March 18, 2020 (Ann Arbor, MI) –  As many hunker down with their furry friends, others suffer quarantine loneliness or economic uncertainty, and Washtenaw County’s 120+ year old Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) wants to remind you they’re still here.

“Our pets are so important to our families, health and wellness. While HSHV has cancelled or postponed all group activities, we remain open for the most critical needs of our beloved animals,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s CEO.

Those critical needs include animal intake for strays and urgent surrenders, adoptions to stem overflow and isolation loneliness, and essential veterinary services. While intense sanitation is always essential to a large shelter concerned with herd health, HSHV is also complying with/exceeding all official recommendations, including social distancing, disinfection of hands and common areas, and ceasing all non-urgent services, activities and events.

“But closing our doors at this time is simply not an option,” says Hilgendorf. “Plus, no one knows how long the pandemic will last, and, unfortunately, homelessness and cruelty wasn’t on the decline. Now, economic downturns will hurt both people and animals more.”

CNN reports pets being abandoned, starved or killed in Wuhan due to the outbreak. And though there is currently no evidence that companion animals can contract or transmit COVID-19, allowing unvaccinated or unsterilized animals to run stray would create new health and safety concerns. As a critical part of public health and safety since 1896, HSHV is the only animal shelter in Washtenaw County.

“We don’t want animals needlessly suffering with injuries or illness or left in bad situations. Please do not abandon your animals or allow them to go hungry. We are here to help,” says Hilgendorf.

HSHV reminds the public:

  • If you believe an animal has been abandoned, call HSHV’s Animal Cruelty and Emergency Rescue hotline at 734-661-3512.
  • If you’re suffering and need extra help taking care of your animals, know that HSHV has a free pet food pantry, Bountiful Bowlsph. 734-661-3552. If you can’t leave your home and cannot afford to purchase food online, contact
  • HSHV also has a temporary Harbor program for pets whose owners are hospitalized and are without other resources, ph. 734-661-3552.
  • HSHV asks those who need to surrender their pets to HSHV to be mindful of their level of need right now.
  • HSHV asks that only serious adopters visit HSHV and Tiny Lions cat cafe.
  • HSHV is limiting veterinary clinic services to essential and critical care.

Those with pets should include them in their emergency preparedness plan, should they become hospitalized, for instance–most notably, a two-week supply of pet food/supplies, crates and leashes, identification in the form of tags and updated microchips, and backup caregivers. See a Crisis Preparation Plan for Pets for free download here.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, HSHV took in an additional 300 animals from a pet store with pending animal cruelty charges against them.

“Like so many others, we are in a tough position with resource and supply issues like everyone else,” says Hilgendorf, “But as long as we are standing, we will be here for the animals who need us most.”


About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and on our annual report (