• August 20, 2021 1:57 PM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    Free funding is tough to come by these days, but Michigan Pet Alliance (MPA) is making four opportunities available to all Michigan nonprofit rescues and licensed shelters. However, this is the last year that MPA grants will be open to everyone. Beginning next year, grant awards will be available only to MPA members. If your shelter or rescue is not yet an MPA member, you can join today via our website.

    The theme for the 2021 grants and awards program is Lessons Learned From COVID-19. Two awards of $1,500 each are available to Michigan animal shelters and rescue organizations that demonstrate positive changes made to operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    MPA invites licensed shelters and nonprofit rescue organizations to apply for a grant by providing detailed information on how something good, and most likely unexpected, resulted from a challenging and tragic global pandemic. Positive operational changes can be from any area, from intake to adoptions, from cleaning protocols to customer service. In addition to the $1,500 cash award, each winner will receive a one-year membership to MPA, a plaque and public recognition in the animal welfare community.

    Both grant awards are made possible thanks to the generosity of the Humane Society of Macomb Foundation.

    MPA is also awarding two additional training and improvement grants. The first is a free shelter assessment, a value of $3,000. A shelter assessment includes a site visit, interviews with key staff and a review of operational materials. A blueprint report of recommended changes and improvements will be provided to the shelter. Shelter management reviews the report, then an online conference call is scheduled to review the blueprint report and answer questions. The report also includes lists of resources and sample documents, and the report and timeline can be used to gage accomplishments toward improvements.

    The second is a training grant valued at $1,000. This grant includes onsite staff and volunteer training, as well as various training modules that can be tailored to a shelter’s specific needs.

    There is no cost to apply for any of the grant awards. Applications with attachments must be submitted by midnight ET on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at this link https://form.jotform.com/212124189745053. Winners will be notified by September 30, 2021.

    Eligibility for Grants and Awards 

    To be considered for the grant awards, shelters or rescues must meet the following criteria:

    ● Animal shelters must be licensed with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)

    ● Home-based 501(c)3 rescue organizations must be located in Michigan and registered with the Michigan Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Section


    1. Electronic applications with attachments must be submitted by midnight ET on Monday, August 30, 2021.
    Winners will be notified by September 30, 2021.

    2. Submissions must be existing projects, programs or SOPs currently in use by the shelter or rescue.

    3. Shelters and rescues may submit for consideration a maximum of one project or program for a $1,500 prize, one shelter assessment award request and one training award request.

    4. Shelters must be licensed with MDARD and have at least one animal shelter report on file. Rescues must be a 501c3 nonprofit and registered with the Michigan Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Section.

    5. Recipients may be invited to present their award-winning projects, programs and SOPs at a future MPA workshop or conference.

    6. Winning submissions may be posted on the MPA website and shared with the animal welfare community. Award winners may be highlighted in the MPA monthly newsletter, on MPA social media channels and in press materials.

    If you have questions about the application process or eligibility requirements, please contact us at (313) 731-2244 or email info@michiganpet.org.

    For a PDF version of this article, please click here.

  • May 26, 2021 11:34 PM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    The ASPCA’s Behavior Rehabilitation Center (BRC) has been cooking up some new cool recipes to keep shelter pups or any pups happy this summer.    

    Try them to bring some added enrichment to the animals in your care.

    Nutty Monkey


    Frozen bananas
    Xylitol-free peanut butter
    Xylitol-free plain yogurt

    Step 1: Place one spoonful of peanut butter into a hollow chew toy. Holding the toy upright, tap the bottom against the countertop until peanut butter drops to the bottom of the toy.

    Step 2: Place frozen banana chunk into the toy; push and force if needed. Then place one more spoonful of peanut butter into the toy and tap again until it drops further in.

    Step 3: Top with 1-2 spoonsful of plain yogurt, then 1 last spoonful of peanut butter.

    Savory Apple


    Fresh apples
    Apple corer
    Xylitol-free peanut butter

    Step 1: Place the apple upright on the counter and push the apple corer down the center to remove the core. Throw the apple core away. Be sure to throw out any seeds where curious pups can’t get to them!  

    Step 2: Use a spoon to fill the hole with peanut butter. 

    Step 3: Place prepared apple treats in the freezer overnight.

    Serve frozen for a fun and challenging treat

    Pumpkin Cup


    Mini dog biscuits
    Pumpkin puree
    Xylitol-free yogurt


    Step 1: Mix 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree into a full large container of yogurt.

    Step 2: Spoon the mixture into paper cups.

    Step 3: Stick mini dog biscuits into the mixture and freeze overnight!

    Serve frozen to keep a pup busy!



    Diluted beef broth, chicken broth, or apple juice
    Dry dog food
    Soft dog treats or biscuits

    Step 1: Fill your freezer with empty containers of varying sizes.

    Step 2: Pour enough dry dog food into each container so that the bottom is covered, but the food forms a thick layer, no more than 1-inch thick.

    Step 3: Add either 1-3 soft dog treats or 1 biscuit to each container.

    Step 4: Fill each container with the broth or apple juice of your choosing and let freeze overnight. You can alternate these flavors and have a “Flavor of the Week” to keep things fresh and interesting!

    Make sure to follow portions carefully to avoid making tummies too full!

  • February 14, 2021 11:15 AM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you have the power to help control cat overpopulation in your community. That’s why the Community Cats Podcast and the United Spay Alliance are pleased to partner up to offer cat rescuers and advocates a three-day virtual conference February 26–28 that focuses on spaying and neutering feral, stray, and homeless animals.

    You’ll learn from renowned animal welfare experts who will be part of the virtual event. They’ll show you best practices, tips, and tricks for successful spay neuter programs.

    Speakers include Dr. Sara Pizano of Team Shelter USA, who will talk about grant funding; Ruth Steinberger of Spay First! on the search to find veterinarians; Leah Kennon, Medical Director at the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon on how to start a TNR program; and Dr. G. Robert Weedon, Community Cat Surgeon at TLC PetSnip, Inc. will share his insights on TNR as a public health matter. Many other notable community cat experts will be featured as well.

    We’ll make sure what you learn is actionable and affordable—things you can do no matter what your resources are. The event begins the evening of Friday, February 26 and then runs all day Saturday and Sunday, February 27 and 28. Registration is $75. If you can’t make it to the live virtual event, you can watch recordings of the presentations at a later date. To sign up, just visit communitycatspodcast.com/united-spay-alliance-conference-2021/.

  • February 14, 2021 11:02 AM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    Giving up a pet can be devastating. Giving up a pet due to an eviction, can be even more devastating.  Michigan does not collect comprehensive eviction data statewide, so officials don’t know how many evictions have been ordered so far during the pandemic or how many are coming.    A temporary eviction moratorium is in effect through March 31,2021, but, no one knows what will happen after that.

    There is an Eviction Diversion Program website to help renters in Michigan get needed help, but nowhere does it address the trauma of losing a pet or offer help to keep families together with their animals. Recently, The Association for Animal Welfare and the Humane Society of the United States developed a toolkit specifically designed to help animal shelters support families keep their pets while facing eviction.

    Shelters cannot predict the impact of the moratorium ending or, even, when it will end. Taking proactive steps now can ease the burdens on our communities. Check out this wonderful resource by clicking here.

  • February 14, 2021 10:44 AM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    When Michigan Pet Fund Alliance saw its goal of saving 90% or more of healthy, treatable shelter animals become a reality, we dreamed even bigger and decided to create a new organization with a broad vision and an expanded mission. 

    The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance became The Michigan Pet Alliance and a new Board of Directors was formed. We have made an effort to represent most areas of animal welfare and locations across Michigan.

    There are still a few vacant board seats the board will be filling in the next months including someone with financial expertise. A new search committee has been established to hire a CEO and by Spring we will open the organization to memberships and those interested in sitting on the standing committees.

    Michigan Pet Alliance would like to welcome its new Board of Directors. 

     Jodie Ellison      City of Royal Oak Animal Shelter
    Tanya Hilgendorf   Humane Society of Huron Valley
    Ken Kemkens   Human Society of Macomb 
    Robert (Scotte) Mackenzie   Charlevoix Humane Society 
    Patricia Newby   Eva Burrell Animal Shelter 
    Iris Parlangeli   Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
    Courtney Protz-Sanders   Paws for Life Rescue 
    Deborah Schutt   Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
     Amber Sitko   All About Animals Rescue 
    Michelle Spranger   Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 
    Jeanne Towar   Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 

  • December 31, 2020 12:17 PM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    Bay County Executive James Barcia Earns ‘Friend of Homeless Animals’ Award 


    With generous support from the Humane Society of Macomb Foundation, the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance (MPFA) is announcing its Michigan Elected Official’s Friend of Homeless Animals Award to Bay County Executive James Barcia for making transformational changes to Bay County Animal Control.  

    In 2016, County Executive Elect Barcia was approached by Bay County Humane Society president Jeannie Wolicki-Nichols about making Bay County no-kill for homeless cats and dogs. The Humane Society had championed the idea since 2011 with no support from the county.  

    “The no-kill approach reserves euthanasia for those animals that are irremediably suffering and to save all healthy and treatable companion animals,” explained MPFA Chair Deborah Schutt. “It would require the county to embrace more compassionate practices, while engaging the community’s involvement and support.”               

    In 2016 Barcia attended the statewide MPFA Getting to the Goal Conference to understand what would be required. After winning election, he established a committee with representatives from the Humane Society, area home-based rescue groups, and animal control to prepare a strategic plan. 

    With plan in hand, changes started immediately. The live release rate rose from 66 percent in 2016, to 85 percent in 2017, 89 percent in 2018 and 96 percent in 2019.  The live release rate is the number of animals leaving the shelter by return to owner, adoption, or transfer to another shelter or rescue organization. 

    “The closer you get to the goal, the harder it is to achieve progress,” Schutt said in naming Bay County the most improved large shelter in Michigan in 2017.  “The low hanging fruit has been picked and the more difficult cases arise that require not only passion but creativity, collaboration, and partnerships.” 

    In 2019, after Barcia appointed Craig Goulet to be the new shelter leader, he took the next step and achieved no-kill status. 

    “Transformational change often takes a movement, but in Bay County, it was the decision of one man, Executive Barcia,” Schutt said.  “He is a leader that established a vision for the future, developed a plan to get there and selected the critical staffing to achieve the goal.  Bay County residents have reason to be proud of the leadership they have in Jim Barcia. When an elected official cares for the lives of the voiceless, it speaks volumes.” 


    Photo from left to right:

    Katie Loiselle with Rusty, Humane Society of Bay County 

    James Barcia, Bay County Executive

    Craig Goulet, Bay County Animal Control and Care Center 

  • December 31, 2020 12:14 PM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    UPAWS (Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter) just checked in to share the success of their Home for the Holidays Kennel Lockup Fundraiser. The event was a modified version of Ingham County’s 2020 Out of the Box, award winner, made virtual. to work with COVID. Advertising, and an online bail page were set up for about a month before the event. Volunteer celebrities spent four, socially distanced, hours in lockup. People could send bail online, by mail or give it to the celebrity prisoners themselves. 

    Compared to previous events, that took much time and energy, this one required only an organizer and two others to set up the online bail page and do advertising  Expenses, too, were minimal. It was an easy fundraiser to put together with a great return of over $26,000.00

    For details: https://upaws.org/lockup//

  • December 31, 2020 12:10 PM | Sara Atkinson (Administrator)

    In 2018 when Michigan reached a live release rate of 90% - which was our stated mission - the MPFA Board discussed what should the organization do now? Many of us had anticipated we would close the organization, distribute our assets and the Board members would go on their way. As proud as we are with the incredible improvement in life-saving homeless dogs and cats in Michigan and our work to help get there, we recognize there is still inadequate standards of care, dated practices, and needed improvements.

    With a strong push from several of our advisory committee members, we decided to keep the organization going but to make substantial operational shifts. The shifts include becoming a membership organization, hiring staff, expanding the board of directors, and setting up 4 working committees of members. The organization will work on professionalizing animal welfare in Michigan by setting goals and standards.  Of great importance is for the new organization to create a SINGLE LOUD VOICE that speaks for Michigan’s voiceless with new legislation and protection laws. 

    Three organizations – Humane Society of Huron Valley, All About Animals Rescue and the Humane Society of Macomb County Foundation are providing seed money needed to operate the first year. These Legacy Member Organizations recognize the power animal lovers and advocates have when we join forces under a single umbrella. If you are interested in becoming a Legacy Member Organization/Individual, please reach out to us at info@michiganpetfund.org.

    The success of Michigan Pet Alliance will depend on you the animal lover/advocate and Michigan’s animal welfare organizations. Your membership and participation will bring about the improvements and changes needed. The new board of directors will be meeting in January. Top on their list of tasks will be to hire staff, open a membership sign-up portal and pull the committees together. We will keep you informed as each item is accomplished and when things are in place for you to join.