Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Should I Do If I Need to Re-Home My Pet(s)?

A. Safe Haven Humane Society rarely is able to take owner surrenders, depending on the reason you are needing to find a new home for your pet we would recommend a few possibilities. 

  1. If it's a behavior your dog getting some regular exercise? Do you have consistent rules that all the family follows with your pet? Did something new just a house hold move, new job changing routine, new family member (human or furball).Before giving up on a pet that's frustrating you, understand maybe the pet is also frustrated and confused. We recommend contacting a trainer, it may not be as expensive as you think to figure out the real problem and be able to live harmoniously with your pet.  We are happy to help answer questions our many of our volunteers are multiple dog/cat households (we are not trainers). Sometimes it's just a little change in human behavior and structure that can make all the difference! 
  2. Aggressive professional guidance including vet. If the pet is ill, or injured they may become moody. Clearly you don't want harm to come to other family members or the pet.
  3. Most other issues, including Allergy to pet, Moving and can't take pet, etc, we first recommend seeing if anyone in your friends & family network is interested in your wonderfully behaved pet. That can be less traumatizing than leaving the pet at a shelter where there is no guarantee they will be adopted  and not put to sleep (there's always a chance of course). 
  4. Post your pet on social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, newspaper be truthful about why you're giving the pet up. Don't use phrase "Free to Good Home" even if you will give pet away to find great home. That phrase invites those who may want to buy your dog to use for research, breed or turn around and re-sell. You can find a great home using online options, there are people out there looking for pets with little up front cost, just screen them. (you can even use our adoption application questions if it helps)...Charge the cost of getting pet up to date on vaccinations if you're wondering what to post as rehoming fee.  If YOU'RE not on online or on social websites, share info with a friend or family member that IS.
  5. Post a flyer at your vet (people who already have pets are a captured market here)
  6. If you turn your pet into a local shelter they will likely NOT let you change your mind after you sign the paperwork. If you have questions about turning in a pet, contact or visit the shelter and get your questions answered prior to turning your pet over.

Q. What’s the difference between Safe Haven and the Ionia County Animal Shelter?

A.  The Ionia County Animal Shelter is a county-owned and operated facility located in Ionia. It is operated by Ionia County Animal Control and houses strays picked up by Animal Control and pets surrendered by their owners. Safe Haven Humane Society is a privately operated, non-profit volunteer rescue group. Safe Haven has no central facility, and all pets are housed in foster homes.


Q. Is Safe Haven affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States or Michigan Humane Society?

A.  No. Safe Haven is not associated in any way with the two groups mentioned, nor with any other Humane Society. We receive no funding from governmental agencies. All funding is from business and individual donations, along with private fundraising projects.


Q. When I call the Safe Haven phone number (616-522-1611), no one answers and I'm asked to leave a message. Why doesn't anyone answer?

A.  Since we do not have a central location and we're all volunteers, our phone is a message phone only. Most of our volunteers have full-time jobs in addition to Safe Haven duties. We have volunteers retrieve messages from the phone daily and usually you can expect contact back within 24-36 hours. We appreciate your patience!


Q. Where do Safe Haven animals come from?

A.  Our first priority is to pull adoptable animals from "at risk" situations. This normally means from high-kill shelters, shelters who sell or give animals to research, or shelters that have just run out of room for them. We receive a lot of calls from people wanting to surrender animals to us. Many times we just can't assist with owner surrender because our foster homes are almost always full as well as we need to temperament each pet we take (aside from puppies) to be sure they are a good fit. We try to offer other options those needing to surrender a pet.


Q. If my pet is missing, what should I do?

A.  Immediately contact Animal Control Facilities and Humane Societies in your area and in surrounding areas to report your pet lost.  Remember, your pet will not know when it crosses a county line. Plan on calling and visiting these facilities periodically since some do not maintain lost/found lists. Also contact nearby veterinary clinics and ask that they post a notice in case someone calls or send them a flyer to post. Put ads in local newspapers and shoppers guides, and put up posters with a picture. Now that Social Media is available, post pictures on your Facebook and ask your friends to share and post on local rescues pages, also you can report pet missing on Lost Pet USA. If your pet is microchipped that also helps increase finding.


Q. If I find a pet, what should I do?

A.   Take the pet to a nearby veterinary office, shelter or humane society to have it scanned for a microchip. Immediately contact Animal Control Facilities and Humane Societies in the surrounding areas. Contact all area veterinarian clinics. Place a “Found Ad” in local papers and shoppers guides. Put up posters with a basic description, but do not include a picture. If someone calls to claim the pet, make sure that person can accurately describe the pet, including something distinctive that you have not included on your poster. Be sure it is the true owner. If you decide to post a picture, in this day and age most owners will have some sort of picture or other paperwork (vet records etc) to show it was their pet.

You can also post on Lost Pet USA


Q. What do I do if I know of or suspect animal abuse?

A.  Report the abuse immediately to your county Animal Control. They will explain the steps in the process.  They may ask if you have pictures, video, etc. to help with the complaint. Safe Haven has no enforcement authority, but will certainly help you in any way possible.



Safe Haven Humane Society
P.O. Box 55, Ionia, MI 48846
Phone: 616-522-1611
Fax: 517-579-5948