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Portage group’s fundraiser to help needful animals

By Kathy Antoniotti
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Gee Gee (left) and Monk, mixed breeds, are available to be adopted, only as a pair, at the Portage Animal Protective League. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal)

Portage County’s Animal Protective League was in the forefront of international and local news earlier this month when it took in a boxer/mastiff mix that had been so starved it had resorted to eating mulch and rocks.

Veterinarians named the dog Eeyore, after the perpetually sad donkey in the Winnie-the-Pooh books, due to the sorry state they found him in. When the county dog warden picked the dog up, he weighed 47 pounds and was so weak he couldn’t stand on his own, said APL Executive Director Chalan Lowry. The average weight for dogs of his type is about 90 pounds.

Although he is “still not out of the woods, yet,” she said, Eeyore is showing positive signs and is eating enough to put weight on.

As soon as the dog’s story was posted on Facebook, people came forward to help, Lowry said.

“Word traveled fast and furious,” she said.

Eeyore even got help from a man in London who wrote a check to help with his treatment.

But while Eeyore’s plight is certainly hideous, his is only one of the stories in the drama of the Portage APL’s rescue mission, said Lowry.

Two separate hoarding incidents in six months brought more than 80 cats to the no-time-limit shelter in Ravenna.

One bright spot in Portage County animal rescue is that getting caught by a warden is no longer an automatic death sentence for breeds that might look like a pit bull since Ohio removed the classification from its vicious animal law, Lowry said.

“We were able to change our bylaws once the law changed in June so now we can treat them like any other animal,” she said.

Lowry, who took over as executive director seven months ago, worked for seven years for the Humane Society of Greater Akron. The APL’s mission, like that of the HSGA, is to rescue homeless, abandoned, injured and abused animals.

Lowry noted the number of animals the Portage APL helps is not as high as in Summit County because the demographics are different for the two counties.

“There aren’t as many large cities,” where higher numbers of animals are condensed in smaller spaces, she said.

The Portage APL takes in as many as 800 to 1,000 animals a year, and is able to provide a home for 25 dogs and 80 cats at any given time. The agency, which shows adoptable cats at PetSmart on Market Place Drive in Aurora as well as at the APL facility, adopts out about 60 animals a month.

Every animal that leaves the shelter is spayed or neutered and fully vetted. Potential adopters fill out an application that must be approved. Adoption fees are $150 for dogs and $50 for cats. The fees do not cover the costs the APL incurs to rehabilitate the animals, but the hope is to recoup a portion of it so the agency can continue to save lives.

Dogs get adopted quickly unlike cats, Lowry said, adding that there are several felines who have been in the shelter for six months or longer. The longest a cat has been in residence is a year and a half, she said.

Volunteers walk the dogs each day, and their cages have runs with dog doors that allow them to go outside at any time. Cats are rotated into a play room at least once a week to get them out of their cages, too, she said.

Paws to Taste, the shelter’s largest fundraiser of the year to benefit the animals, will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Fairways at Twin Lakes,1590 Overlook Road, Kent. Tickets are $40.

“It will be the perfect winter evening,” Lowry predicts.

The evening festivities include three tickets for wine, five for beer and heavy hors d’oeuvres. A large selection of bottled wines from across the country will be available for purchase as holiday gifts and a silent auction will be held for items such as chocolate and Italian baskets.

Call Portage APL to reserve tickets at 330-296-4022 or visit the shelter’s website at www.portageapl.org/node/843 for more details on the event. Sponsorships are available.

Other animals in the news:

• Holiday Paws Pantry — Pet food collection and distribution program for families in need. Unopened wet and dry dog and cat food can be donated at many North Canton businesses through Dec. 17. List of donation sites is available at www.facebook.com/HolidayPawsPantry. Sponsored by the Ad Lab and North Canton Chamber of Commerce.

• Rescue Animal Mp3 Project Holiday Open House — 1-4 p.m. Dec. 2 at Holistic Pet Therapy Center, 7211 Wales Ave. NW, Jackson Township. Fundraiser featuring healing energy sessions and relaxation and energy balancing for people and pets. Includes training sessions with CleverPup101, hand-crafted dog biscuit tasting and holiday gifts. Online shopping available at www.RescueAnimalMp3.org/shopping and www.shop.holisticvetpractice.com. Proceeds will go to help donate calming music to animal shelters. Call 330-266-2500 for reservations and information.

• Santa Paws — Photos with Santa and bake sale from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at One of a Kind Pets, 1929 W. Market St., Akron. Kids, fur-kids, family and friends are welcome to have photos taken with Santa. Information at www.oneofakindpets.com.

• Cats Having Alterations Professionally Inc. (C.H.A.P. Inc.) — Low-cost mobile spay/neuter program for cats and kittens will be held Dec. 8 at 180 E. South St., Akron. Kittens need to be 12 weeks old, weigh at least 3 pounds and be in good health. Cost is $40 per male cat and $60 per female. Low-cost vaccines, flea/tapeworm/ear mite treatments, nail trimming and ear-tipping for feral cats will be available. Registration is required at 330-724-6181 for appointment.

Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or email kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.