Imagine fewer unwanted pets roaming our streets or populating our shelters. Imagine more citizens demonstrating compassion and respect for animals and one another. Imagine our community being recognized as one that shows concern for all living creatures.
The proposed Animal Care & Resource Center makes these things possible and more. And it sends a powerful message: We’re committed to a safer, more humane community.
This September, Water St. invites you to show compassion through your coffee. We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Kalamazoo Humane Society, happening all month long. They are raising funds to build a new Animal Care and Resource Center, and they need our help!
What is the Kalamazoo Humane Society all about?
For nearly 120 years, the Kalamazoo Humane Society has been at the forefront of animal protection and welfare efforts throughout our region and our state.
Each year they serve thousands of pet owners, many of whom are in difficult circumstances, by providing:
Low-cost spay/neuter services to reduce unwanted litters
A pet food bank to help people feed and keep their pets
Emergency housing of pets to assist families in crisis
Their work doesn’t stop there. Working with their volunteers and supporters, they provide humane education services to promote responsible treatment of animals, and they advocate for laws that help keep animals and our community safe for generations to come.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not a shelter. By 1979, the Humane Society shifted its focus from sheltering to prevention, launching its first spay/neuter assistance program. Named “Operation Fix-It” in 2002, this program has greatly reduced the number of unwanted animals in our community. At the time of this fundraiser, KHS has performed more than 64,000 spay/neuter surgeries!
They service 13 counties in southwest Michigan from their office on S. Westnedge in Kalamazoo. Some people come as far away as northern Indiana to receive services at their office because the need is so great.
Why is the new Animal Care and Resource Center needed?
KHS’s ability to meet increased demands is severely limited by its capacity to receive and service clients in its cramped, landlocked building, which is a renovated bridal shop on South Westnedge Avenue in Kalamazoo. KHS has continued to grow its services to include a thriving emergency pet food bank and other supportive services for people and pets in crisis Still, the needs are growing in our region for expanded partnerships and greater access to our many services. The KHS is eager to meet those needs. The Kalamazoo Humane Society’s proposed Animal Care & Resource Center will serve as its new home and be the go-to destination for animal welfare needs throughout our region. Centrally located on a 14-acre parcel of land on the southwest corner of River Street and the I-94 business loop in Comstock Township, the new building will be of high-quality design and construction, incorporating the expert guidance of engineers specializing in animal care facilities to help protect the health and well-being of visiting animals.
The inviting, family-friendly Animal Care & Resource Center will reflect the expansion in size and access needed to meet current and anticipated demand in the following areas:
Pet medical/surgical treatment (including high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries)
Emergency pet food bank
Humane education and training resources (with special emphasis on pet owners and youths)
Veterinary school intern opportunities and other partnerships
Meeting, teaching, and training space
Pet memorial areas and walking paths
Why doesn’t the KHS shelter animals?
Sheltering of strays is managed by Kalamazoo County Animal Services, and there are dozens of active rescue groups helping to rehome unwanted, owned pets. When KHS stopped sheltering in 1979, the purpose was to focus on the reasons why pets were ending up in shelters and rescues to begin with. KHS has greatly reduced the number of pets coming in to local shelters and rescues by offering programs and services that prevent abandonment, neglect and strays.
They work very closely with Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE) and strongly suggest that potential adopters check there for a new pet. They also provide volunteers to help them stay open late on Wednesday evenings, and they provide the veterinary services to the shelter animals. They help support the KCASE volunteer group, Save Our Strays (SOS), by helping them afford booth space at community events, and they have provided photographic equipment to promote the adoptable animals via television and the internet.
While they are two separate organizations, their partnership is very strong, and will continue to grow. The Animal Care & Resource Center will give them new opportunities to work with KCASE, and build on their long-standing partnership.
How can we help?
Become a volunteer
The KHS always needs help! KHS volunteers assist with everything from day to day operations to special events. Some volunteers help a few times a week, and others only once a year for the Dog Walk & K-9 Festival. Volunteers also visit the Kalamazoo County Animal Services shelter on Wednesday evenings to fill in for kennel staff during late hours, and before special adoption events to bathe the adoptable pets to get them ready to meet potential adopters.Many people want to volunteer to walk dogs or pet the animals, but since the KHS isn’t a shelter many people change their mind. They still need you! Even though their volunteers aren’t always interacting directly with animals, everything their volunteers do provides assistance to animals in need in our communities. Their volunteers make a huge impact on the lives of animals every day.
Those wishing to volunteer can go to the KHS website and complete a volunteer application. Those applications are sent to the volunteer coordinator so they can learn more about you. (Must be 16 yrs or older with transportation).
Buy a bag of specially labeled West Coast Breakfast Blend!
For every bag of West Coast Breakfast Blend sold in September, Water St. will donate $4.50 towards the funding of Kalamazoo Humane Society’s future Animal Care and Resource Center. These bags are available at all 5 Water St. locations and online!
Donate pet food or supplies at our Oakland Dr cafe on September 23rd!
Stop by Water Street Coffee Joint at 3037 Oakland Drive between 10am and 1pm on September 23rd with a donation of dog or cat food (wet or dry), cat litter, new or gently used pet supplies (brushes, combs, toys, or treats), and get a FREE LARGE DRINK on us!