By Donna Hamilton

As the middle of “kitten season” is approaching, the Luce County Animal Shelter has been helping mother cats and their kittens, as well as kittens who have been rescued and brought to the shelter for care. The shelter has helped two mothers and 14 of their kittens, plus one rescued kitten. In addition to the new arrivals, the shelter has 13 half-grown cats and 21 adult cats who are all ready for adoption.

Since the beginning of the year, 19 dogs have arrived at the shelter, either as lost animals, strays, or surrendered by owners or owners’ families. Of those, 10 dogs were returned to their grateful owners. In addition, four dogs and six cats have been adopted by new owners.

Some of these pups still reside at the shelter, awaiting their forever homes.

Finally, five dogs are participating in obedience training as part of the partnership with the Newberry Correctional Facility Paws for Adoption program.

Because of how many animals come into the shelter, the facility is at capacity most of the time. Funding generated by the Luce County millage covers the operational costs of housing, feeding and caring for the animals, as well as routine health care and spay or neuter surgeries.

The funding also supports the salary of three part-time staff to operate the shelter. They are assisted by a cadre of volunteer helpers. In fact, the shelter would be unable to accomplish all the work tasks without the 29 regular volunteers who contribute 2-3 hours at a time, and 14 intermittent volunteers who help when available.

The volunteer assistance averages 31 hours per day and more than 950 hours per month. Volunteers help with animal care, socializing and exercising the animals, cleaning kennels, transporting animals to and from vet appointments, purchasing supplies, and laundering animal bedding.

In addition to funding from the Luce County millage, the shelter depends on donations and grants, which have helped cover costs of other necessities, like the perimeter fence, more cat condos, and a washer and dryer to launder all the animal bedding.

Because so many animals have recently come into the shelter, more volunteers to relieve the part-time shelter staff, who need to deal with documenting animal intakes and contacting owners of strays.

Staff also are responsible for checking incoming animals for signs of illness or injury, fleas or ticks, locating micro-chips, making vet appointments for surgeries like spaying or neutering, and medical care. They also provide follow-up, administer vaccinations and medication, implant micro-chips, post information about lost/recovered animals, receive and review adoption applications, check references, making “meet and greet” appointments, and finalize adoption paperwork. Staff also help with shelter operations, building repairs, preparing grant applications, responding to telephone and e-mail requests for information, maintaining the partnership with Luce County Pet Pals and the Newberry Correctional Facility, and preparing update reports for the Luce County Animal Shelter Board of Directors.

Volunteer applications, information about adoptable animals, adoption applications can be found on the shelter’s website ( or by calling the shelter at 906-293-6622 and leaving a message, if necessary.