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Valley animal groups unite?

Published: Sun, January 30, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.


Tony Lariccia


Mary Lariccia


Cat Ladies Society Volunteer Kim Koocher

Working together would pay off for pets, leaders say

By Elise Franco


Two Mahoning Valley animal agencies are working to regain footing after months of turmoil.

The six-week shutdown and investigation of the Cat Ladies Society last fall and the firing of two humane agents at Animal Charity on Jan. 11 due to lack of funding may prove that local shelters need to work together to survive, said philanthropists Tony and Mary Lariccia of Boardman.

“All these shelters need each other. We should all sit down and talk and see what we could do to strengthen them,” Mary Lariccia said. “I hate to see a shelter close because that means the animals who are there have no one.”

The Lariccias have made sizable monetary donations to both agencies, most recently $50,000 to Animal Charity.

Volunteers at Cat Ladies Society, a no-kill shelter on Mahoning Avenue, had a long road back after they were shut down last fall and investigated on animal-cruelty allegations.

On Sept. 15, Animal Charity seized 83 cats from the Cat Ladies Society after completing its own investigation.

Charges never were filed, and the shelter came to an agreement with city Prosecutor Jay Macejko on Oct. 25, allowing it to reopen under specific stipulations.

Kimm Koocher, shelter volunteer, said having to close for six weeks was “devastating, financially.”

“Aside from that, the adoptions have been good, and we’re all happy to have animals here again,” she said.

Dr. Robert Reynolds, a veterinarian with South Mill Veterinary Clinic in Boardman, said solid finances are vital to running a successful shelter.

“It costs money to provide drugs and help,” he said. “Many strays have every disease in the world.”

Dr. Reynolds, who has worked in the area for 32 years, said both organizations would be better off financially if they put aside past differences.

“Money could be better spent if there was cooperation between the different organizations that try to save the animals,” he said. “If you’re duplicating services then it’s not the wise use of funds.”

Working together is exactly what Gary Pilcher, chairman of the Animal Charity board, said he wants to do.

Pilcher said he met recently with Diane Less, of Angels for Animals in Canfield, to discuss ways all local shelters could help one another.

“Angels board members want to explore with us ways we could coordinate, not just with each other, but with the other shelters in the area,” he said. “It really would change the face of animal welfare in the area.”

Koocher said volunteers at CLS would be willing to work with Animal Charity if the agency would answer questions about what happened to any remaining cats confiscated from the shelter.

“There’s a lot of water under the bridge, and there’s still a lot of bad feelings,” she said. “It would be nice to make the gesture to extend us the courtesy of at least telling us what happened to our animals ... An apology might be nice.”

Pilcher said, in response, that someone from CLS contacted Animal Charity recently about any remaining cats. He said his agency isn’t trying to keep anything from CLS, and the person who called was told the rest of the cats that were confiscated in the raid had been adopted.

“We don’t have any property of theirs,” he said.

Koocher said despite the shelters’ different approaches — CLS is a no-kill shelter, while Animal Charity will perform euthanasia — she thinks it’s critical they learn to cooperate.

She said she would like to see CLS and Animal Charity eventually be able to offer a free spay or neuter service a few times per month to residents unable to afford the costly procedure.

“I think it’s vital and beyond important,” she said. “I don’t think we’ll get anywhere if we’re circling each other [like vultures]. It’s a lot of wasted effort and counterproductive.”

Mahoning County Dog Warden Dave Nelson said for these and any other local shelters to survive, they must have a plan and a strong financial footing.

“You’ve got to know on the financial end how much you have coming in as well as coming out,” he said. “You have to draw the line on how many [animals] you can affordably maintain.”

Pilcher said the board acknowledges that the recent controversy at Animal Charity could have a ripple effect.

“Diane [Less] told me that what happened with us hurts [Angels] too,” Pilcher said. “If it looks, by the general public, like one agency doesn’t have its act together or hasn’t managed itself well, I think it tends to make other shelters guilty by association.”

Nelson agreed and said residents want transparency when it comes to these organizations.

“You’re in a general area where you have a lot of animal-loving people,” he said. “People want to see they’ve got their acts together.”


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

"An apology might be nice.”

What a load of crap. Koocher should apologize for all the sick animals.

Vindy should first go to city court and get entire case file about this, and THEN do story.

And if you remember correctly, Animal Charity DID try to work with Koocher to have a fundraiser, but instead ended up having to raid the place.

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2ConcernedCats(8 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The Cat Ladies want to work with Animal Charity now and it's "critical that they cooperate"? Really? So what part of selling "Humane?" t-shirts as a fundraiser is supposed to foster cooperation and be a sign of good faith?

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3CassAnn(252 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I would say the load of crap came out of Animal Charity and their rogue "humane officer". Very obvious since the winner no longer has a job and Cat Ladies Society is back to caring for cats. Since you are so concerned 1970mach1 you should check out the video of the severely underweight draft horse on youtube that same said humane officer said was fine.. but then helping a starving horse wasn't going to shut down a competitor that was getting more donations. Besides AC never worried about sick animals- they just KILLED them.

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4LittleRiver(10 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Personaly, CassAnn you must be very ignorant and biass to state that "AC never worried about sick animals-they just KILLED them." I personaly KNOW that many animals, including 'Cats' were medicated and nursed back to health. Many dogs with Parvo were given treatment for weeks and nursed back to health. Most being adopted to good homes. Animal Charity of Ohio has been around for over 40 years rescuing animals in neglected situations and stopping their suffering. Unfortunatly, ACO does not have a large facility to properly house a large amount of animals for quarentee then adoptions. Would anyone like to donate such a facility? How about would some of the other organizations who have a good tract record be interested in taking the overflow of neglected Animals from ACO and keep them untill they can adopt them out so ACO can continue to protect the neglected and abused? Stay focused on the Animals everyone, not certain individuals, please.

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5ojanet22(134 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

So much for working together.

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6Happycat(6 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Kimm Koocher's comment that she has a no-kill shelter is totally false. She has a no-care shelter. Tell the cats who died on the floor what a no-kill shelter they lived in. Tell all the sick cats that Animal Charity had to take out of there what a great and caring person Kimm Koocher is and what a great shelter she runs. Tell the cats with open wounds. Animal Charity would never have gone in there if there was no problem. She wants an apology! What a joke. She should apologize for the suffering she caused those cats. She entered into a plea agreement because she was guilty. If she had not been guilty she would have fought it in court.. This crap about other shelters being jealous is just that... crap. All these other so called jealous shelters have been doing fine long before Kimm Koocher and her many aliases came to town and will be doing just fine for many years to come. If you notice none of these other shelters she hints at have ever been raided. That is because their cats are healthy, well cared for and their facilities are clean. Kimm Koocher on the other hand, did not medicate her cats or it was on a hit or miss basis or if she felt like it. She asked adopters to bring her their old human medications to use. She has taken over 200 dead cats to the Angel's Rest Pet Crematorium. 200!!! A fact!!! Most shelters have not had that many dead animals over a decade. Ask her about that! She will tell you it is because she takes in so many sick cats. Wrong! It is because of the conditions they lived in while under her care. She is a con artist and a spinner of tall tales extraordinaire. Unfortunately the people of the Mahoning Valley fail to check the facts for themselves. They believe everything the Vindy and Kimm Koocher tell them. Check it out for yourself. Read the plea agreement. In it you will see all the things she had to agree to that she was not doing previously.Check with people who actually saw what was going on and are not afraid to tell the truth. Then ask yourself if all this evidence ( and there was a lot) could be wrong. NO!!!!!!!

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7suzette(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Happycat hit the nail on the head. The Cat Ladies Society is a group of frauds. They lie to the public, lie to their hard-working, dedicated volunteers. I WAS a volunteer who saw what was going on, saw it with my own eyes. The cats were very sick and dying on the floors and NO ONE CARED. Kimm was well aware and just let it happen simply throwing their dead bodies in the freezer. They would later be taken to the crematory in a cat food bag to be cremated, charged by the pound and told volunteers they were adopted. Kimm was more than happy to take $250 to take your cat. How does this help the many stray and abandoned animals in our area? She would tell you how it can stay there and live out its life if not adopted. She does not mention that if it gets sick (and most cats DO at some time in shelter situations), that she will let it lay there and die, not treat it or medicate it.
Kimm's idea of isolation is throwing all the cats together in a room. This is not isolation!!!! Sick animals need to be caged. She had cages, just did not want to be bothered. Those sick cats were eating and drinking out of the same bowls, sneezing all over each other, infecting and re-infecting each other till they died.
Kimm was responsible for all those dead cats, not AC.
CLS should have to pay AC for the costs of taking care of their cats. An apology - I hope hell freezes over first before they get an apology.

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8peedymom(13 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Did everyone miss the intent of the article, that local shelters need to put the past behind them and work together for the benefit of the animals? These responses have turned into a Kimm Koocher bashing session. I am tired of these statements by people like "Happycat" and "suzette" describing how horrible the conditions were at Cat Ladies. This really sounds like a personal vendetta because there are many other people who have posted on previous articles describing opposite conditions. If you saw something so bad, why didn't you take out the old cell phone and take a picture?

And I don't believe that Animal Charity fired its CEO and Humane Agent just because of budget cuts. If that was true, they would have been rehired in days after the generous donation by the Lariccias. As far as I know, no CEO has been appointed and a different Humane agent was hired. So there must have also been another reason for these firings.

And to "LittleRiver", I know that Cat Ladies has taken cats scheduled for euthanization from Animal Charity. The cats listed on their web site usually include how they came to be at the shelter. I have seen several times pictures of cats with the note that they were rescued from Animal Charity before they were destroyed.

Someone should initiate a meeting with the heads of the various Youngstown area shelters so they could arrive at a way to work together. The whole point of this discussion should be how can we best work to help the unfortunate animals that end up in shelters.

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9Happycat(6 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Peedymom: we did present many facts to the prosecutor's office who choose to let her off with a plea agreement. The only thing we ever cared about were the cats. Now her shelter is full of illness again, no isolation and she continues. She was offered help by other shelters and sneered at the offer and I know that for a fact! The other shelters do very well without her. Different organizations approach the animal problem from different angles and there is nothing wrong with that. Why in the world would anyone else want to work with someone who has mistreated animals? That is not what we are about.

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10Werecat(75 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Everybody saw what Cat Ladies Society and their cats looked like, courtesy of the news crew that Animal Charity brought along on their raid.

What people saw was an immaculate shelter filled with healthy cats attended to by dedicated volunteers.

They saw the paid Humane Society employees packing the cats 7 and 8 to a small carrier, in some cases bloodying their noses, in all cases scaring and stressing the animals. They saw these packed carriers thrown onto the back of an open pickup truck, not tied down, and driven across town.

What they did not see was a single dying cat, or a single dead cat, or filthy conditions, or a single instance of animal cruelty.

Had the Humane Society indeed uncovered such conditions charges would have been filed. The agreement between CLS and the prosecutors office was not a plea deal. As urgent financially as it was to get the shelter open again. CLS would never have pled guilty to a crime that never happened and that they did not commit.

People are not stupid. They believe what they see, not the ravings of one person creating multiple accounts to post under.

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11someonewhocares(6 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

It's all a crock!! All of them need to be shut down! First we need a LAW past in this state to protect all animals! Everyone of these Agencies have blood on their hands!! A bunch of cut throats! And the ones that have suffered are the animals! I'm sick of seeing The Queen of AFA everywhere I look. Making sure her hand is deep in the pot!This county needs A shelter run by HUMANS that give a damn, not by INHUMANE agents playing GOD, and Shelter MANAGERS having way to much control of monies that is donated by people who don't have a clue what their money is being spent on, like elaborate buildings with roofs that cost so much that the dogs have to be outside instead of in where it is warm.!!Gift shops! A cat tree that never has cats on it!!!Give me a break.Open your eyes people animals are suffering and these HUMANS are fighting over HUMAN selfishness.Animals are dying..who really gives a damn here????

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12firefly33(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I think that uniting multiple agencies that follow different rules is a waste of time. AC will and has euthanized more animals than I care to even think about. They run a business that does very little justice to the animals that have truely suffered. In the animal rescue world you have to understand business, but your business better have a heart. They go on the news and cry for handouts, but make no real effort to fundraise for themselves. WHY??? They are not in it for the animals. Go find the shelters and rescues in the area that are having fundraisers to support their cause. If they have a big fancy shelter too much money was spent on it and not enough on the animals. Ask Angels what they do with a dog that is heartworm positive. Treatment is expensive and that building wont pay for itself. Ask AC or Angels if they have ever taken a pit bull in that showed fear agression and gotten it rehab? Ask them what they do with a cat that needs long term care? There are only a few in the area that actually beleive that every life should have a chance to be saved. Thats where the valleys support should be. Do your homework. The only thing Angels and AC share is that they are run like a business and kill innocent animals that have experienced more suffering than most humans can immagine. Are they given compassion and a chance at a different life? No they are given a steal table, a needle, and a garbage bag. Shame on anyone that thinks that is ok.

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13peedymom(13 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

HappyCat: Who is the "we" who took evidence to the prosecutor's office? How did you obtain this "evidence"? Do/did you work for Animal Charity? I did not know that an average citizen could just go and take "evidence" for the prosecutor to look at and act upon. Or, did you know someone from AC that you convinced to help you with your vendetta against the Cat Ladies Society?

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14catzrule(25 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

"Pilcher said the board acknowledges that the recent controversy at Animal Charity could have a ripple effect."

The community has watched for years the decline of Animal Charity under the command of CEO Baringer and her two agents. AC needed to clean house completely, not rehire one of the Agents who was present at the raids where they entered property with no warrant, left critical information off the reports and so on................. These muliple screw ups have left AC open for lawsuits. One is pending in Federal Court at present. It is a shame that the Lariccia money will be spent on legal fees and not directly toward the precious animals. Mr. Pilcher has not done enough to restore faith in this organization and the donations will not be forthcoming until he completely revamps and starts anew.

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15catzrule(25 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

someonewhocares said:

"Give me a break.Open your eyes people animals are suffering and these HUMANS are fighting over HUMAN selfishness.Animals are dying..who really gives a damn here????"

YES, let's put the effort into making animal abuse a felony in Ohio, not a slap on the wrist. YES, let's work together and not worry that a generous person has donated to another organization besides yours and then work to discredit them. We are all in this fight together for the animals.

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16enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

go back search on CLS the articles on vindy or wkbn
they clearly state they have financial difficultly and loocher even admits they had virus in shelter in one article
fast forward last year they decided to move from appx 1600 sq ft shelter to one that is better than double in size.
if you cannot afford utilities and upkeep on a smaller building how in the world are you going to afford it in a larger building?!? so they compromise.
Koocher is a register veterinary technician in Ohio found that on ohio veterinary medical board website if she is a licensed animal nurse then she should know better...she should know when animals are sick that they need care from a doctor how to be clean how to do things the right way as opposed to someone without that education
think about that
one article said she retired from being a vet tech but she volunteers at a shelter?
i find that interesting as well
an apology? she should be apologizing to all the animals that she let suffer

i dont see these groups working together they each are a different type of business

i think what happened at animal charity is a shame and perhaps there was an ulterior motive by their board that is coming to light now perhaps one their board members is mole for cls!

the bottom line is there is not enough homes for all the unwanted animals it is unhealthy and unrealistic to think that they can be saved
there is not enough money to save all of them and not end up putting the animals in a bad situation
i would rather see unwanted put to sleep than suffer, be abused or be kept a prisoner in a place without proper care and suffer because of it
just watch the animal hoarders show on animal planet...they "rescued" animals became overwhelmed then animals suffered
people hardly want to adopt animals that are normal and healthy...if they did why do we have so many shelters? but they will pay 700 for a designer dog from a puppy mill store !
people dont want to adopt animals that require extra time money or effort to take care of
people dont care the way the used to
the people who do are rare

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17wodehousereader(1 comment)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Please note that the Happycat listed
in the above section is not affiliated with

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18dali123(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow, suzette, your comments smack of libel. Interesting that you can say the things you say but show no proof. Anyone can slam anyone else, it doesn't make it true. All I really know about this situation is that the Lariccia family donated a large sum of money to CLS and I don't think they throw money around without checking into where it is going. Or do you think the Lariccias are also some of the "dumbest people alive" and were duped by CLS?

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19kicker0809(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

you all need to get a life. if you really cared about the animals, you would stop spending time crucifying people you don't know and bitching about things you don't have all of the facts about. if you aren't going to be part of the solution....don't be part of the problem. if you care so much, get off of the damn computer and go do something about it...write letters to change laws in Ohio, go volunteer or go raise money for the animals. don't give actual money, you can give food, treats, blankets, etc. that way you know your money is actually being put to good use, not to salaries, etc.

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20dali123(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

To kicker0809. I have a life. I volunteer at my local shelter at least twice a month, when I am not working. I always bring food. I have been active in trying to get Nitro's law passed which would have made animal abuse a felony. It was not even brought up for a vote last year. We are trying again this year. Since you read this article and bothered to comment, perhaps you like animals? What have you done for them? Look up Nitro's Law HB70 and write a few letters or make some calls.

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21suzette(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Werecat - You state above, "As urgent financially as it was to get the shelter open again......
How could it have been urgent financially? There were no animals to care for, no food, no litter, no medicine needed. Perhaps what you meant to say was - if the shelter was not open, you could not collect $250 for taking a cat. How about fundraising? Ever heard of that????
It was also obvious how upset your organization was that all those cats were euthanized in the raid. You and your volunteers showed up at PETCO with a stuffed cat with syringes sticking out of it all over, laughing like idiots just a short time after the raid. Another of your followers was dressed up as a humane agent. Now that sounds like a group that was REALLY upset that all those cats were euthanized. Oh what a tangled web we weave.......

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22enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I seriously hope Lariccas DO NOT give CLS any money.
I would not want their good name (nor any one who has a good reputation) associated with CLS.
There is something more going on here than meets the eye.
I dont like how the board of AC held the community hostage by with holding humane service. I think that was wrong. I think there is a bigger story behind that.
Seriously... did they wake up the morning suddenly realizing there was a financial problem at hand? If they were that clueless and doing a poor of a job getting donations to keep AC going, then whole BOARD should be fired instead of the people they let go...perhaps they let them go because they know the truth.

I also dont think the person who wrote the article really has done any research.
just go back and research CLS on the vindy articles alone...you will see the patterns emerge.

having worked at shelters donating my time money and efforts I have learned there are professional con artists that use animals to make money. Some are master minds at manipulating or guilting people into donations.
Dr Reynolds and Dave Nelson are 100% right..these shelters have to be financially responsible and have to make rational logical decisions on how many animals they can take care of properly on all levels.
Decisions should be rational not emotional. Decisions should be what is best for all the animals in a shelter.
CLS all ready has shown they are incapable of doing so. The seem like a bunch of hystercial emotional whiners.
I was told koocher left angels for animals because she did not like the way they did things there, so she started her own shelter with her own rules.

So how in the world are all these groups to work together for the benefit of the animals if they all have their OWN opinions and ideas that do not agree with each other????

Working at a shelter is difficult, animals are put to sleep every day because they don't have any room at the shelter, are too sick or too mean to adopt. There simply is not enough homes for all them.

Before some of you whine about this read kicker0809 comments until you have actually given your time or money to a shelter you dont have a dog in the fight so to speak. If you are so worried about putting so many to sleep...I ask you HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE? no excuses..step up.

note to werecats.I watched the raid and I saw cats that had snot noses and runny eyes..i did not view with rose colored glasses on.
I know people who have gotten sick cats from there.
Financially Urgent...really...spare me.
First time offenders of any crime usually get to plea bargin and then they are put on probation..if they screw up..all deals off and you get the full meal deal punishment. There had to be compelling reasons to even issue a plea bargin in the first place.

it is a sad state of affairs. If more people got their pets spayed and neutered there would not be so many unwanted ones.
That is one thing we can all agree on.

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23muhiereke(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. The simple truth is that most of the negative "facts" cited above are simply false. I have volunteered with CLS, have donated money, and have adopted several cats from them. I have witnessed the caring and love our volunteers have given to cats in unfortunate situations. I know of many cats, including several of my own, who owe their lives to Kimm and her volunteers. There were NO dead cats found at the shelter during the raid. There was no freezer full of dead cats. These stories are sad fabrications. Yes, there were cats with nasal congestion. We don't think we need to kill cats because they have a cold. They were being medically treated. I know this for a fact because I observed it. It is true that Kimm left Angels because she disagreed with their policies - policies that permit a 70% or higher kill rate. Surely we can do better than that!

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24firefly33(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I beg to differ that there are not enough homes for our valley animals. What there are not enough of is educated people willing to fight for them. Its truely sad that so many die in our valley because of people taking the easy way out. Those that believe that euthanizing because of a growl or a hiss is ok are very sad people that must have never been scared in their whole life. I work with scared animals everyday and I can say that if I was treated they way they are Id growl or hiss too. Its amazing what 5 minutes of effort can do for a scared animal. To people that live it and see it everyday, and truely care, euthanasia is not the answer. Ohio needs tougher laws becuase it all boils down to the problem. PEOPLE! People's inhumane treatment of animals is what got us here. If we lived in a world of responsiable pet owners the pet population would not be a problem.
Any place that euthanizes for space is worthless. If any effort is put into finding placement no animal should have to die because homes and rescues are out there. Its easier to kill them than to ask for help. That happens everyday in our Valley. Get educated.
The same shelters in our valley that euthanize for space also euthanize because an animal is heartworm positive, URI, Kennel Cough, Parvo, Canine/Feline Flu, the list goes on for days. ALL TREATABLE. Its just easier to kill them. Its a big problem, but its not impossiable. Doing it right takes a lot more people understaning what goes on and being dedicated to fixing it. Sadly those people are few and far between. Uniting area shelters will never happen becuse not many will stand up and do it right.

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25p15828(7 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

R. Buckminster Fuller allegedly said, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." It's also claimed he said, "There is something patently insane about all the typewriters sleeping with all the beautiful plumbing in the beautiful office buildings and all the people sleeping in the slums."

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26enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

firefly take off the rosecolored glasses

start asking how many animals are actually adopted at every shelter as compared to intake
the numbers are lopsided
if you have 1000 cats dumped on you and only adopt100
what do you do with the rest?
WHo is going to care for them?
Who is going to house them?
Are you?

I am well educated both in the academic realm and in the real world.

There is an pet overpopulation crisis in the USA.
If there were enough homes for them all shelters and rescues would be out of business!

Again it goes back to finances as Dr Reynolds said the shelters have to be able to manage their money.

That means making tough decisions about how many animals a shelter can support and care for.

If a shelter runs on donations and choses to treat every little contagious disease that comes through they will go broke and have a contaminated facility.
What good will that do the animals?

There has to be a rationale decision made as to what animals stay and go.
Believe me it is not easy, I have watched caring professionals break down over making those decisions. It can be overwhelming when they are told..we only have room for 5 and there are 50 animals dumped at your door.
Then repeated the next day..it truly is like groundhogs day.
It is the reality check no one wants to hear about but it is the wicked truth.

There simply is not enough homes for them all.

Here is blurb from ASPCA's website:
Facts about U.S. Animal Shelters:
•Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.
•According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2 percent of cats and only 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners. Most of these were identified with tags, tattoos or microchips.
•Twenty-five percent of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred. (Source: NCPPSP)
•Only 10 percent of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. About 75 percent of owned pets are neutered.
•The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. About 15 to 20 percent of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 10 to 20 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues. (Source: Ralston Purina and NCPPSP)
•More than 20 percent of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from a shelter. (Source: NCPPSP)
•Five out of ten dogs in shelters and seven out of ten cats in shelters are destroyed simply because there is no one to adopt them.

Just google unwanted pet population
the numbers are staggering
you the one who needs to get educated

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27firefly33(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I have some statistics for you that may help you see my point of view.

-1 orginazition saved 800 animals last year from Mahoning County.
-780 of those animals are currently in homes. The other 20 are under medical care and once healthy have potential homes waiting.
-Only 3% of the 800 were not adult animals.
-Almost half were pit bull mixes
-55 were heartworm positive
-8 had over $1000 surgeries
-Almost half had respiratory issues
-Only 30 were spayed/neuterd when they came in. All are now spayed/neutered and up to date on shots.
-50 of the animals went through some type of behavior rehab.
-0 were euthanized.

No fancy shelter, just dedication. The mission is to save lives. Becuse of that furndraising happens every other weekend. Financially we plan for the unexpected. Pay the bills with our heads and care for the animals with our hearts. Every bit of what they do is funded by donations and fundraisers. You have to do the work, because the alternitive is euthanasia. Its a struggle at times, but animals still have a chance at life. We dont have to make a hard decision about euthanizing, its not an option for any reason other than medical suffering that cannot be reversed. That is a decision of our vets. If they can be saved we save them. If that means we can't have a nice shelter, or pretty transport vans than so be it. We make the sacrafices so that animals don't have to.
There is no statistic that can be put on people that will do what ever it takes to make it right.
You are right, it is like groundhogs day everyday. It never stops, luckily we don't either. Its a big problem and it has my full attention and hope. Its not impossiable, just hard and I have the hope that others will see it that way too.

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28muhiereke(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I applaud your comments. It is so heartening to hear some positive comments that reflect my own feeling of committment. The biggest thing we have to do to close the population gap is spaying and neutering. Everyone has been given the message, but many do not understand. We need massive education efforts to address animal issues. As Firefly says, the biggest part of the problem is HUMAN. We need it make spaying and neutering cheaper and more available. As I said, surely we can do better than a 70% kill rate.

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29enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

well good for you firefly you must be refering to canine crusaders at the mahoning county dog pound. They do a good job.

the bigger problem is cats. they are not so lucky.

Just read an article that said dog turned into shelters over past few years has decreased 12% while cats have increased 21%.
Dogs faired better on adoption rates with less euthansia rates.
Cats increased in euthansia rates and had lower adoption rates.

Cats had a higher incidence of hoarding than dogs.

They said the improvement is due to more mandatory spay neuter programs in dog pounds across the USA.

the problem still exists across the board.

There are some great places that have reasonable spay neuter prices in the valley however people dont make it a priority.
It is more important to spend 1000 on a mutt a puppy mills store than provide basic veterinary care.
It is more important to have that iphone or other gadget with all the trimmings than pay for your pet to be spayed or neutered.

People are the problem. Maybe we should start spaying and neutering more humans.

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30suzette(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

It is wonderful to hear of organizations making a difference in the lives of animals. Thank God there are groups that do care. However, CLS is not one of them.
To Muhiereke: Don't know when you volunteered at CLS, but this past summer was when things went horribly wrong for the cats. I, too, donated money, food, litter, supplies and many hours volunteering. Watching cats die was not something I had planned on. THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL VENDETTA!!! These are facts. Do you actually think that AC could have taken all those cats out of there based on someone's personal vendetta? Myself, along with two friends, adopted six cats between us. They are wonderful cats. To date, it has cost a total of $2,800 to get them well. They came to us with ringworm, ear mites, ear infections, severe upper respiratory into their lungs, abcesses in their mouths, skin problems and coccidia. That is after CLS got a $20,000 donation!! Kimm was not treating the cats, she did not even know one from another at the time. The cats WERE indeed dying there. Many people saw it. 200+ cats DID die there. There are records to show it. Check out the case file. Kimm emptied the sick room since it was too hot for her (HER WORDS). This meant alI the sick cats and well cats were mixed together. It was also kitten season, so add another 30+ kittens to the mix. Kimm and her idiot cohorts said they had kitty colds - kitty colds my a$$, these poor cats were nearly dead.
I volunteered to help the remaining cats at AC after the raid. Those cats, too, were very ill and AC spent a great deal of money to care for them. And yes, they did care for them.
Don't care if you believe me or not, ask around. Ask your veterinarian. Three different vets have told me how many sick and dying cats they have seen adopted from CLS.
These animals deserve better. Kimm needs to find another hobby, since she is not real good at this one.

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31firefly33(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

No I was not refering to canine crusaders. That particular rescue has done very little in the past few years. Maybe a handful of dogs have been helped by them. I simply wanted you to know that there are people out there that have a different bottom line. I honeslty know far less about feline issues than I do canine, but I know they are a bigger problem. No cost spay/neuter for feral cats is a great place to start. It has been poorly attempted in the area in the past. That is a good place to make a donation. Im not sure if CLS is prepared to take part in such an undertaking currently. I have no personal experience in the issues the CLS have, but I do know just how hard it is to get animals well. Especially when you take in strays that have never had medical care. Its very easy to have outbreaks without the means to properly isolate. I think the CLS heart is in the right place and it takes time to get things right. We all learn from out mistakes and hopefully they have as well. Moving forward will do more for our valleys animals far more than dwelling on the past.
Based on personal expereince with AC they need to resolve their own issues before they are relied on to be humane officers for our valley. Whos to say a few new faces will change whats really wrong there. Prove it! People in the area need to demand tougher laws and better pratices for our animals. Every shelter and rescue in the area is simply keeping its head above water and no progress for reducing the issues in the future are being addressed.

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32snowbunny(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Here's an idea - how about they actually work together and put all these old fights behind them?

AFA likes cats that come in healthy and can be adopted immediately. Fast turnover is best for them. They have the facilities for major spay/neuter operations.

CLS likes to focus on special-needs cats that aren't perfect and are harder to find homes for. It's a niche market but they have had success with it. They have no on-site medical facilities and their animals need more care, but they have plenty of volunteers so their costs are lower.

AC doesn't have the facilities to hold many cats, so they aren't able to keep everything they bring in from animal cruelty calls. They have a medical team in place to offer services to the public and for animal cruelty seizures, but that means they aren't able to churn out spay/neuters at the rates needed to make a difference.


AFA can handle the large volume spay/neuter that is needed. Set up shuttles that can run large numbers of privately owned cats to AFA from CLS/AC on at least a weekly basis. People from downtown can't always find a way to drive out to the middle of nowhere just to get a cat fixed. AFA can also take most of the immediately adoptable animals from both AC and CLS as they'll have better luck finding them homes. This will allow AC to be able to save more cats from their cruelty calls and also move cats out of their holding area as soon as they're healthy, allowing more to be treated.

CLS can take in the special-needs animals that both AFA and AC don't have the space for. The cost savings for AFA and AC in employee time alone would be extreme. In return, AC and AFA can offer medical services to CLS at-cost so all the cats get the treatment they need.

AC is the humane society of Mahoning county - so their focus needs to be on that. Being able to hand off spay/neuters and the extended care of cats would allow them to focus on treating more of the cruelty seizures that come through their doors. In return both AFA and CLS would help to support their financial needs.

Not every cat would be saved as there are just too many cats per available homes in this area. However, a plan like this should make the adoption numbers soar and bring down costs at the same time. Combining adoption databases would also allow potential adopters to view everyone's adoptable cats more easily at each location, allowing the adopters to find that perfect cat much easier.

Fundraising dollars could be pooled so everyone is more comfortable financially, and spay/neuter programs would be cheaper for the public. Volunteers could be used more effectively so there would be less of a reliance on paid help. There would be more services in more of the county so the public wouldn't have to go out of their way to adopt or spay/neuter, which is the biggest deterrent besides cost.

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33snowbunny(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Another option that could help cut down on unwanted and abused cats and dogs and help every rescue group in the area would be programs that help keep the animal safe in it's own home. If there's no need to get rid of the pet in the first place, then there's no need to rehome it.

Many animals are being abandoned right now due to the economy and the cost of basic care. If people can't feed their family, then they can't feed their dog. A hardship program that provides pet food for families who want to keep their pet but can't afford food would keep many dogs out of the shelters. It could be limited to families that are already receiving government food benefits and whose animals are or would be fixed. Fundraising could be done separately and costs could be kept low by contacting pet food manufacturers for help. (Great PR for them.)

Another reason why many dogs and cats are abandoned is behavioral problems that can be easily corrected with the proper advice. Unfortunately, many owners are just at their wit's end when dealing with issues like urinating in the home, or biting. By providing free access to animal behavioral assistance, problems can be addressed and the animal can stay where it belongs in a loving home, and not sent to a shelter where there's no room. Anyone with good knowledge of cat or dog behavior can be trained to answer questions and help discover the root of the problem. Medical based issues can be referred to local veterinarians for treatment, while behavioral issues can be counseled over the phone. Owners can get the help and the reassurance they need, and the animals benefit from the service. It could be entirely volunteer based, and the call center could even be located in one of the local rescues, further reducing costs.

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34catzrule(25 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like a lot of bitter fighting from the people who were TERMINATED from Animal Charity. They get on here an register under different names and put on the same lies. I have seen their writing enough to recognize their "style" . Get over it, you are gone from Animal Charity. The group is trying to reorganize. If there was evidence the CLS would have been charged and you would have had in on the news. We all know you were media whores with calling the news before you called the prosecutors to get warrants when you violated the rights of people and illegally entered their property. Get over it, you are gone.............Thank God!

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35catzrule(25 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago


Love your ideas!! Any suggestions on how to get the ball rolling? We all have the passion to help the animals and need to come together and pool our resources. It sounds like Animal Charity is the base organization as being the only Humane Agency. I would hope when Mr. Pilcher fills the 4 open board positions that he looks for people who know the local situation. I hope he is just not filling seats.

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36kimk1957(21 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The Cat Ladies Society is a Godsend! They are the only ones that truly care about the special needs, blind and disabled cats and kittens. Their facility is beautiful and very clean. The cats are loved, vetted, carefully tended to, and well fed.
I will continue donating to the Cat Ladies!

It does seem like there are many disgruntled ol' Animal Charity employees or volunteers writing hateful things on here. It's so obvious.

Keep doing the excellent work CLS!!!!
I believe you've adopted out somewhere near 1000 cats and kittens. Who else around here has done that?

I know you'd be glad to work with other shelters....it just seems they don't want to pull it together and move forward enough to work with each other.

Keep up the great work CLS! God Bless. Kim from Kinsman

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37snowbunny(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

catzrule, thank you! I'm just so sick of seeing all these places blaming each other. Yes, bad things have been done and worse things have been said by all parties - but make that the past already. Fighting about who was right and who was wrong isn't helping anything. There's serious overpopulation issues in y-town, and there is so much more that could be done to correct that!

I think the only way to get the three rescues (and any other groups who would be interesting in joining) would be to find one person to oversee talks and negotiations. That would be the hardest part since there is so much mistrust. It would have to be someone that every group truly believes is looking out for the best interest of their group and the animals. And it would have to be someone with enough of a presence to stand up against the heads of all the groups. (Cause lets face it, Kimm and Diane are both forces of nature when discussing what they're passionate about.) I don't know who that mediator could be, but it would have to be someone unassociated with all of the groups.

I'd love to see the dog groups get involved as well. The smaller rescues that have formed in the past ten years have made it so that almost no adoptable dog gets euthanized in Mahoning county. If all the groups worked together they could get the county to a complete no-kill county within another year or two. Home-based rescues are wonderful for working and rehabing dogs that the large shelters aren't equipped for or can't legally handle, but once it comes time to get those dogs adopted the small shelters just don't have the same ability to show the dogs off to potential adopters.

If the canine groups could talk and work together, dogs could get moved to where they would be best treated - those that need training and rehab to the smaller groups that already have the training and the network in place; those that are ready to go to homes to the shelters where it's easy for them to meet new families. In exchange, the smaller rescues could have medical care provided at-cost or at lower cost by Angels and Animal Charities. There would be more fundraising dollars to go around, and every dog could get a chance. Could you imagine a county where the dog population was under control to the point where we would have to start bringing in puppies and dogs from surrounding counties and helping the groups there? It would be amazing!

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38peedymom(13 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

To maxi..... thanks.

To snowbunny......finally someone thinking about the problem and trying to come up solutions. You have some great ideas. The most important thing is to let the past go and move on to the future. Cities bigger than Youngstown have transformed their shelters into no-kill, but groups need to start working together to make this happen. And to believe that it CAN happen.

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39kk80586(229 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

To someonewhodoesnothaveaclue (aka) someonewhocares, It seems you may have a bit of an agenda going on there. #1 The "Queen of AFA" is seen everywhere because she is trying to make people aware of the animal over-population problem and fund raising for AFA. She donates her time and a LOT of her own money to the shelter. #2 Don't know who's roof you were spewing about but at AFA the dogs have "doggie doors". They may be in or out at their own desire (it's obvious you have not been there or you would know that). People can see what they are donating to when they go to AFA by looking at the healthy, happy animals. The donors obviously wanted a nice building not a run down garage. You can look at the front of the buildings and see who some of the major donors are. In that area, that facility fits in...perhaps where you live a shack would do? #3 "A Gift shop" Don't know what your beef with trying to raise funds is but try to get over it. #4 A cat tree with no cats in it. I don't know whether the cats are back in the tree room or not at this point. Good intentions sometimes go bad. Someone donated that tree and cats loved it but it posed a health risk when a sick cat was (accidentally) introduced into the tree-room. Perhaps you could donate some time and help disinfect the tree room and come up with an idea to cover the tree with something that can't be contaminated easily. Use your mind and time for something useful rather than spewing hatred over something you obviously know nothing about.

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40southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Meanwhile, the poor animals are the ones who are suffering

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41onthebrightside(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I have volunteerd with The Cat Ladies Society for a couple of years. The shelter is a wonderful place to find a new friend. The shelter is clean and colorful and the cats are very well cared for. We are staying true to our mission and are rescuing community cats and kittens and spaying/neutering all of them before they are adopted. We take in special needs cats that other shelters will not and find homes for them. There is a lot of negative communication in this thread. We are guessing that more than one alias commenting here is the same person who would like to do us harm. We recommend you come in and see for yourself. We are open seven days a week. See our website for hours and more information. http://www.TheCatLadiesSociety.com. Thank you.

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42computer_rick(137 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Pretty sad, the folks attempting to trash CLS, under several different login ID's.

Yes, Angels for Animals is a beautiful spot. Ever try to adopt from there? Seriously, you may as well be trying to get a security clearance as try to get one of their cats or dogs. An interview? Someone visiting your house?

AFA is at the far end of the spectrum. Cross every "T", dot every "i". Then maybe, you can take one of animals home with you. Really, too ridiculous. CLS, on the other hand, tries to do what they can. And tries to get their animals into homes. The other end of the spectrum.

I personally believe that AFA is so stuck on their belief that the way they run things is the only "correct' way to do things, that they will never work with any other facility.

Too bad. I mean, to be honets, I got my two cats the old fashioned way (after getting turned off by the way AFA made me jump through hoops). I got one off the street, took it to the vet, and nursed it back to health, gee, what a concept. The other one I got from someone who picked it up as a stray. Again, took it to the vet. Got her spayed, and loved her to death.

Folks arguing about the right and wrong way to determine if a family is "good enough' to get one of their precious little darlings, kind of makes me a little sick. AFA, I know you do good work, but get over yourselves. A bad home is worse than no home, but a mediocre home, is better than no home at all. We can't all live in Canfield and have a six foot fence...

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43Werecat(75 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

To Snowbunny: While it's very flattering to be compared to Diane Less, it's probably not very accurate. You are right, Diane is a very strong and formidable woman. I'd like to think of myself as a toughie, but I am nowhere near to being in Diane's league. She started with an idea and a chicken coop and built an amazing facility staffed by amazing people, and she did it by sheer force of will and personality. Her commitment to animals and her energy and drive are unmatched by anybody else I've ever met.

And, everybody else, don't bother posting a list of her flaws. We're all human and we all have flaws. Any flaws that make Diane human do not take away from the amazing thing she has accomplished in creating Angels for Animals.

I left because I wanted to focus more on special needs animals, not because I hated Angels or the people there. They are all people willing to do a tough job for little or no monetary reward. In this day and age that is truly an admirable thing.

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44ConcernedCats(8 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Interesting. So anyone posting with questions about CLS practices must be a single person with multiple accounts, but people posting with identical comments about how wonderful CLS is must be legit?

Interesting that the post on Facebook about the "Humane?" shirts disappeared after being mentioned here. Trying to cover up the months of constantly encouraging people to protest Animal Charity?

Interesting that just before the raid CLS was given $20,000 by the Lariccias specifically for construction costs to finish the new clinic, but that money has mysteriously disappeared now. Charitable donations for a specific purpose are legally required to be used for that purpose. Where did the money go? Now CLS is begging for thousands more for the clinic again.

So many interesting things... Another article, Vindy?

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45onthebrightside(2 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of the clinic, one of the plans for the new clinic, in addition to caring for our cats, is to do very low cost spays and neuters. The clinic is nearing completion, slowly but surely. If it weren't for the negative effects of the raid we would be complete with the clinic. We had asked for $5000 to move into the new building and the Lariccia's generously gave us more than we needed or asked for to spend as needed. The clinic is being built by men in the community who like donating their time to a worthwhile cause. And they are doing such a wonderful job of it. We are really excited about what it will make available to the community. Come and visit anytime during adoption hours. We love you Youngstown! ConcernedCats, you seem unaware of the goings on at CLS. Peace be with you.

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46ConcernedCats(8 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

In other words, you're planning to bring owned pets in for a free spay or neuter and performing the surgery mere feet away from ill animals in your clinic. Good plan! Are you then going to treat the pets for free when they become ill? And which vet will be performing these surgeries? You are going to have an actual licensed vet, right?

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47dali123(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Come on, ConcernedCats, get real. I took MY kitten to MY vet to be spayed and they had SICK dogs and cats coming and going all day long!! And she stayed overnight with who knows what in the air! I guess I am really lucky she made it. Maybe you are planning on opening a well-kitty clinic? And hey, great idea about having a licensed vet. I'll bet no one thought of that. I am sure they will appreciate your insight.l

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48suzette(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Of course, there would not be a living soul who had anything negative to say about the CLS, so it must be people posting with different IDs. What a nice spin!
I can tell you that I have posted with only one ID and DO have some questions regarding the financial practices of CLS.
Let's see, they asked for $5,000 to move into their new building. They got $20,000 from Lariccia Family. They received two grants, have volunteer labor and say they have scrounged out a lot of the materials. Now they still need $6500 to finish. The extra $15,000 - where oh where did it go? Can be sure it did not go to help the sick cats all thrown together in one room. Maybe it went for Kimm's defense fund .Something is not right. Where is the IRS when you need them?

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