Inside the Pet Overpopulation Epidemic

Inside the Pet Overpopulation Epidemic

Pet overpopulation is a major issue that the rescue community has faced for decades. The truth is, there are just too many companion animals out there for the number of available homes. Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and of those, only about half (3.2 million) get adopted (ASPCA).

Many of these animals sit in shelters for years upon years, and others are euthanized. The unfortunate truth is that so many shelters take in animals until they’re completely filled to capacity and rescues exhaust their resources trying to save as many as they’re able to. But still, 1.5 million shelter animals end up euthanized every year. And, that’s only considering the companion animals that are in our shelters. There are still so many stray animals living on the streets.

 Why does pet overpopulation happen?

1. Failure to Spay/Neuter
One of the main reasons companion animal population numbers are so high is that many do not get spayed/neutered. This applies to both animals living in loving homes and strays living on the streets. Companion animals that live in a human home and are not spayed/neutered can easily wind up with a litter – all it takes is for them to be outside and come across another unsterilized animal.

Similarly, strays without access to the proper veterinary care often reproduce and end up with a litter that has no real place to call home. These new litters then need to find loving homes, or they can wind up at a shelter and the cycle perpetuates.

Some communities offer Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) programs for strays cats. These services allow residents to bring in community cats, have them spayed/neutered for a low cost and then release them back out into the community. You can find a directory of TNR programs on the HSUS website.

2. Buying vs. Adopting Animals from Shelters
Adopting your next companion animal from a shelter or rescue group can help alleviate the issue, and actually save two lives – the animal you adopt, and the animal that is able to take its place at the rescue/shelter. With all of those animals in shelters waiting for loving homes, it’s hard to think that anyone would opt to buy their pets from other sources, but unfortunately many people still don’t adopt.

3. Lost & Surrendered Animals
Additionally, already overcrowded and overwhelmed shelters wind up taking in pets that have gotten lost, or have been willingly surrendered. Pets that become lost and don’t have the proper identification (such as a collar and tags, or a microchip) run the risk of never making it back to their owners.

When thinking about the numbers, pet overpopulation can seem like a very overwhelming issue. But, Rescue Me Ohio wants to help, starting in Ohio. That’s why we’re running our #Give99 campaign. We’re asking our followers to donate just 99 cents each, with the goal of hosting low cost spay/neuter clinics for Ohio residents.

Learn more about #Give99, and help us end pet overpopulation in Ohio, by visiting and donating today.



GAVIN Tuscarawas County Humane Society D

Tuscarawas County Humane Society
Dover, Ohio ~LK~
For more information on this adoptable pet, please contact the shelter directly.

Gavin is around 6 months old and was brought in as a stray. He gets along well with other kitties and would make a great family kitty.

All adoptable cats are neutered or spayed, current on vaccines, receive a Feline Leukemia, FIV, heartworm test, worming and are started on flea, tick and heartworm prevention.
Tuscarawas County Humane Society
Shelter address:
1432 Tall Timber Rd NE
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
(330) 343-6060
Adoption Hours:
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun – 1- 4pm
Tue – 1-7pm
Thursday – Closed
The vision of the Tuscarawas County Humane Society is to create a community where all animals receive appropriate care, love and attention at all times; are treated with dignity and respect; provided necessary veterinary care; and protected from all forms of cruelty, abuse and neglect.

6th Annual Thanks For Giving Fundraiser Collects Over 2,000 cans of pet food for Adopt Ohio

Thanks to everyone who came out and donated to the 6th annual Thanks For Giving fundraiser at Pet Valu Clintonville and Pet Valu Short North! The fundraiser collected 2,220 cans of pet food for Adopt Ohio.


During the month of November, Rescue Me Ohio collected donations at both Pet Valu locations. Each $5 donation helped feed a cat or dog for one week. The money collected was used to purchase cans of cat and dog food, which was donated to Adopt Ohio.

How I Met My Pet~ Vol. 3

This is Ace (short for AC Slater), and he’s my foster fail.

As a volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio, I regularly see posts about animals that are up for adoption or need a foster home. One day I saw a post about a cat found in the Cleveland area that needed a foster home – he wasn’t in great condition and not yet ready to be put up for adoption. So, I volunteered to take him in.

I had to wait a couple of days for him to be fully evaluated by the vet at the Cleveland APL, and on the day that I was supposed to pick him up they let me know that he was having more issues. There was something wrong with his skin – he had wounds all over his neck and front – and so they had to shave off the fur in the area to treat the wounds. When I went to pick him up, he looked terrible – he was about 6 pounds, had scabs and wounds all over his front and was scared to death. My heart broke immediately.

As soon as we got home and brought him to his room, he ran and hid under the bed. I tried setting out food and water for him, but he refused to come out. The next morning, when I went in to give him more food,  I found him sitting on top of the bed ready to meet me. He came right up to be and wanted some pets. I couldn’t believe how loving this poor guy was! From then on we became fast friends. I spent time in his room every day with him (I had to split my time between him and my other fur baby, who couldn’t be around him just yet) and he would cuddle up to me the moment I sat down.

It took him a long time to heal due to the extent of his injuries, and so I had been fostering him for about 3 months when the APL finally cleared him to be put up for adoption. He had put on a healthy amount of weight and his wounds had healed, but his fur hadn’t completely grown back yet. I thought about him all day the next day – thinking about the number of cats that were available for adoption and worrying that he wouldn’t be chosen because he still looked a little scraggly and could be scared at times.

So, I went to go see how he was doing at the APL. I walked around the cat room and looked in all of the crates but I couldn’t find him. Finally, I went to ask someone where he was. They assured me that he was in the room, and walked back with me to his crate. When we got there, it looked like there wasn’t a cat in there at all. But, when the woman picked up the bed that was in the crate, there he was. Curled up into a little ball and shaking with fear. In that moment I knew there was no way I would leave without him.

I brought him home (to no one’s surprise) and officially made him part of our little family. His sister Bean wasn’t so crazy about her new sibling at first, but she eventually grew to love him. Today they are best friends and even though he tends to be a little trouble-maker at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Christine Friscic

Cleveland, Ohio

To learn more about fostering and how it makes such a big difference visit



How I Met My Pet~ Vol. 2

Want to know what puppy mill survivor looks like?
Her name is Shae Marie.
I grew up with dachshunds and felt like it was time to have another. From the time I moved to Columbus in 1992, I had shelties. Miss Heidi passed away in the year 2001 at the ripe old age of 16 and I had Kira who was just a pup. She was very sad being alone, and it was clear she needed a companion. One of my friends at the dog park told me that she had gotten her dog off of, a rescue. Well, of course I was curious. In checking it out for myself, I found this little 9 week old chocolate ball of fur and fell in love. Kira and I went to meet her. Kira, being the wonderful dog she is, took her in and showed her the ropes.
When I rescued her, she had every parasite known to dogs. In the mid 90’s, before people knew the truth behind puppy mills, a husband and wife team tried to help, the only way they knew how, by raising money and buying dogs from auctions. They wanted the dogs to have a normal life, safe from over breeding and abuse. Their efforts inadvertently had a negative effect because by buying the dogs they supported the mills. Once they realized this of course, they ceased that angle.
Once in my home and clear of all those nasty parasites, Shae Marie flourished! Fast forward to July 10th 2017, when she recently celebrated her 10th Birthday. People always think she is the shy one, but she actually rules the roost!
Karen Fairhust
Columbus, Ohio
To learn more about Puppy Mills and how you can help make change visit

How I Met My Pet

Just like us humans, animals can come with a variety of special needs. These needs however , should not deter or discourage one from adoptiong or caring for these animals. They are so worthy of love and will repay you with more companionship than you could ever ask for. Here is one such story of how Grizzly the cat came to be such a special part of Sandra’s life;

I had been keeping my garage door partially open so that the stray cats I feed could get out of the cold and eat. One evening a big black tomcat that I had never seen showed up. His breathing was so congested that I thought he was dying and rushed him to the emergency vet. It was there, waiting to be seen, that I noticed how sweet and loving he was. His nose was running and one eye was half closed, he was sneezing and wheezing, and he looked pathetic but he could not stop purring.  He had a respiratory infection and needed antibiotics twice a day. I ran a humidifier around the clock in his room hoping to help him breathe easier. My plan was to get him healthy, get him fixed and release him. I would continue to provide shelter in my garage; food and whatever else he needed but I already had a full house. (I really did have a full house with 4 crazy cat chasing dogs and 3 cats).

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When I took Grizzly to get neutered, I found out he is FIV+. I was told that I should not release him and if that was my intention, I should have him humanely euthanized instead. This cat had his shredded ears, bald patches, scars all over, a broken toe that healed in a weird position, lots of missing teeth, and now FIV+, but hit the jackpot for the first time in his life. Grizzly officially became my cat that day. I wanted him to know love and kindness and to make up for all the bad things that he had endured in his life.

I am trying to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as I can. He has his own room with a window and a cat tree, toys, treats and soft beds. He even has a stray cat girlfriend that I had planned to TNR to spend his life with. They really are cute together.

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I don’t know how old Grizzly is or how long he has been FIV+ but I do know that he will not be failed by another human. He is going to live the rest of his days being loved and spoiled. And when the time comes that he is having more bad days than good days and we decide that it is time for him to cross the rainbow bridge, I will hold him and tell him that I was the luckiest girl in the world when he picked me to share his life with.

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(You can tell from the pictures, all he wants is love!)

By: Sandra Cathey

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

To learn more about FIV, check out this link provided by WebMD.

Rescue Me Ohio Brings Community Together to Help Local Man Save His Beloved Dog

Rescue Me Ohio Brings Community Together to Help Local Man Save His Beloved Dog

After hearing about a Columbus-area man’s concern for his dog, who had a massive growth on his underbelly, Rescue Me Ohio raised over $600 to help him get the care he needed to save his dog. Read their story, below.

By Laurie Deerwester – Volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio

Overheard conversations.  Concern for another person.  Concern for an animal.  Caring about your neighbor and the goodness that we often don’t see in people.

I found out about Max third hand. After overhearing his story in a retail establishment, a concerned women shared it with her daughter, who brought me into the loop.  

The woman overheard Steve, the dog’s owner and a Columbus-area resident, talking about how concerned he was for his dog. Max is a 5-year-old, 138-pound Bull Mastiff who had a massive growth on his underbelly. As Steve spoke about Max, the woman could hear in his voice that we was not able to do for his dog what he wished he could (and provide the medical attention he needed). The woman who overheard Steve’s story later shared it with her daughter. The daughter called me once she was able to go to the store and verify the story with Steve.

I have been a volunteer for Rescue Me Ohio (RMO), a statewide education and advocacy organization, for almost four years. One of the most rewarding things about volunteering for Rescue Me Ohio is getting the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of companion animals and their humans.  When I heard Steve’s story, I thought RMO might be able to help him get Max the medical attention he needed and deserved. I didn’t know what I was getting us into!

I shared Max’s story, along with pictures, with our group and proposed a fundraiser to help Steve cover the costs of treatment. Shortly after, Steve updated me that the mass had begun to ooze – he was very concerned about the dog’s health and well-being while he was away at work. I told him that I was trying to figure out a solution.

After a short trip to the pet store, I headed over to Steve’s with the biggest cone they had to accommodate a dog of Max’s size. I took some pictures of Max and the mass dangling from under his ribcage, which was threatening to rupture. I left telling Steve that I would get back to him as soon as I knew more about whether Rescue Me Ohio would be able to assist.

Max with mass

Most in our group were shocked when I sent an update and pictures of the dog’s current condition. RMO’s Board of Directors agreed immediately that we needed to do something to help, and decided to host an online fundraiser to try to cover the expenses of getting Max’s mass removed. Rescue Me Ohio shared Max’s story and fundraising information  on our Facebook page and within our networks. Rescue Me Ohio raised about $625, and covered the remaining cost of Max’s surgery.


Getting the medical attention Max needed
I contacted Dr. Michelle Gonzales (Dr. G) of Rascal Animal Hospital and Rascal Unit to get her opinion of Max’s growth, and whether she would be willing to do the surgery. It turns out that the mass was not a lipoma – a benign tumor composed of fat – which is what Steve had been told previously. Instead, the mass was necrotic (meaning the tissue was dying) and needed to be removed as soon as possible.

Dr. G provided me with an estimate on the cost of the surgery, and agreed to perform it.

I immediately shared the good news with Steve and made arrangements to meet him to transfer Max.  On Sunday June 13th  I brought Max into Rascal Animal Hospital in Dublin; they had him in surgery that evening with Dr. Seiple, a veterinarian at the hospital.  The vet shared a very positive update that evening: Dr. Seiple removed the mass (which weighed 4.5lbs!). They medicated Max and put in a chest tube for drainage; the biopsy of the mass would be sent out for testing, which would take 5 to 7 business days.

The area affected by the surgery was quite extensive. Rascal Animal Hospital had to remove a lot of Max’s skin around the mass, because if it was cancer they would need to remove as much tissue as possible.

The recovery process
Max had some difficulty with the sutures – they didn’t want to heal. Being such a big dog – who is often taking people for walks (instead of vice versa) – it was challenging to keep him calm enough to allow the wound to heal.

Rascal Animal Hospital updated me on Max every day for 13 days. I passed the updates along to Steve so that he knew what was happening at every step of the way. On Saturday June 24th I was told that Max was ready to be released. However, he still had an open area on his chest that remained from removing the chest tube and that needed to be monitored for infection or tearing.

Eager to beat the crowd and get Max back to his dad as quickly as possible, I returned to the hospital early on Sunday morning. Rascal Animal Hospital provided medication and wound care instructions and we were ready to go. Max came bounding out of the back room – he had enough of being caged up and wanted to get home! He was very excited and strong, dragging me across the parking lot to my car. We hopped in and headed home so that he could be reunited with Steve.

Once at Steve’s, I reviewed all of the instructions from the hospital and the importance of keeping Max calm. I left them to get reacquainted, and told Steve to call me or the hospital if there were any problems.

Today, Max is doing well. He was diagnosed with cancer, but it is slow-growing and he is expected to live a long life.

Rescue Me Ohio would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated to Max’s cause!

Max post-surgery
Max was excited to get back home to his dad!