What is the Animal Welfare Fund?

Created by the Michigan legislature, the Animal Welfare Fund (AWF) established an interest-bearing fund in the State Treasury that supports animal shelters throughout Michigan via grants. The AWF is funded by Michigan taxpayers who donate by completing a voluntary contribution tax form when filing their taxes. (This information is updated for the taxes due April 18, 2017. AFA thanks The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust for its support).

Shelters: scroll down for materials to promote the AWF.


Michigan taxpayers: contribute when filing state taxes. It’s easy:

If using turbo tax:

  • Go to “Other Tax Situations” category
  • Click on “Voluntary Contributions”
  • Animal Welfare Fund is 4th on the list

If “paper filing”:

  • Go to line 22 of the Individual Income Tax Return – MI 1040
  • Obtain Schedule 4642, Voluntary Contribution Form, select Option 4 “Animal Welfare Fund” to designate an amount ($5, $10 or more)
  • Attach Schedule 4642 to your individual tax return form


Use Our Materials to Promote the Animal Welfare Act!


Spread the Word!

All animal advocates, whether they live in Michigan or not, can spread the word via participation in Attorneys for Animals social media campaign. Like us on Facebook; and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


More Information about the Animal Welfare Fund

  • Who Administers the AWF?

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) administers the program and awards the grants. Money contributed to the AWF cannot be used for any other purpose.


  • What can Shelters Use the Grants  for?
    • According the the law, grants can provide funds to:
      • promote sterilization and adoption of dogs and cats
      • improve knowledge of the proper care of animals pursuant to state animal anticruelty laws by educating the public and training personnel authorized by law to enforce state animal anticruelty laws
      • support and enhance programs that provide for the care and protection of animals pursuant to state anticruelty laws
      • allow the purchase of equipment and supplies for programs that receive grants under this act.

(Source: Section 5(3) of the Animal Welfare Fund Act, Public Act 132 of 2007. The full text of the law is available here.)


  • Who Has Benefited?

The simple answer is: many animals have benefited! Since the first grants were distributed in 2011, 96 animal control and animal protection shelters (the “brick and mortar” organizations) have been awarded grants of up to $10,000.

One animal is a dog named Haze, a Siberian Husky who lived near a busy intersection and who roamed. Finally his owners, who did not have him neutered, surrendered him to the Woodhaven & Trenton Animal Shelter.

Haze at the shelter before his adoption

Thanks to an AWF grant, Haze was “fixed” and has since been adopted into a loving home, where his family reports that he no longer tries to escape.


  • How Does it Work?

Michigan taxpayers can contribute by obtaining and completing a simple form when they file their state income tax forms each year, during the January to April 15 tax season.


  • What does Attorneys for Animals have to do with the AWF?

We believe that the Animal Welfare Fund is a good program that can be better with more participation and more $$$ for the animals. We asked animal advocates if they contributed the the AWF. When many of them said they hadn’t heard of it, we put together a program to promote it during tax season 2016. With the cooperation of the MDARD, who want to expand the program, and support from The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank Trust, we are developing materials for shelters, rescues, veterinarians, pet supply businesses and others to display at their shelters/clinics/businesses, and to post on their websites and social media. An important component of this project is the AFA’s social media campaign, launched #GivingTuesday.