Struggling owners get special TLC for pets – January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 — Inkster — About five times a week, Mindy Richards drives her red pickup throughout Inkster to deliver food to some of the city’s neediest residents — the dogs.

As manager of the Animal Care Network in Inkster, Richards is among the volunteers who make hundreds of such deliveries each month. Many of the homes are low-income, and some of the pet owners need help because they’ve lost their jobs, said Richards, a six-year volunteer with the group.

“We try to make it a little more comfortable for the dogs,” she said as she and volunteer Laurie Massberg prepared to deliver a dog house to a 4-year-old pit bull named Redd. The nonprofit, based in Inkster and Pontiac, made more than 9,100 stops in 2011 and picked up 1,199 animals.

Founded in 1994, the Animal Care Network has provided thousands of dogs with food, water and medical care.

“Very importantly, we had 607 spayed and neutered animals in 2011,” said Pam Porteous, manager of the network in Pontiac.

The group is funded through grants and donations. Volunteers work throughout the week, and large teams canvass neighborhoods on Saturdays. They respond to tips from neighbors and offer help when their volunteers see an animal in need while out making deliveries.

Jasmynne Allen, Redd’s owner, said she considers Richards as family. For the past three years, she’s regularly checked up on her and the dogs, Allen said of Richards. “She helps me take care of my dogs,” Allen said. “If it wasn’t for her, I couldn’t do it by myself.”

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