more. Sounds pretty simple, but oftentimes opportunities are lost when even one small gesture could make a huge difference.

Taking anywhere from 8 to 30 seconds to vote for a good cause on Facebook, helping an organization or person/pet in need. Signing a petition on or some other cause. Donating when you have a few extra dollars instead of spending it on something frivolous.

Not only do you make someone else feel good, you feel pretty good about being able to help, too.

I bring this up because some events are going on (and coming up) that require action, and because some of our own stepped up to help out others in need.


Crash’s Landing & Big Sid’s Sanctuary is the only pet-related organization to make it to  the top five in Erhardt Construction Building Our Community contest. The top vote-getter for the final round will receive a $45,000 construction project. For those unfamiliar with Crash’s, it’s a cage-free shelter for sick and injured stray cats in Grand Rapids.

Check out the video Crash’s submitted for the contest: Cat Rescue–Crash’s Landing Video for Erhardt Building Our Community Contest

Only one vote per person is allowed in the final round of voting, which started Monday and continues through Aug. 17. You must register to vote, and you’ll be sent a confirmation e-mail after you vote. Note that you must click the link on your confirmation in order for your vote to count!

If Crash’s wins the big prize, it plans to build an on-site medical treatment room for its many cats in need. To register and vote for Crash’s, go to: Check for updates on Crash’s Facebook page.


The Kent County Animal Shelter made it through the qualifying heat of the ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge and now must “save” 300 more animals from Aug. 1 through Oct. 31 than it did for those three months in 2011. A “save” is defined as an adoption, stray animal reclaim to its owner or transfer to another organization that results in an adoption.

To meet its goal, KCAS must save at least 843 animals (300 more than during that period last year). If you or your friends or family have been thinking about a new pet, visit KCAS during the Challenge and help them meet their goal.  

KCAS will have a Challenge Kick-Off Party on Saturday, Aug. 4, featuring extended Saturday adoption hours, free pizza, raffle prizes and demonstrations. The BISSELL Pet Foundation is sponsoring the bash, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last adoption counsels that day are at 3 p.m.

Cat adoptions for the event are just $5, and dog adoptions are just $50 plus the cost of a dog license. Pre-approved adoption applications are highly encouraged for this event to help expedite the adoption process on event day. Go the KCAS adoption program page to download the application by clicking Dog Adoption Survey.

Once the Challenge begins, follow the progress on the Kent County Health Department  Facebook page.


Harbor Humane Society recently sent out a plea for financial assistance from the public. The organization experienced a spike in serious medical conditions of many of its animals and launched an emergency medical campaign to raise $75,000 in public donations.

While it isn’t flush with funds, the Humane Society of West Michigan stepped up to help. HSWM will take in two of Harbor Humane’s dogs who are in great need of medical assistance. One dog has a broken front leg and the other is heartworm positive.

 “Animal welfare is not a single organization’s responsibility.  In order to have the most impact we must collaborate and assist one another whenever possible,” Trudy Ender, HSWM Executive Director, said in a press release.  “Our staff at Humane Society of West Michigan are pleased to shelter these two animals and assist Harbor Humane in this difficult time. “

HSWM is caring for more than 275 animals on its own and couldn’t take in more from Harbor Humane, but is doing what it can by taking a couple of the more severe medical cases.

If you’d like to donate to Harbor Humane’s emergency medical campaign, click here.


Animal shelter saves 14 pets, including 10 dogs, from unsanitary conditions

Dogs living in their own waste led Kent County Animal Control officers to remove 14 animals, including 10 dogs, from a Grand Rapids home.

One of the dogs, and her puppy, taken from a home on Grand Rapids northeast side. (Photo/Kent County Health Department)

During last week’s heat wave, when the temperature consistently was in the 100s, a neighbor called to report the condition of the northeast side home, which had three cats and a chinchilla in addition to the dogs.

The complaint came during one of hottest days of year,” Lisa LaPlante, marketing and communications manager of the Kent County Health Department, said. “The call reported the dogs were living in their own waste. What we found were completely unsanitary conditions and we were concerned of welfare of the animals and of people nearby.”

The city of Grand Rapids has no restrictions on the number of dogs one can own, LaPlante said, as long as they all are properly licensed and living in sanitary conditions.

The owner of the home, whose name has not been released, didn’t want to cooperate, according to a news release sent by the health department. Animal control has charged her with misdemeanor animal cruelty and neglect. LaPlante said the woman’s arraignment will be next week.

When animal control asked the woman to sign over the animals to their custody, she declined.

The animals are being held and rehabilitated at the Kent County Animal Shelter, where they’re undergoing medical treatment and grooming. Eventually, they’ll be evaluated, trained and put up for adoption.The dogs, mixes of terrier, Pomeranian and Chihuahua, are being treated for parasites as well as sores from flea infestation.

Some also had dental issues, which could come from not eating proper food or from not receiving veterinary care on a regular basis,” LaPlante said. “I don’t know the specifics of why these dogs have issues, but generally those are reasons.”

LaPlante said animal shelter staff will work to socialize and train the dogs once they’re evaluated and healthy. LaPlante said she observed the dogs when she walked through the holding area Wednesday afternoon.

Some just cowered in the corner of the cage because they were so frightened,” LaPlante said. “It just breaks your heart to see that. We’re just trying to give them love and attention, get them washed and groomed and treated.”

Carly Luttmann, animal shelter supervisor, and Dr. Laurie Wright, the staff veterinarian, will continue evaluating the dogs to determine when they would be available for adoption. 

“A few are a little shy but they’ve shown improvement in socialization since they’ve been in our care,” Luttmann said. “It seems like all of them will be candidates. They did well through the grooming and cleaning and treatment for parasites.”

Luttmann said none of the dogs, three males and seven females, are licensed, nor are they spayed or neutered. One female has a weeks-old puppy.