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Lariccias honored for aid to Animal Charity

Published: Mon, March 26, 2012 @ 12:05 a.m.


T. Lariccia


M. Lariccia

By Sean Barron



The prospect of a humane agency’s closing and less help for animals in need made Mary Lariccia unable to sleep one cold midwinter night.

A few days and $50,000 later, however, she was able to sleep a lot more soundly.

“I thought of the neglected animals, and the next day, Tony made calls and said, ‘We want to give $50,000 right now,’” Mary said during a news conference Sunday at Animal Charity Humane Society, 4140 Market St., to thank Tony and Mary Lariccia for their support.

A January 2011 Vindicator article made Mary Lariccia aware that a lack of funding threatened to shutter Animal Charity, so a short time later, the entrepreneurial couple donated the $50,000 gift that allowed the agency to remain open.

On Jan. 12, the Lariccias donated another $50,000 to Animal Charity, which is Mahoning County’s only humane agency.

Also on hand at the gathering was a plaque honoring the Lariccia family for their contributions to Animal Charity.

Animal Charity’s low-cost clinic programs help fight animal cruelty, educate the public regarding responsible pet ownership and keep the feral animal population under control via spaying and neutering.

Mary Lariccia said that the recent spate of high-profile animal-abuse cases also influenced her to decision to make the donation last January, adding that she also accepted the award on behalf of Mahoning Valley residents who work toward helping neglected, abandoned and abused animals.

“I don’t think I’d be more proud if I won an Academy Award,” she said.

Also grateful for the infusion of funds was Gary Pilcher, Animal Charity’s board president, who said the agency had been “hemorrhaging” financially.

“In mid-January 2011, we faced a pretty grim situation,” Pilcher said, adding that the two $50,000 gifts also will allow Animal Charity to expand partnerships with fellow animal-care agencies and other entities.

Much of the money will be used to improve veterinary care, make certain upgrades and expand to provide more space for the animals, noted Talia Musolino, general manager.

Specifically, Animal Charity will be able to buy better X-ray and hematology machines, which will provide improved bloodwork and X-rays that can, for example, more accurately pinpoint broken bones and other ailments while showing what needs treated, she explained.

The agency has 16 part- and full-time employees, including two humane agents, along with a variable number of volunteers, Musolino continued.

Animal Charity remains committed to fighting animal abuse and neglect as well as getting the pets into loving homes with responsible owners, she noted, adding that roughly 250 cats and dogs were adopted last year.

“Every day we see neglect, abuse and abandonment,” Musolino said. “Every day we fight that battle.”


1YtownSports(306 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Animal Charity suffered for years through a loss of mission focus and poor public relations and fund raising under a "CEO" who was ultimately fired. The Lariccia's should be saluted for giving new life to a much-needed organization.

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2bsdtwd(41 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You can't buy class and the Lariccia's are a testament to a couple who not only have class but big hearts. They've sprinkled their wealth throughout the area and always seem to save the day for various causes whether it's for people or animals. Hooray for people like them. I think a reward for uncovering the local dog fighting rings would be a good idea too. Those dogs found in the abandoned home,which they turned into a fight to death the dog killing place, need to be rescued and the scum participating, prosecuted to the fullest extent.

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

Animal Charity might have "suffered" under their former CEO, but there is another organization in this valley that they caused to suffer worse. Cat Ladies Society is no more, but the women who put their hearts and souls into caring for their cats still have no answers. 84 cats were taken from their shelter and, as far as they know, vanished into thin air.
Cat Ladies Society was never charged with anything, yet their shelter was robbed, their records were destroyed and the cats they loved are gone. The only explanation they were ever given for the whereabouts of their cats was "Some were adopted out and the rest were euthanized." This tells them nothing. Where is Samaya, the shelter pet who hung out in the laundry room? Where is Savannah, the 14 year old grumpy calico? Where is Liddy, who loved and mothered every kitten in the place? Where is beloved little Mickie, the office pet?
Just as importantly - why, once it was clear that charges were not going to be filed, were these animals not returned to their rightful owners? What gave Animal Charity the right to sell these animals and pocket the money? What gave Animal Charity the right to steal expensive over-the-counter medications that belonged to Cat Ladies Society and not return them?
I have nothing but good things to say about Mr. and Mrs. LaRiccia. And they're right, Mahoning County certainly needs a humane society. However, that humane society needs a supervising agency, one that will stop their well known pattern of abusing their authority and trampling on people's civil rights.

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