Appointments for January and February booked!

We are so happy to have been able to help so many people this early in 2016!  All available slots for the Happy Neuter Year and Beat the Heat promotions are full!

Both of these promotions were funded by grants we received from PetSmart Charities.  PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. More than 400,000 dogs and cats find homes each year through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores and our sponsored adoption events. PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding spay/neuter services that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, separate from PetSmart, Inc.


Conquering the Carrier and Other Feline Veterinary Visit Barriers

We can tell from the support of our community members and the care they show their pets that they do not intend to neglect the health of their pets by not seeking preventative veterinary care. Actually we know that many owners feel that these visits can do more harm than good by placing unnecessary stress on their pet and choose to keep them home for these reasons. In order to keep both you and your pet happy we have compiled a list of suggestions that may aide in decreasing the stress of veterinary visits.

To begin, we suggest finding a veterinarian that is best suited to the needs of you and your cat. There are a wide variety of veterinary services and specialties and finding a veterinarian who fits the specific needs of your cat may help ease some of your pet’s anxiety. Cats who are particularly nervous about interacting with dogs may benefit from a feline only practice where they will not risk the smells and sights of encountering another species. However, if you’d like the ease of being able to take both your cat and dog to the same clinic, many now offer separate waiting and exam rooms for dogs and cats in order to decrease these scents and interactions. Additionally, a handful of area vets have taken additional steps to demonstrate their dedication to improving the quality of feline care by becoming approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. A list of these veterinarians can be found by visiting

Once you have made your appointment you can start laying the groundwork for a successful vet visit.

One of the biggest mistakes we make as cat owners is only bringing out our cat’s carrier when it is time to go to the vet. This may cause our cat to associate and develop a strong aversion to their carrier. In order to make the carrier a positive place for your cat, you can bring it out several weeks before your scheduled visit and allow them to acclimate themselves to the carrier on their terms. Placing a blanket they like or an item of clothing with your scent on it may help to entice your cat to enter the carrier on their own. Another option is to spray these items with a synthetic feline pheromone spray such as Feliway, which can be found in most major pet stores. This pheromone helps produce a calming effect on most cats and may aide in decreasing anxiety associated with the carrier. Additionally, your pet’s favorite toys, treats, or catnip may help entice them into the carrier and help them to feel safe and comfortable while inside the carrier.

Once your pet has learned that they are safe inside their carrier you can start taking them for practice drives in your car to get them used to the routine of leaving the house in their carrier. At first this may only be a trip around the block but as your cat’s comfort level increases, so can your travel time. These trail runs will also help your cat associate riding in the car with positive experiences as well as veterinary visits.

Now that you have successfully carrier and car trained your cat you are finally ready for your veterinary visit. To help acclimate your pet to these new surroundings it is best to leave them inside the carrier while in the waiting room to help limit the stimuli they are receiving. Cats naturally instinct is to run and hide and this could be a very dangerous situation if they are in an unfamiliar location and escape the office. It is best to comfort them through the door of their carrier until you enter the exam room. Once you are in the exam room, per the veterinary staff’s instruction you may remove your cat from it’s carrier and allow them to acclimate to their new environment. In order to ease any anxiety felt by your pet at this time you may bring their favorite treats or brushes if they enjoy being groomed and allow the veterinary staff to meet your pet using these items. This will ensure that your pet is getting positive reinforcement that they will accept throughout this interaction and will increase the likelihood that your veterinary visit will be successful.

These tips may also prove to be useful to owners attempting to make the trip with their pet to our low cost spay and neuter clinic. Pets undergoing surgery should not consume any food, including treats, prior to surgery per the instructions received regarding your pet’s spay or neuter surgery.

If you need help finding a veterinarian in greater Kalamazoo, try the new Resource Directory on our website!

$20 Female Cats Spays; February Only!

Warmer weather may still be months away, but the Kalamazoo Humane Society wants you to “Beat the Heat” by spaying your cat in advance of her heat cycle and preventing unwanted litters from being born this spring. Animal shelters commonly refer to spring time as “kitten season” because that is when they receive the largest influx of unwanted litters that are difficult to adopt.

Cat Owners should “Beat the Heat” before spring with the Kalamazoo Humane Society’s spay/neuter campaign.  Sponsored by PetSmart Charities®, “Beat the Heat” provides $20 spay surgeries for female cats.


That’s why the Kalamazoo Humane Society is offering a special “Beat the Heat” campaign sponsored by PetSmart Charities, the largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America Through the “Beat the Heat” campaign, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide $20 spay surgeries for female cats during the month of February.

Spaying and neutering is one of the most effective ways to reduce the homeless pet population and is safe for kittens as young as eight to 10 weeks old, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Spaying a female cat before the first heat cycle can be beneficial, improving the health of the pet by reducing the risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections.

“Female cats can have as many as three litters a year, and kittens can breed as young as four months old,” says Julie Barber, Director of Community Connections for the Kalamazoo Humane Society. “Most people don’t want to see their cat get pregnant over and over again, so hopefully our “Beat the Heat” campaign will serve as a gentle reminder to cat owners to sterilize their cats before they go into heat this year.”

This special $20 rate is even less than the organization’s normal low-cost price and is available to all residents in southwest Michigan. Cat parents who wish to take advantage of this offer must mention the “Beat the Heat” campaign when they schedule their appointment. This campaign is based on availability.

Thanks to the PetSmart Charities grant, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide 400 female cat “Beat the Heat” sterilizations for $20 in February. Please visit or call 269-345-1181 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

PetSmart Charities’ “Beat the Heat” campaign provides more than $616,370 to spay/neuter clinics to fund affordable, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries for more than 19,536 female cats across the nation during the month of February.

About the Kalamazoo Humane Society:

Founded in 1897, the Kalamazoo Humane Society provides humane education, pet population control and emergency response services to pets and pet owners throughout Kalamazoo County. Find out more at, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

About PetSmart Charities:

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. More than 400,000 dogs and cats find homes each year through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores and our sponsored adoption events. PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding spay/neuter services that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, separate from PetSmart, Inc.

Did Winter catch you unprepared?

With shopping, travel and the holidays having an extended Fall season was great!  No bad hair days on Christmas morning, no white-knuckled drives to Grandma’s house, and no house-full of guests dragging in snowy boots!  All-in-all, this was a fantastic end to a year.

With the New Year came new weather; snow, ice and blustery cold winds.  This weather was inevitable, and if you procrastinated in prepping for another Michigan winter, you’ll want to make sure to catch up quickly!  Here’s our best tips for getting your home ready for whatever this winter has to bring.

Outdoor Pets

We’d love for every pet to be indoors, safe and warm and cozied up by a fire but there are a number of outdoor pets that for whatever reason aren’t brought inside during bad weather.  If you are the owner of an outdoor pet, you need to be aware that you are responsible for providing adequate shelter and provisions to keep your pet healthy during the winter months.

Dogs are required by law to have clean, dry bedding and an area free from feces and debris.  Many dog owners will use old blankets or comforters and change or wash them as they become dirty.  Many others use straw.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s dry and can be replaced as needed.  When snow melts and the area around your dog house gets muddy, your dog will be bringing all that dampness and dirt into his shelter.  Keep up on removing any feces build-up, and keep food and water dishes away from areas where your dog will be going to the bathroom.

If you haven’t already done it, take the time to check out the structure of your dog house, rabbit hutch, or other outdoor structure.  Does it leak?  Can you see daylight from the inside?  Does the roof need patching?  Your pet will be spending a significant amount of time inside whatever you have provided, and it needs to be in a state of good repair.  Write out a list of repairs or updates that need to be made and head over to your local hardware store.  Discounted building supplies can often be found at Habitat for Humanity Re-store’s, or even online using Craigslist.

Having a structure isn’t enough.  You’ll need to make sure your dog house, hutch or shelter is well protected from the wind, snow and cold.  Placing your shelter alongside an existing building that can protect it from some of the elements is helpful, but you might also consider using tarps, plastic sheeting,  or wood panels to further block out the wind and snow.

Elevating your shelter is also an effective way to keep out dirt and debris, and hold in heat.  If you can get your shelter on a palette or other platform and insulate beneath the shelter, you reduce heat loss and moisture from seeping in.

Peeling paint and faded stains on wood surfaces will speed up the decay of your structure.  This is going to be a Spring or indoor project, but make sure you get to it as soon as possible to avoid health hazards to your pet and to extend the life of your shelter.

Your pet can also be bulked up to help withstand winter conditions!  Just like humans, animals are made up of mostly water.  Making sure your pets nutrition is ideal for building a healthy later of fat and a hair coat that is in good condition will help to retain body heat.  Check with your veterinarian about a proper winter diet.  Pets will burn an increased number of calories to produce heat and stay warm.  You’ll need to make sure the diet your pet is on has enough calories to maintain a healthy body mass.

Even if your shelter is in great shape and your pet is beefy and fluffy, there will be days that are just too cold and dangerous for any domesticated animal to remain outside.  In these cases, it’s best to bring your pet inside.  If for any reason you cannot bring the pet into the living spaces of your home, try to allow access to the basement, a laundry room, or the garage.  There are some pets that cannot withstand a typical Michigan winter, even with a good shelter due to age, health or breed related reasons.

Use your best judgement or the opinion of your veterinarian to determine if your pet can be kept comfortably outdoors.  If you’re looking to get a new pet and you have no plans to bring it inside, look closely at your reasons for wanting a pet before adding an animal to that lifestyle.  At all times, your decisions need to be made in the best interest of the people and pets in your care. If you need to make sacrifices to your pet in order to keep the people in your home healthy and safe, you may want to consider re-homing your pet where it can receive a higher standard of care.

In the event of severe weather, power outages or evacuations, make sure to have enough pet food on hand to last a week, including water for your pet.  You may also want to keep an emergency kit handy that includes supplies for first aid, enough transport carriers for your pets and dry bedding.

One year ago, on Friday, January 9th, 2015, a 193-vehicle crash on I-94 created a hazmat situation that resulted in a police-mandated evacuation of residents in a 3-mile radius of the accident.  If you were asked to evacuate your home right now, would you be prepared?  Having a “Go-Kit” prepared and a plan of where to go could mean the difference between life and death for your outdoor pet(s).

It is not illegal to have outdoor pets.  If you’re seeing an outdoor dog that appears to be without essential shelter, food, or water, contact your local animal services department right away and have them check it out.  They will be able to bring the owner up to compliance and offer tips to improve the living conditions of the dog or outdoor pet.  Animal welfare professionals cannot remove an animal without cause.  If an outdoor pet is in a state of good health and has the minimum required provisions, they will not be able to legally remove the pet or charge the owner with neglect.

If an animal is not moving and does not seem alert, call your local animal authorities right away.  Outdoor dogs, cats and rabbits do not hibernate.  Aside from sleeping and napping, they should be alert and active throughout the winter months.

Straw can be found at retail stores, farm and garden centers, and local farms.  If you need help finding straw, here is a list of places you can try:

Brown Hay & Grain (269) 628-4426
26366 M-40 Gobles 49055
Standard Bale $5.00

Family Farm & Home (269) 927-1983
1391 Cinema Way Benton Harbor 49022
Standard Bale $5.75

Family Farm & Home (269) 278-2222
1326 W Broadway Three Rivers 49093
Standard Bale $5.99

Family Farm & Home (269) 686-9309
1596 Lincoln Road Allegan 49010
Standard Bale $7.00

Farm N Garden, Inc (269) 381-0596
1003 Staples Ave Kalamazoo 49007
Standard Bale $6.95

Kalamazoo Landscape (269) 375-8000
5111 S 9th St Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $5.50

Mulder Landscape (269) 345-6900
3333 Ravine Rd Kalamazoo 49006
Standard Bale $6.00

Oak Ridge Feed (269) 353-3332
7035 Stadium Dr Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $6.00

Prudential Nursey (269) 649-1610
13038 S 24th St Schoolcraft 49087
Standard Bale $5.00

Romence Gardens (269) 323-8310
9660 Shaver Rd Portage 49024
Standard Bale $5.99

Southwestern MI Feed (269) 674-3720
231 S Paw Paw St Lawrence 49064
Standard Bale $5.50

The Feed Bag (269) 629-9586
8532 N 32nd St Richland 49083
Standard Bale $5.25

Tractor Supply (269) 381-0904
6285 Gull Rd Kalamazoo 49048
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 323-3199
8610 Shaver Rd Portage 49024
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 685-1001
1221 M-89 Plainwell 49080
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 979-8372
6360 B Dr North Battle Creek 49014
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 657-2107
1000 S. Kalamazoo Ave Paw Paw 49079
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Tractor Supply (269) 279-5296
301 US 131 Three Rivers 49093
50lb Compressed Bale $10.99

Wedels (269) 345-1195
5020 Texas Dr Kalamazoo 49009
Standard Bale $6.99

As always, the Kalamazoo Humane Society is happy to provide shelter and straw to pets in need.  Straw can be picked up free of charge for those that can’t afford to purchase it at our office at 4239 S. Westnedge Ave during our regular open hours.  We can also work with owners to get a dog house.  If you know of an owner struggling with food, straw or shelter for a pet, please have them call us at 269-345-1181 or visit us on Westnedge.

Dog License 101: What every dog owner needs to know

You have a dog.

You remembered to buy a leash and collar, dog food and treats, toys, cute little booties and jackets for walks in the rain and snow, a snuggly blankie and dog bed, flea prevention, 15 different sized and textured balls, a car seat if it’s a little fella’ and all of its shots are up to date.  What could possibly be missing?  The Dog License!  Which, ironically, is one of the cheapest things you need to purchase for your dog.

A dog license, much like a car registration or fishing license, is one of those things that the State of Michigan requires by law.  It isn’t optional, and the penalties can get pretty expensive if you are caught without it.

The State of Michigan wrote into law that each county is responsible for selling and maintaining record of every dog license.  These licenses are to be purchased for each dog aged 4 months or older.  While there is some variance from one county to another as to how licenses are sold, some things are the same everywhere in Michigan.

2015-12-30 12.48.58

The Purpose

Dog licenses started as a way for the state to keep better records of Rabies vaccinations at a time when Rabies was not as uncommon as it is today.  While Rabies still has no cure, thanks to preventative laws that require Rabies vaccines and dog licenses, it is extremely uncommon for domestic cats and dogs in Michigan to test positive.  There is a much higher occurrence of Rabies in bats and wildlife which can potentially be spread to domestic animals that come into direct contact.

Since this law was first passed in 1919, dog licenses are also recognized as the most basic form of ID you can put on your dog.  When dogs are found wearing a dog license, they are more likely to be returned to the owner before having to visit the stray animal shelter first.

Rabies Vaccines are Required

In order to get a dog license, your dog must currently Rabies vaccinated with at least 30 days left before that vaccine expires.  This means that if you try to buy a license today and your Rabies vaccine expires in 2 weeks, you will be denied until your dog is re-vaccinated.

If your pet cannot be vaccinated for any  medical reason, a veterinarian can give you a signed waiver on veterinary letterhead describing the reason for the inability to vaccinate, and the duration of this status (temporary issue or a lifetime condition).

Dogs that cannot be Rabies vaccinated must still be licensed.

Service Dogs Must Be Licensed

Service dogs are not exempt from licensing but may qualify for a free license.  Service dog owners are still required to Rabies vaccinate their dog and adhere to the licensing schedule just like any other dog owner.  Mental health and therapy dogs are not service dogs, with the exception of dogs prescribed for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

For more information on service animals, please get the ADA Requirements at the ADA website:

To find out how to get a license for your service dog, contact your local Animal Control or Treasurer (whoever sells the licenses in your county) and ask what requirements you must meet to get a free service dog license.

Failure to Rabies Vaccinate and Failure to Buy Dog License

It is a misdemeanor offense if you are caught without a Rabies vaccine or dog license.

It’s possible to be written a citation and have to appear in court.  There could also be late fees and court fines associated with failing to comply with the law.

While many in Kalamazoo County are used to waiting for a “fix-it ticket” to comply, in 2015 Kalamazoo County Courts determined that Animal Services & Enforcement could no longer issue the fix-it tickets, and dog owners in violation should be issued a citation to appear in court immediately.

The Cost

Dog licenses in Kalamazoo County are $10 for an altered dog or puppy under 1 year old, or $40 for a dog that is at least 1 year old and unaltered.  Fees vary from county to county, so please find out from your local authorities what your cost will be.

Where To Get A Dog License

For Kalamazoo County Residents:

Mail in your proof of Rabies and application or renewal notice to:
Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
2500 Lake Street, Kalamazoo MI  49048

Licenses can be purchased at the following offices:

  • Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
  • Kalamazoo County Treasurer Office
  • All township/village/city halls in Kalamazoo County
  • The following vet clinics:2015-12-30 12.47.44
    • Animal Clinic
    • Creature Comfort
    • Crestview
    • Denney
    • East Main
    • Family Pet Health
    • Friendship Animal
    • Gull Lake Animal
    • Kalamazoo Animal
    • Lakeview Animal
    • Mattawan Animal
    • Milwood Animal
    • Oakwood Animal
    • Oshtemo Vet
    • Paw Paw Vet
    • Pet Vet
    • Portage Animal
    • Red Arrow
    • Richland
    • Schoolcraft Vet
    • Shaver Road
    • Sprinkle Road
    • Texas Corners
    • Visiting Vet
    • West Main
    • Woodland

Residents outside of Kalamazoo County should check with your own licensing agent to find out more about fees and due dates.  Here’s a quick list of who to contact:

Southwest Michigan Area dog licensing agencies can be reached at the following numbers:

• Allegan County residents call the Allegan County Treasurer’s Office at 269-673-0260
• Barry County residents call the Barry County Animal Control at 269-948-4885
• Berrien County residents call the Berrien County Animal Control at 269-471-7531
• Branch County residents call the Branch County Animal Control at 517-639-3210
• Calhoun County residents call the Calhoun County Treasurer’s Office at 269-781-0807
(Residents in the Battle Creek City Limits must purchase from the Battle Creek City Offices)
• Cass County residents call the Cass County Treasurer’s Office at 269-445-4468
• Kalamazoo County residents call Kalamazoo County Animal Services at 269-383-8775
• Kent County residents call the Kent County Animal Control at 616-632-7100
• St. Joe County residents call the St. Joe County Animal Control at 269-467-6475
• Van Buren County residents call the Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office at 269-657-8228


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