By Erin Crowell
The community has always rallied behind us and I know it will happen this
time around, Sue Schwartz said over the echo of barking dogs at the
Cherryland Humane Society (CHS). The volunteer remains optimistic after
Mike Cherry, CHS executive director along with CHS president Jess Reed,
announced last week that unless the 501(c)(3) nonprofit can raise $20,000
as early as June 15, it will be forced to shut down operations.
Cherry and Reed hosted a press conference on Wednesday, less than a week
after CHS sent a mass mailing out to the community, asking for financial
help that would cover the $200,000 annual budget.
Cherry attributes a troubled economy, an increase in cost of
operationssuch as pet food, medicine, supplies and care, utilities and
cleaning agentsand historically low donations from substantial annual
contributors as factors to the budget shortfall.
The CHS is dependent on donations for its very existence, Cherry said.
Often animal charities are on the lower end of the giving scale, adding
CHS received only 60% of the expected total funds from annual donors in
Established July 1956, the CHS provides over 25 programs dedicated to spay
and neuter awareness, pet education and homeless dog and cat adoption,
among other services in the Grand Traverse region.
Last year, CHS found homes for 596 puppies and dogs; and 556 kittens and
Last week we had 18 dogs adopted, Schwartz said.
Because of the shape of the economy, including job loss and foreclosures,
CHS has seen a record increase in animals coming to the shelter, according
People will come to us crying because they cant find an apartment that
will allow dogs or they just cant afford to keep their pet, Schwartz
While surrounding shelters and humane societies such as Benzie, Charlevoix
and Petoskey would likely see an increase in unwanted cats and dogs if CHS
were to close, Reed said he fears what may happen if individuals had to
travel so far to take care of an unwanted pet.
Responsible people will find another shelter to take their animal, Reed
said. What were concerned with is some of the less responsible animal
owners who are not inclined to go the extra mile. At that point were
concerned about animal abandonment, cruelty and improper euthanasia.
ALWAYS IN NEED
Located just south of Traverse City near the Rogers Observatory, the
Cherryland Humane Society moved into its current home in July 2002. The
14,000 square foot facility boasts two separate dog kennel wings, a cat
adoption center, examination room, grooming room and pet/adopter
interaction rooms. Along with a $350 per day shortfall, CHS is always in
need of a variety of items including washable cat and dog toys, blankets,
rugs, cleaning supplies, cat and dog food, kitty litter and laundry
For more information on how to donate to the Cherryland Humane Society,
call them at 231-946-5116 or visit cherrylandhumane.org. CHS is located at
1750 Ahlberg Road, Traverse City, MI 49696.