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Expo showcases needs of animals

Published: Sun, April 1, 2012 @ 12:02 a.m.

BY Jordan Cohen



If there is an overriding theme of this weekend’s Northeast Ohio Pet Expo Show, it’s probably this: Animals need your help.

“You can find your best friend here,” said Judi Henninger, show coordinator.

Organizations dedicated to animal rescue, foster care and adoption are prominent among the 50 vendors at the Eastwood Expo Center show, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.For example, there is the litter of nine rottweiler, shar-pei and border collie-mix puppies abandoned at a Youngstown church three weeks ago when they were just four weeks old. The puppies were saved thanks to New Lease on Life, a Struthers volunteer organization that rescues dogs and cats from euthanasia at shelters. The nine drew the attention of crowds as they played in a large cage by the group’s booth.

“We named each one of them after an angel because they were found at the church,” said Darla Donahue of Struthers, one of the group’s volunteers. Donahue said the puppies have to stay in foster care for several more weeks before they will be available for adoption.

Then there is Misty, a 4-year old Australian shepherd with one blue eye and one brown eye, now under foster care at Animal Charity of Youngstown. “She was abused and neglected, but we can’t put her up for adoption yet because of issues with her owners,” said Shalyse Bolash, a volunteer. Bolash said Animal Charity needs people willing to help provide the animals with foster care.

So does Friends of Fido, a group of 30 volunteers who take dogs from the Mahoning County pound for walks every day. “We’re hoping to get them adopted,” said Julie Nochta, Austintown, as she displayed an album of photos of each dog.

Adoption is an especially difficult challenge for Smoochie, a year-old paraplegic cat that requires a small two-wheeled cart attached to her hind paws to move. Kim Koocher of Canfield, a volunteer at West Side Cats, Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, walked the floor with the cat on a leash as it moved easily with the cart.

“A toddler put Smoochie in a drawer and broke her back, but we didn’t want to see her put down” said Koocher. “We’ve even got a Facebook page [Smoochie Chronicles] so people can keep up with how she’s doing,” Koocher said.

Recent incidents of animal cruelty in the Mahoning Valley that killed several dogs were on the mind of Amber Rhodes of Akron. She circulated petitions to support Nitro’s Law, a bill that would change such offenses from a misdemeanor to a felony. The law, named after one of eight dogs that starved to death in a Youngstown kennel in 2008, has moved to the Ohio Senate after its February approval in the State House of Representatives.

“We have people all over Ohio working to make this happen,” Rhodes said.

All of the organizations have financial needs. The Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County is trying to raise $6 million for a new shelter to replace the facility on Brunstetter Road in Lordstown. “We’ve got $2.5 million, and we’ll keep going till we get enough money,” said Shirley Hryonak of Girard.

The Pet Expo is not limited to animal-rescue exhibitors. There are animal-care product displays and a petting zoo. Among today’s scheduled features are a pet fashion show and a “Look Like Your Pet” contest. The expo opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.


1angelajb(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

These articles are excellent to keep the public informed. People don't realize that adopting a dog, even an abused one, will turn into a lifetime of love. Keep posting them!

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2Cowlady(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The need to protect animals has never been more urgent. With the increase in animal abuse & neglect caes growing each year, legislation is crucial to stop this trend.
Nitro's law arose from such an abuse case. Stiffer punishemnts & fines will help deter the horrid abuse of many pets at the hands of unscrupulous breeders, kennel owners & the general public.
I urge the Ohio Senate to act swiftly to pass this legislation & protect the pets. (Angela Recker)
There are MANY dedicated rescues who perform miracles when it comes to saving animals but their sacrifice & dedication is undermined without a strong law to assist them in protecting these pets.
PLEASE pass Nitro's Law before more pets die.

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3enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Was not that impressed with the pet expo. I think it should be more educational. People shoudl learn about why heartworm is a deadly disease and so simply to prevent.
things like that.
THe rescue groups were a bit overwhelming, I was shocked and apalled by the cat in the wheelchair, take about exploiting animals for profit. THe cat did not look that "relaxed and happy to there" to me that has to be very stressful for a cat. Then we were told who it was no shock and awe there. Cat ladies or west side cat..those zebras did not change their stripes. The should have been shut down the first time. I feel so sorry for the cat.
Maybe they will pass a law that shelters and rescues have to be inspected like restaurants and fined or closed if they are not kept clean and the animals are not properly cared for.
I wonder if the Nitro law would apply to that type of situation? I hope it does. I signed the petition and have called our senator twice.

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4Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I am sick of people bashing the late Cat Ladies Society and the wonderful people of West Side Cats. Smoochie the paralyzed cat is a terrific ambassador for handicapped cats everywhere. She was going to be euthanized because of her handicap, and West Side Cats were the ONLY people who stepped up to help this beautiful cat with the sparkling personality. Their dedicated volunteers work so hard to help animals that have absolutely nowhere else to go. These people, mostly elderly and/or handicapped, do all of the physical work keeping this shelter spotless and the animals fed and cared for. In addition to that they scramble and scrape for every dime they get, spending what little free time they have trying to raise funds to keep their rescue going.

NO CHARGES were ever filed against Cat Ladies Society. The "humane agent" who raided them, AND his boss, were let go as soon as their employers thought they could convince people that the firings were precipitated by financial need.

Cat Ladies Society and now West Side Cats have passed several surprise inspections by less-than-friendly agencies with FLYING colors. Said agencies include the Ohio Pharmacy Board, the Dog Warden's office, Animal Charity and YPD. They have cooperated with these authorities completely because they do not and never have had anything to hide. They have rescued cats from "real" humane societies who were kept in 2x2 foot stacked cages in outside yards with nothing but a leaky tarp for cover. They have had their animals stolen and killed by badge-bearing thugs, their volunteers physically assaulted, their shelter vandalized, their personal privacy invaded and their hearts broken, all because they love cats and believe that illness or a handicap should not be an automatic death sentence.

You feel sorry for Smoochie? Maybe you should meet her and her guardians before you pass judgement on this very beloved cat and the people who cherish and care for her. Better yet, stop by West Side Cats and work a shift or three and see the rescue for yourself.

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5debsnugs(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

thanks for your coverage on this story.. it is sad that we have people who have no idea how bad the animal abuse is in OHIO. That we have NO laws in place to protect our animals. Thank you for keeping this in the news.. for doing stories and helping to get people aware of the a major need in ohio

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6enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I have voluteered at legimate rescues and experience the heart breaks first hand. I foster and have rescued pets. I have driven hours to take a dog to a new home. I have paid vet bills to save dogs from being euthanized for just having heartworm.
I donate regularly to rescues. you are preaching to the choir.

I find your response very interesting. NO interest in volunteering ever at your west side cats based on your response.

it is what it is.

have a nice day:)

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7onyx1010(2 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I my self think all you wonderful people that go out of your way to help these poor defenseless animals and don't ask for anything in return are GOD SENT!!! Keep up the good work!

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8ytowhoh330(89 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

God bless West Side Cats and ALL rescues for doing what they do. And yes we NEED NITRO'S LAW PASSED!! It won't cover all pets yet, but its a start. There is far too much animal abuse going on in this state. When people hurt animals they do move on to hurt humans!!!

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9Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I'm not preaching, Muffin. I'm just saying that perhaps you should research your responses. You strike me as the dilettante type of rescuer anyway. Do this a bit, do that a bit, always quitting when it becomes too much like work. Then be the first to shoot your mouth off, hoping the shrillness of your yapping will cover your regrettable lack of substance.

If you really believe in rescue and had any real involvement with rescue work I think you'd have found the rescue groups represented at the Expo to be more "inspiring" than "overwhelming".

We're not slitting our wrists over here at the prospect of losing you as a possible volunteer. You probably wouldn't last an hour doing any kind of real work anyway.

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10TYK(2 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The real reason for this article is to show our support for Nitro's Law. Please call your Ohio Senator and ask him or her to support Nitro's law HB108. This law would make animal abuse by kennel owners a felony. Animal abusers usually move on to people if not stopped! I see the results of this first hand at the shelter I volunteer at. Please support this law.

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11Scope9137(7 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

So glad we have these brave and inspiring people to create these organizations to aid in the protection of animal abuse and cruelty. Every living, breathing, and especially HEARTBEATING animal deserves a chance at life. You can't mistreat an animal for what they were not taught. I call every day, email everyday, and have sent several letters/cards to our senators and representatives explaining how important it is to protect our loving companions and urge them to push Nitro's Law for a vote. The outdated legislation in Ohio is embarrassing for the state of Ohio, but especially when you are a resident of Ohio. To be part of a state where it takes an animal abuse law three years to pass is an abomination, and makes me feel like my senators and representatives have no heart or soul when it comes to compassion towards an animal.

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12savedapibbles(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Any chance to spread education of animals and give them a chance to maybe find a deserving home I support. Support Nitro's Law and spread the word.

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13enjoytheride(26 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

thank you were cat

I am glad you know me so well.

Regrettable lack of substance..lol..

get off your high horse

pass the nitro law.

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14Ilovemypets(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I personally loved the Pet Expo. I learned so much about local businesses and rescue groups. All the dogs and cats up for adoption were very sweet. I bought many great items at great prices and met a lot of wonderful people. Loved the Nitro booth and sent many people over to sign. Will be back next year.

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15KristaisTheBoss(12 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Jordan Cohen for stopping by the Nitro Foundation booth and talking with Amber Rhodes. We all really appreciate your support!!

Support Nitro's Law HB108!!
Get Involved!
Call,Write,Email your Senators!
Tell them you're a registered voter and you want Nitro's Law -HB108- PASSED!!
www.ohiosenate.gov (website to find and contact your senator)

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16Happycat(6 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Enjoytheride is so correct! Werecat AKA Kimm Koocher drags that poor cat around to get money! That cat is terrified. I was there. The dogs scared the poor thing so bad, it shook in terror (where it could). It was appalling when the kitty was dragged around in the cart with it's eyes as wide as saucers. It has never been about the cats, just the money! The other cat she was dragging around looked like it was having seizures! Several of the other rescue groups expressed their concern at the cat's treatment! Kimm has so many people who follow her every word and have partaken of the Kool-aid. I don't see how they are so fooled by her. I have been is rescue over 40 years and have volunteered in many shelters and NEVER have I seen cats in the condition the cats were in that were taken in the raid! SHAME on you Kimm!

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17Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You've been in rescue 40 years? You're not even 40 years old. You're pathetic. You create situations that don't exist and use multiple names so that one lies and the other swears to it. You've spent the past several years first stalking me and trying to BE me and then trying to bury me. Frankly it's creepy. Please seek help.

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18cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Why is it that EVERY article that comes out with anything to do with animals ends up with Werecat aka Kimm Koocher, shooting her mouth off? Guess what, there are a LOT of people in this town who appreciate what REPUTABLE groups do for animals. There are so many wonderful groups in this area helping animals every day. I read many of the animal-related articles online and there is always your name in there, looking for attention. My God, how much attention do you need? Doesn't your appearance draw enough attention to you? You drag that poor crippled cat around to get even more attention.

If it makes you feel better to think you have only one hater in this town who you say uses different names on the computer, then think that. There is a list as long as my arm of people who know you are a scum, a fraud, liar and animal abuser. Every veterinarian in this town knows what you are and what you are doing. Every other rescue group knows what you are about. People who have adopted nearly dead cats know what you are doing.
How on earth do you have the time to collect your checks, run a shelter, bilk money from people, and spend all this time on the computer?
Now that your group is called West Side Cats, what has changed, other than the name? Any chance you will disappear????

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19Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Cat Ladies Society took a crippled cat that nobody wanted and turned her into a superstar just by letting her beauty and personality shine. You have been out of your mind Jealous since you first laid eyes on Smoochie. I admit this thread was a good try on your part to discredit her as a spokescat, but like everything else you spout it's just a load of crap.

Area vets do fine with us, we get along well with every one we have encountered. In fact, one of them told us that the other area vets have nicknamed your shelter "The Parvo Palace".

We also do very well with a lot of reputable rescue groups. Probably better than you, since it was a vet who turned you in to the group you were defrauding to increase your profit margin on your already overpriced puppies.

I'm not the one who dragged me into this discussion. I believe it was you who couldn't resist taking a swipe at us. The thing is, I'm done letting you spout your disgusting hate speech at me, at my friends, at the shelter I volunteer for. Your "master plan" failed. Your lying to that idiot humane agent to get us closed down failed. Your stealing our passwords and blocking us from our own website failed. Your shutting off our phone failed. You are a failure. The day you quit us we danced around the store in a conga like singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead".
Cheer up, at least you still keep me laughing!

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20cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Werecat - Don't know if you are spouting off the above nonsense to me, but I do not run a rescue nor have ever run a rescue with overpriced anything. You are one angry psycho.
All people wanted to do was read about the Pet Expo and you have to throw yourself into the limelight. Kinda like you did when you were with another local rescue. If you could not be the center of attention there (either good or bad), you made trouble. The mess you left there is still being cleaned up. How many cats you fostered died while in your house? There were an awful lot of unaccounted for cats and kittens after they went to stay with you.
There was another "RESCUE" like yours in this town a few years ago. They called themselves EARS - Emergency Animal Rescue Service. They were shut down when someone found all their dead animals. They looked and acted like freaks, too.
Your postings sound like you have been nothing but a victim at every turn. Poor, poor victim. Go back to whatever hole you crawled out of.

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21Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Good point. You don't run a rescue. You sell sick puppies and tell people it's a rescue.

And you stalk me. And you give yourself way too much credit. You couldn't turn me into a victim on the best day of your life. Speaking of which, get one.

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22cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Once again, I do not know who you think I am, but you are sadly mistaken. I do not run a rescue, nor have ANY puppies or dogs.
Guess it makes you appear innocent if you claim that one person is making all the same claims. Perhaps the claims sound the same because it is the TRUTH!!!! There is never a reason to deviate from the truth, so why wouldn't it sound similar?
Maybe you could sell your talents for making the crippled cat with soiled diapers a Superstar. Maybe you could get a job being a Hollywood agent??

Go shave your head, get another tatoo, bilk your latest victims out of their money and take your drugs.
Don't forget, look out for more articles in the paper so you can throw yourself in the spotlight again. Loser.

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23Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You are a cold-blooded sociopath and coward who hides behind fake names on the web and rants about whatever the voices in her head are currently saying. I know exactly who you are. You are a one-trick pony with nothing but hate to sustain you.

If there had been any problems with our shelter or our animals we would have been shut down at the time of the raid. The humane agent would still be a humane agent. We've passed every surprise inspection known to man with flying colors and last time I saw said agent he was working in the food and beverage service industry.

I'm tired of feeding you, Troll. I've said my piece, out in front of the world as myself. You're too much of a coward to even identify yourself. Go sit in a room full of mirrors, it's the only way you'll ever be surrounded by people who love you.

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24cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Oh Marianne, you have fallen for the con artist too. My God, open your eyes!!!! Go to a respectable shelter and see how it is run. Follow up on adoptions and see if the cats were really adopted or just end up in the freezer. See how many pounds of dead cats end up in the local crematory each week. The poor cats in this town deserve so much more than this scumbag offers them.
Your Grand Leader has the worst reputation of any rescue group this town has seen for a long time.
The truth always comes out in the end.
In order to sue anyone for slander, you must be able to prove the facts are false. Good Luck with that!!!
For the cat's sake, I do hope someone respectable is in that shelter. But keep your eyes opened, don't just listen to what your Messiah who made Smoochie a Superstar says. What a JOKE!!!
Why doesn't Kimm identify herself or you identify yourself???

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25Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Werecat = Kimm

Cally/Happycat/Enjoytheride = psycho stalker

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26cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Cally is my name you idiot. Difference between Angels for Animals and West Side Cats is that Angels tells the truth. The fact you KNEW about dead cats at AFA is key. Kimm lies to anyone and everyone that will listen. Adoptions that reached nearly 1000. A NO KILL SHELTER - Give me a break. If she told the truth, no one would care. The reality is - there are too many animals and not enough homes. But when so called shelters swindle people out of money, tell them tall tales of adoptions when cats are dead, that is fraud. When cats cannot get the minimal amount of care and are left to die, that is neglect.
If you DO volunteer at other shelters, you must do so with your eyes closed if you do not see any differences.
If you and your attention hoes do not want opinions of others, then stop putting yourselves in the limelight every time an article on any animal group comes up. A beautiful article about the Lariccias giving money to Animal Charity has to be soiled by you and your group looking for a handout there.
Go away, you bunch of washed up losers.
Loved your line, "And since you mentioned God, it is obvious you know who I am". This says it all.
You have the nerve to call anyone a PSYCHO with a line like that.
There are far too many people who know the truth about you and your group.
P.S. I am not at all scared of you POS.

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27Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Marianne is a very religious person, with a deep belief in God. Her Messiah is Jesus himself. You were insulting her religious beliefs by trying to turn me into a deity.

We weren't looking for a handout by commenting about the LaRiccia article. We were looking for Animal Charity to do the right thing and offer restitution for our stolen property.

That's 84 cats times the $163 per cat that we put into them. We would also like our 3 bottles of Drontal cat returned, those cost $187 per bottle.

We would also like to know exactly happened to each and every cat, and if any were actually adopted out those adoption fees should be returned to our charity, since the cats were our property.

We would also like our office pets - Samaya, Mickie, Savannah, and Little Bug returned to our shelter.

Since there were never any charges filed against the shelter or any of its volunteers Animal Charity has no legal right to keep these things. They certainly had no right to confiscate, sell or destroy our property.

We will keep asking these questions until Animal Charity gives us the courtesy of an answer. If they are in full compliance with the law they should have no trouble either returning what they've stolen from us or compensating us for it.

Frankly, Psycho, nothing that passes between our organization and theirs is any of your concern. Why don't you toddle back to that armpit you call a shelter and pick up a mop for once in your life?

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28doggydaze(1 comment)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I am new to this place, and just found this site. I was amazed at what i saw. Isnt it supposed to be everyone helps each other. where i come from, shelters work together. not here. I went to this expo last week, i didnt see a cat having seizures, i did see a cat with cerebellar hypoplasia,.I hope callie doesnt run a shelter, if she doesnt no the differance.I hope for the animals sake they u guys can get it together. i am not a cat fan, but i do believe every animal deseves the best. thanks for listening.I AM GONNA GO LOOK AT ALL THESE SHELTERS, AND MAKE UP MY OWN MIND.

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29cally(23 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Marianne - You really do not sound like a "very religious person with a deep belief in God." Unless your God does not want truth. "And since you mentioned God, it is obvious you know who I am". These were your words, So guessing that you ARE GOD!!!!! You are as delusional as the dirtbag you defend.

I am not afraid of you or your threats. There are pictures and records to prove what is stated. They would stand up in a court of law.
Go preach your twisted version of Christianity to someone else. Tired of entertaining you losers.
P.S. My lawyer wouldn't be paid for by asking the public for donations for my defense.

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30Werecat(75 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

First of all, you'd be milking the system for a public defender instead of actually hiring a lawyer. But thanks for reminding me, I also want Animal Charity to reimburse me the legal fees I had to pay. I paid my own legal fees, the "Kimm's Defense Fund" jars were a tongue in cheek thing and all money collected in them went towards caring for the 45+ cats that were out in foster care at the time of the raid.

Your "proof" is crap. They moved heaven and earth to justify that raid and bring charges and there was nothing.

You have a lot of nerve calling me "dirtbag" and "scumbag". I stayed and shouldered the responsibility for the cats that YOU abandoned. YOU walked away from these animals that you had supposedly rescued and left them to starve or die of thirst. You hijacked our website, shut off our phone and tried to extort money from me. Then you had the place raided and all of those cats killed. You are some piece of work. Psycho.

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