Veterans to walk shelter dogs - WNEM TV 5

Veterans to walk shelter dogs

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A new director has taken over the reigns of a local animal shelter and is already having a big impact.

The Saginaw County Animal Care Center is full of dogs ready for adoption and many can spend months or years inside their cage before finding a home.

"It's called cage rage," said Lisa Stoffel, director of Saginaw County Animal Control.

That's a term Stoffel uses to describe dogs lashing out from months of living in a 4 by 3 foot space. She said the confined canines need more time outside.

"Currently the dogs, Monday through Friday, generally only get out about 15 minutes a day. Which is not enough time to exercise some of that energy off," Stoffel said.

That's where the Department of Veterans comes in. The vets will volunteer their time starting next week. They will fill in the gaps other volunteers leave behind because of work or other commitments throughout the week.

It's all in an effort to give dogs more time out of their cage with the hopes of keeping the animals viable candidates for adoption.

"Helps the vets build some confidence and spend some time with an animal and giving affection to that animal," Stoffel said.

The center will also get some dog runs to help improve the effort.

"That's going to mean hopefully, eventually that a dog can spend an hour a day outside. That will greatly reduce their stress level because you know, dogs love to go outside," said Mike Hanley, chairman of the County Board of Commissioners.

The center is hosting an adoption event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stoffel said adoption is the only way to give the animals the life they deserve.

"Shelters across the nation are a stressful environment for any pet. We could do all kinds of things to ease that stress and we're certainly going to try to do that, but it never fully eliminates the stress and it's not the same as being in a home," Stoffel said.

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