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  • Writer's pictureSusan Houser

Delta County, MI

Delta County is located in Michigan’s upper peninsula and has over 37,000 residents. The county seat is the city of Escanaba, with 13,000 residents. The county is also home to the city of Gladstone, with 5,000 residents.

Delta County used to have a county-run animal shelter, but budget cuts forced the facility’s closure in August of 2011. A group of residents then incorporated as the Delta Animal Shelter (DAS), a non-profit, and the county leased the shelter building to the new organization. The shelter “accepts all animals, regardless of age, health conditions, or situation.”

DAS management quickly realized that the existing shelter building was too small (2000 square feet) and outdated for their needs, and that the building had a mold problem. After trying to work through the options for staying in the building they decided to relocate the shelter, which would give them a chance to find a more adoption-friendly venue. They completed the purchase of a 9-acre plot and construction is underway.

Shelter manager Sue Gartland, in an interview with the local Daily Press, described some of the changes that DAS made after taking over: “We now vaccinate. We spay and neuter all the animals. We started micro-chipping all the animals. We test the animals for heartworm . . . .” Gartland told me in a telephone conversation that animal control is provided by law enforcement agents in the county. DAS is the only shelter in the county and receives strays from every jurisdiction in the county, including Escanaba and Gladstone. The shelter accepts owner surrenders from residents, with no conditions. They have a barn cat program for feral cats.

In 2013, the shelter reported to the state of Michigan that it took in 1135 animals (scroll down to Delta Animal Shelter in the link). The shelter had a 96% live release rate, and adopted out zero unsterilized animals. In 2012, the first full year that DAS ran the shelter, the live release rate was 92% with an intake of 1121 animals. That was up from a 69% live release rate in 2010, the last full year that the county ran the shelter.

Delta County, MI, was originally listed by this blog on August 12, 2013, based on its 2012 statistics. This post is a revision and update with 2013 statistics.

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