File your taxes, save a puppy

Photo Courtesy of Calhoun County Animal Center/Facebook

By Lucas Henkel

February 6, 2024

Here’s how paying your taxes can help local animal shelters. 

Michigan is home to nearly 2.6 million dogs and 1.8 million cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association

Many of these animals are waiting inside one of the state’s animal shelters for their “furever” home. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to help these pets directly—simply by filing your taxes.

The Animal Welfare Fund (AWF)—which is supported by Michigan taxpayers through voluntary contributions on their state tax returns—is a program that provides financial grants to Michigan’s animal shelters. The grants help shelters finance spay/neuter programs, educate others about proper animal care, and train staff.

The program is managed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Animal Industry Division. Since 2010, 100% of the contributions made to the Animal Welfare Fund—more than $1.9 million—has been distributed to over 305 animal shelters. 

And these efforts don’t just help the animals inside of a shelter— they also help shelter staff keep community animals healthy. 

“The grants make a significant, positive impact on Michigan’s animals and the people who care for them,” said Nora Wineland, State Veterinarian and Director of MDARD’s Animal Industry Division, in a press release. Wineland encourages Michiganders to check the fund’s box on Form 4642, Voluntary Contributions Schedule, on their state tax returns to contribute to the AWF. 

Here’s a breakdown of which animal shelter organizations will be receiving grant money from the Animal Welfare Fund this year: 


  • Lucas Henkel

    Lucas Henkel is a multimedia reporter who strives to inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The 'Gander, Lucas served as a journalist for the Lansing City Pulse.



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