Welcome to the Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare!

MPAW provides individuals working for animals with an opportunity to learn, share their knowledge, and collaborate on statewide initiatives. Together we give animals in Michigan a stronger voice and a better chance.

Top National Animal Fighting Investigator Terry Mills Coming to Michigan!

animal fighting

ASPCA Director of Blood Sports Investigations, Terry Mills, will teach a full-day course on Thursday, Oct. 30, at the MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference.

Fighting dogs or fighting roosters–it’s all against the law in Michigan. Law enforcement officers and animal cruelty investigators will learn in-depth techniques of animal fighting investigation from a top national expert, Terry Mills, next week at the 11th Annual MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Although the conference is sold out, animal lovers should be glad that this excellent training is being provided to investigators coming from all corners of the state. Terry Mills joined the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in October 2010 to lead the new Blood Sports division of the Investigations Team. The division is dedicated to providing training to law enforcement and investigating blood sports, including dog and cockfighting, across the country.

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Michigan State Veterinarian to Speak at MPAW-MAACO Conference


MDARD Animal Industry Division head and state veterinarian Dr. James Averill will lead a panel including two of his top staff veterinarians at the upcoming Animal Welfare Conference.

Don’t miss Michigan’s state veterinarian, Dr. James Averill, as he addresses the role of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Animal Industry Division at the upcoming MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference. Dr. Averill will be joined by two of his top staff veterinarians in a panel session designed for animal shelters, rescues, animal control officers, veterinarians, and others active in animal welfare. The MDARD registers and regulates 190+  animal shelters in the state, using Regulation 151. MDA field veterinarians visit shelters to inspect them, follow up on complaints, and advise them in the case of animal disease outbreaks, etc. The department used to regulate pet stores as well, but that function was curtailed due to budget cuts in recent years. Neither nonprofit foster-based animal rescue groups nor pet breeders are currently registered by the MDARD.

The Animal Industry Division also oversees the dissemination of grant money from Michigan’s Companion Animal Welfare Fund, which was created by law in 2007. Shelters are encouraged to broadly promote the use of the tax check-off on the state income tax form in early 2015 so that the amount of money available for grants continues to grow. In 2013, for example, 20 Michigan animal shelters received a total of $175,000+ to use toward pet sterilization, staff training, and other critical projects. The Michigan Humane Society was awarded $5,000 of Fund money in 2014 to underwrite travel expenses for selected speakers at this year’s Animal Welfare Conference. The current online application is due Monday, November 10th.

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What To Do About Cats Who Don’t Get Along


Dr. Theresa DePorter is a Michigan veterinarian specializing in behavior.

One of the most challenging issues in the animal placement field is cat-to-cat aggression. Cats who don’t get along are often relinquished to shelters and rescues or turned out of doors. It is also a factor in failed adoptions, as new kitty tries to blend in with existing cats in a household. Dr. Theresa DePorter is a board-certified behavior specialist veterinarian who is also an active researcher. She practices at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Dr. DePorter has been studying inter-cat aggression for several years. She is about to publish her latest research and we are delighted that she will be presenting at next week’s MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Dr. DePorter’s session is at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29th. Since the conference is currently filled to capacity, those who miss out hearing her this time are encouraged to watch for her published study.

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Helping Horses at Risk of Winter Neglect

horse neglect

Dr. Karen Waite of Michigan State University specializes in equine as an Extension Specialist and professor.

Last year’s difficult winter combined with limited hay crops in much of the state contributed to a number of horse neglect, cruelty, and abandonment situations in Michigan. A special session at the upcoming 2014 MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare conference in Mt. Pleasant on October 28th is designed to help field officers, cruelty investigators, and staff and volunteers of animal welfare agencies get ahead of the curve this year. Dr. Karen Waite, equine specialist at Michigan State University, will teach practical approaches to help horses who are at risk of suffering winter neglect. MPAW has featured Dr. Waite at our regional trainings and past conferences. Her expert yet down-to-earth recommendations can help you work with horse owners who could benefit from education in order to head off a neglect case.

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Animal Emergency Planning for Shelters, Rescues, and Individuals!

Gail Phelps (2nd from right) at the signing of the MOU between the Michigan Red Cross and the Michigan SART.

Gail Phelps (2nd from right) at the signing of the MOU between the Michigan Red Cross and the Michigan SART.

Animal emergency planning will be the topic of a presentation by the president of Michigan’s State Animal Response Team (MI-SART), Gail Novak Phelps. The talk is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 28th, as part of the MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Gail has extensive background on staff with Oakland County Emergency Management for 29 years. She is currently the President of MI-SART and works as an emergency specialist for the University of Michigan. Gail’s presentation will cover personal and family (including pets) preparedness and actions to take in an emergency or disaster. She will also give an overview of MI-SART, including how to get involved and become a team member.

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Animal Cruelty Awareness Class Offered for Non-Investigators

animal cruelty

MHS Chief Investigator Deborah MacDonald will bring critical training in cruelty investigation awareness to the MPAW-MAACO Conference in October.

Do you know what constitutes animal cruelty in Michigan? How are the different types of cruelty investigated and by whom? How and when should you report cruelty, and what steps can you take to ensure your evidence will be useful? These questions and more will be answered in a presentation by Michigan Humane Society’s Detroit Animal Care Center Director and Chief Investigator Debby MacDonald. Debby’s many years in the field and overseeing the MHS Cruelty Investigation and Emergency Rescue teams give her a unique perspective on the development and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. She developed this class specifically for staff and volunteers of animal shelters, rescue groups and interested community members who are not law enforcement but who may encounter animal suffering in their work or volunteer outreach. It is appropriate for animal organizations that do not investigate cruelty but that need to be able to give good information to community members about what constitutes cruelty and what to do about it.

Understanding the law and how to safely gather evidence and report it in a timely manner to the right people can mean the difference between life and death for animals. At the same time, investigative techniques and processes must be followed. Relationships between law enforcement, cruelty investigators, and local prosecutors are critical links in cruelty cases. Some situations can be resolved with education; others require stronger interventions. Debby will help you understand the parameters of investigation so that you can be knowledgeable and helpful to the process. Her talk will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28th, at the upcoming MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Registration for the conference is still open, but it is filling up quickly! You can register online HERE or fax your registration form to 248-283-1001.

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ACES Top Exec Teaches Humane Animal Capture in the Field

animal capture

Andrew Katers, CEO of Animal Care Equipment & Services of Boulder, Colorado.

The MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference is excited to bring Andrew Katers, CEO of Animal Care Equipment & Services to this year’s event to teach a class on Humane Animal Capture. Field personnel, whether officers or animal rescuers, need the right equipment and know-how for each special situation of capturing a loose animal. Preventing injury to human and animal, and reducing animal stress, are both critical to successful transport and recovery. ACES is a world leader in the manufacture of cutting-edge equipment for the animal care field. Many of their products have been specifically created or improved using input from field officers. Andrew will share his broad knowledge with attendees on which tools are the best for different situations, and will demonstrate how to use them safely.

Don’t miss Andrew’s session at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 28th, at the upcoming (and nearly full) 2014 MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference to be held at the sumptuous Soaring Eagle Resort Casino in Mt. Pleasant. The three-day event is open to all those connected with humane work: animal control officers, humane societies, animal shelters, animal rescue groups, and veterinary clinics. Register online HERE but don’t delay as we are fast approaching our maximum attendance. Full three-day conference registration ($175) includes continental breakfast and lunch each day, plus the MPAW banquet and networking social hour on Tuesday evening. There are still 4 spots open in the Human CPR certificate course, for those wishing to acquire this specialized training at a great price. Discounts are available online for seniors 60+, students, and animal control officers. Join us as we work together to save more animal lives professionally and responsibly!

Human CPR: Affordable Course Offered at Conference!

Human CPR

Do you and your staff or volunteers have training in human CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)? Although animals are our primary business, we are often in the company of humans! And humans visiting our shelters or events may have emergencies that require the use of CPR. But getting human CPR training can be time-consuming and expensive! So to make it easy for you, we’ve engaged Terry Vogel and Renate Hartman, two paramedics from Fork Township Rescue to provide American Heart Association-certified Basic Life Support CPR 3-hour workshop.

This class will provide both lecture and hands-on training at the Healthcare Provider level. At the end you’ll receive a certificate valid for two years. For just $40 you can become CPR-certified and be better prepared for human emergencies that may come your way. All at a very affordable cost per person, and taken along with animal-friendly expert instructors! The course will be taught from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, October 28th.

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Bright Ideas Award Winners: Michigan Animal Shelters in the Spotlight

Montcalm County Animal Shelter Director Angela Hollinshead (R) has spearheaded a stronger county ordinance including regulations for dog breeding facilities, winning an MPAW 2014 Bright Ideas Award.

Montcalm County Animal Shelter Director Angela Hollinshead (R) has spearheaded an expanded county ordinance including regulations for dog breeding facilities, winning an MPAW 2014 Bright Ideas Award.

FIVE Bright Ideas from Michigan animal shelters will be featured in a special session at the MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28th. MPAW tracks and selects the winners from the new programs and successful ideas happening in our nearly 200 shelters each year. Winners then have the chance to present on their Bright Idea to their peers, having earned free registration and lodging enabling them to attend the conference. Award plaques (this year eco-friendly) will be presented to each winner during one of the conference meals.

This year’s Bright Ideas winners that you won’t want to miss are:

  • Barry County Animal Shelter (Hastings) for an innovative weekend foster program
  • Charlevoix Area Humane Society (Boyne City) for creative fundraisers including “Dining 4 Paws”
  • Livingston County Animal Shelter (Howell) for a TNR outreach program for a mobile home park
  • Montcalm County Animal Shelter (Stanton) for dog breeder regulations in county animal ordinance
  • Northwoods Animal Shelter (Iron River) for opening the first public vet clinic in a U.P. shelter

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DON’T MISS: Effective Communications for Animal Shelters and Groups!


Amy Morris of Martin Waymire in Lansing will speak on communications for animal groups at the upcoming MPAW-MAACO conference.

Amy Morris of Martin Waymire in Lansing will speak on communications for animal groups at the upcoming MPAW-MAACO conference.

“Add More Bark to your Communications Strategy” will be presented by longtime public relations guru and animal advocate Amy Morris at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28th, at the MPAW-MAACO Animal Welfare Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Amy is a senior account executive at the Lansing branch of Martin Waymire, an advocacy and communications firm. Her other passion is animals, so she’s speaking from the heart about what she knows best! Amy will take us through the paces of updating our communications strategies to be more effective.

Animal shelters, animal control agencies, humane societies, rescue groups, and other animal-related organizations MUST make positive impressions in the communities they serve if they are to remain viable and continue to grow and meet their missions. Yet far too many of us fall back on the same tired e-newsletters or printed mail pieces to reach our supporters. The fact is that your audience is already swamped with thousands of messages each day. Learn from Amy how to stand out from the pack and improve your communications with a strong social and website presence that can engage your target audience like never before. Read more

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