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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

River Rouge Home to 'The Little Shelter That Could'


March 21, 2019

The small brick building on Pleasant Street that once served as River Rouge’s City Pound is now a more gratifying operation. Having made the transition to a rescue-friendly animal shelter in 2012, the shelter is a hub of volunteer activity and dedicated, compassionate care for cast off animals.

Patty Trevino is the Shelter Manager, one of three paid positions at the shelter covered by the city of River Rouge. The remaining workers are volunteers who share a love for animals. Trevino says the shelter has about 25 volunteers who give of their time to help with tasks such as feeding, cleaning kennels and cages, laundry, and walking dogs. “Without these volunteers, we couldn’t make it work,” she says. “These dogs would not get walks if not for volunteers.” Other supporters provide supplies such as dog and cat food, kitty litter, pet toys and monetary donations.

In 2013, the shelter was the recipient of Roverhaul, a project managed by the Michigan Humane Society and done in conjunction with Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores, who provided materials and workers for much-needed renovations. The shelter received a new sink, fencing, flooring, and a washer and dryer.

In the years since, Trevino says other supporters have stepped up and provided additional renovations to the building, including the shelter’s security system. “You know what, we have a lot of people that were born and raised in River Rouge,” she says. “They have since moved away, but they come back to donate because this was their hometown.”

Treating the animals at the shelter with dignity and compassion is Trevino’s passion. She says about 600 dogs and cats come through the shelter each year. She wants each animal that walks into the shelter to walk out, hopefully with a new owner. The shelter has a 99.9 percent live release rate. Trevino and her team work with various rescue organizations in the region to provide animals with veterinary exams, vaccinations, and spaying and neutering. Rescue partners also help find foster or permanent homes for the animals the shelter receives. There is no veterinarian on staff here, but Trevino works with local veterinarians when urgent health issues arrive. Such medical care is funded by donations from supporters.

River Rouge’s Animal Control Officer, Brian Daugherty, says, “The shelter is awesome. I mean, with everybody here, it’s a whole team effort, it’s not just one person.” Daugherty wants residents to remember to keep dogs leashed when out walking at all times. He also emphasizes the importance of licensing pets and keeping vaccinations up to date.

The animal shelter is a good source of information and education on preventable diseases in pets. There is no pet food pantry, but Trevino says, “If someone who is taking good care of an animal needs help with food, call us.” If the shelter has food to spare, they will share. “We’re here to work together,” she adds. “We would rather keep an animal in his good home than to have it surrendered to us because they can’t afford to feed it.” The shelter currently has an ample supply of straw available to any resident who needs it, a donation from a supporting organization.

The shelter is always in need of volunteers and donations. Trevino encourages people to come by and see the animals, especially if one is considering adopting a pet. “We work really, really, really hard to find good homes,” she says. “It’s very rewarding to see them get adopted and go on to new lives. We’re here to help the animals.”

The River Rouge Animal Shelter is located at 100 Pleasant Street. You can reach them at 313-205-1732. The Friends of the River Rouge Animal Shelter has a Facebook page and more information can be found at the RiverRougeAnimalShelter /.


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