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Animal shelter remains in the dark after storm | Pets

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Animal shelter remains in the dark after storm

WEST OLIVE, Mich. (WZZM) -- Power still has not been restored to many areas of West Michigan after last weekend's storm. One of those areas is West Olive, where an animal shelter is struggling in the dark.

Harbor Humane Society has been powerless since Sunday, putting the lives of more than 300 animals in danger.

"We're going into our third day of no power," said Jeff Stiegman who is the Harbor Humane operations director. Right now, Consumers Energy is still telling us Friday and that's another three days off for us; we're not quite sure how we're going to make it that far."

Harbor Humane employees and volunteers are forced to work inside their facility along U.S. 31 wearing winter clothing because the heat isn't working.

"We're hoping we can get an electrician to volunteer some time to wire an auxiliary outlet on our water pump so we can run it off our generator, but until that happens, we're cleaning kennels with bottled water," added Stiegman.

A local family donated a generator to the shelter on Monday, allowing employees to run space heaters (which were also donated) in the kennels, with the hopes of keeping the animals warm.

"Without proper heating, there are some serious concerns," said Stiegman.

The lack of power has also halted the shelter's spay and neuter procedures.

"Without those, we can't send the animals home, so adoptions are getting backed up," added Stiegman. "We're three days behind for doing our adoptions so that holds up everything; animals aren't going out, but they're still coming in."

The recently donated generator has allowed phone service to return to Harbor Humane Society, but Stiegman says the best place to find out the daily needs of the shelter is on its Facebook page.

People have stopped by the shelter to pick up laundry and wash it at home. Others have volunteered their time to walk the dogs so the employees can clean the kennels.

"The donations have been absolutely critical for us to continue to work and be in the shape we're in right now," said Stiegman. "Three or four days out, it's going to be much worse than it is today."

Consumer's Energy told Stiegman that power should be restored to the shelter no later than Friday.