Blogs > Pets Unleashed

Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cash-strapped LA going after unlicensed dogs

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Cash-strapped Los Angeles is going to the dogs — literally.

The City Council voted Tuesday to have two departments share information in order to track down people who haven't licensed their pets.

Council President Eric Garcetti estimates two-thirds of the city's dogs are unlicensed. Licenses cost $15 for a sterilized dog and $100 for an unaltered pet.

Getting all dogs licensed would mean at least an additional $3.6 million in fees to the city.

The Department of Animal Services has eight full-time people whose job is to find and license dogs.

The Department of Water and Power keeps a meter-reader database of homes with dogs. The council ordered the departments to coordinate to find the pooches.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Nikki Coben's Newsletter #5

Nikki Coben is "just an animal lover trying to help our fine furry friends in need," she says.

This new issue, her fifth, includes:

• Fifteen puppies born in the winter woods who need forever/foster homes (they are oh so chubby cute!), as well as other dogs and cats in desperate need
• Upcoming dog/cat/pig/chicken/etc. legislation
• A personal dog product warning
• Happy endings (dogs/cats you helped find homes for, simply by cross-posting)

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Outdoors: Opponents of dog auctions haven't gained much ground

Outdoor Reporter Jeffrey Frischkorn ran a story in today's paper about the dog auction ban in which the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance claims the ban hasn't received as much favor as others have claimed.

"The issue isn't even on our radar," the group's spokesman told him.

Read the story and comment on it here.

-- Sandra M.

Today is National Spay Day

I never knew hole punches could be so powerful.

But PetFix Northeast Ohio had a good idea when they dropped off a shoebox full of them at The News-Herald last week.

The watermelon-sized bag inside of the box was tied with a string and note: "Take these kittens. I can't afford to feed them."

Dwarfed by the size and contents of the bag, it also contained a small, gold-trimmed jewelry box containing a single hole punch and marked this way: "Treasured pet. Wanted and loved - as all cats and dogs should be."

Between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats end up abandoned in shelters, a paper inside explained. Less than half make it out alive. Millions of others live life as strays.

But the problem is even greater than these individual animals.

Female cats can breed as early as four months; dogs, as early as six months. And in just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, and one unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.

For every human born today in the U.S., 45 cats and 15 dogs will be born, too.

"The best way to keep animals out of shelters and off the streets is to stop pet overpopulation at its source," PetFix pleads.

Welcome to Tuesday, February 23: Spay Day, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Their annual campaign aims to inspire people to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats, which are mature enough for the surgery within 8 to 16 weeks of age.

Partnering in this, of course, is PetFix, a non-profit, low-cost mobile spay/neuter clinic serving qualified owners and feral cat caregivers in Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Portage and Summit counties.

The group that dropped off the shoebox of paper chips last week, hoping to plant a seed with its impact, has also altered more than 12,600 animals in the past four years.

If only you could pick up the box. Even tiny hole punches become heavy when so many are held together.

If their work touches you like it touched me, consider what you can do to keep the animals in your life - indoor, outdoor and stray - away from the destructive cycle PetFix works so hard and tirelessly to fight. And spread the word.

PetFix can be reached at 216-536-0930.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homeless pets to benefit from Mentor Rotary wine tasting

Like wine, beer and helping homeless animals and hungry humans?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 6 - the Mentor Rotary Club's Annual Wine Tasting, Silent Auction and Beer Tasting, with proceeds benefiting Lake Humane Society and Feed Lake County, a campaign of the county's United Way agency.

Tickets sold for $35 a piece will include tastings, appetizers and admission to the new Mentor Museum of Speed, where the event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m., at the corner of Tyler and Corporate Boulevard.

Tickets can be purchased at

More information to come...just a "heads up" for now...

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Friday, February 19, 2010

Caroline's Kids plans annual reverse raffle

Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary will have its annual reverse raffle March 20 to benefit the Concord Township facility.

The raffle will be from 6 p.m. to midnight at Villa Di Borally, 27227 Chardon Road in Richmond Heights.

Tickets are $50 a person and include a family-style dinner, music and dancing, and a chance at the $1,500 main prize. There will be $2 and $3 sideboards.

The event is BYOB (beer, wine, liquor). Soft drinks and coffee will be included in the ticket price.

All proceeds will provide daily care for the 250 cats in the no-kill, cage-free sanctuary for older and special needs cats.

For tickets and to reserve a favorite number between 1 and 200, call Judie at 440-449-3496.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County seeks help

One hundred sixty-two dogs, 18 cats, two horses and multiple fowl and chickens are looking for new homes after a 58-year-old woman's animal rescue for unwanted pets was shut down amidst close to 200 counts of animal cruelty this weekend.

Click here for NewsNet5's coverage or here for Fox 8's coverage.

Caring for the neglected animals since their rescue, The Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County awaits a judge for official custody. Foster families and kennels are already needed, though.

Can you help with either foster care, time or cash for food for these poor creatures?

"Volunteering time or willing to foster and/or adopt would be great," President Barbara Busko tells me. "E-mail with their name, address, phone number, best time to call and what days and times they are available to volunteer. Or they may call 330-394-3512. And we will need monetary donations.

"Really appreciate your willingness to help."

Located at 545 Brunstetter Road SW, Warren, 44481-9600, the Animal Welfare League is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The group can also be contacted at

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Labels: ,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Westminster show kicks off today, continues Tuesday

Breeds and varieties: 173.

Entries: 2,500.

Australian shepherds: 44.

Kuvaszok: 2.

Time again for the Westminster dog show, this year introducing three new types to its lineup: the Irish red and white setter, the Norwegian buhund and the Pyrenean shepherd.

If you're catching the telecast on the USA Network and CNBC, judges rate the hound, toy and nonsporting groups today and the sporting, working and terrier groups Tuesday. Judge Elliott Weiss will make his best in show pick shortly before 11 p.m.

Read more here.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Time for Mardi Paws

Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village will host a Mardi Paws benefit Feb. 20 at The Bertram Inn and Conference Center, 600 N. Aurora Road, Aurora.

Attendees may come dressed casual or costumed.

Guests will be able to stroll through the Les Chats Meow Casino, dance to the Mo’Mojo Band, partake in refreshments at the Krewe of Barkus Bar and dine on southern fare at Café du Mutt. Live and silent auctions include a weekend in New Orleans with JazzFest tickets for two, a stay in Breckenridge, Colo., and a pottery bowl designed by Cleveland Cavalier Shaquille O’Neal.

Cost of a ticket is $85 and includes dinner and casino money; patron ticket is $125. For more information, call 440-338-4819, ext. 19, or visit

Geauga Humane Society is a privately funded not-for-profit organization serving Geauga County and Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. Since 1974, GHS has turned sad beginnings into happy endings for sick, injured, abused and abandoned animals.

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saturday dog events at The Great Big Home & Garden Expo

Looks like Saturday is the night for dog lovers to visit The Great Big Home & Garden Expo, held through Sunday at the IX Center.

The main stage will be chock full of pooches!

6 p.m. - Four-Legged Fashion Show presented by WQAL-FM
This entertaining event will feature several familiar personalities and their pets. WQAL-FM jocks Allan Fee, Rebecca Wilde, Tim Richards, Jen Toohey and Rob Kruz will be on hand, strutting with their pooches. Stefani Schaefer from FOX 8, Travis Hafner from the Indians with his wife Amy, and Joe Thomas from the Browns with his wife Annie will participate with their furry friends, too.

7 p.m.
– Dog Training presented by Sit Means Sit

8 p.m. – Dancing with your Dogs presented by NE Ohio Positive Dog Trainers

Of course the show itself also offers oodles of pet product and service exhibitors, including:

o Camp Bow Wow
o Greyhound Adoption of Ohio
o Invisible Fencing
o Northeast Ohio Positive Dog Trainers
o Parrot Hope Rescue
o Pet Stop – Safe Pet Containment
o The Barkley Pet Hotel & Day Spa

The show is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

I was just there today, and I must say, you could spend hours and not see it all.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Feline Reiki at cat sanctuary

Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary in Concord Township will hold its monthly Feline Reiki session from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 21 at the sanctuary's Healing Cove, 7394 Morley Road.

It is by appointment only. Cost is a $20 donation to Caroline Kids for the 20-minute session.

Denise Harding, a Reiki practitioner for the sanctuary, is offering the sessions.

Reiki does not take the place of traditional medicine, but can help in conjunction with veterinary care.

Next month's session will be March 21.

For reservations or more information, call 440-449-3496.

-- Robin Palmer

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Petsmart wants to help you celebrate Valentine's Day

Petsmart cites the National Retail Federation when it says couples are spending less on each other this Valentine's Day but 50 percent more on their pets.

To catch that crowd, the retail chain has discounted all its Valentine's gifts starting today. Apparel will be 50 percent off, beds will be 25 percent off, and toys will be 25 to 33 percent off.

Click here to locate a store near you.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Photo of Top Paw® Sparkle Dog Coat with Fur Collar courtesy of

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bits and pieces from today's News-Herald

Cat sanctuary has adoptions

Caroline's Kids Cat Rescue has regular adoption hours from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays at the sanctuary, 7394 Morley Road, Concord Township.

Adoptions also are scheduled by appointment Monday through Friday. Kittens and cats range in age from 4 months to 10 years. All have been spayed or neutered, tested for feline leukemia and FLV and vaccinated.

For more information call Judie at 440-449-3496.

Malnourished horses start to recover

FREMONT, Ohio (AP) - Dozens of malnourished Arabian horses rescued from an Ohio farm are starting to recover but remain weak, according to volunteers caring for the animals.

The horses remain painfully thin and rely on blankets to keep warm, said Shayna Roberts, a 26-year-old animal technician who works 12-hour days at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds organizing the volunteers.

Until the horses' stomachs are stronger, they can eat only hay. The next dietary step will be mushed-up grain and will require each horse to be individually fed and monitored.

Then there's the medical care: hooves, joints, teeth, worm tablets, vaccinations.

"The cost is going to be phenomenal," said Rebekah Recker, one of the core volunteers. "Even with all the help and donations, there's gonna be specific needs that have to be paid for."

The Humane Society of Ottawa County said it received an anonymous tip about the horses and rescued 36 of them Jan. 29 from a farm near Oak Harbor, about 25 miles southeast of Toledo. Authorities say one horse was already dead by the time they got to the farm and six had to be euthanized.

Robin Vess, the owner of the horse farm, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 24. She faces 42 counts of cruelty to animals. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Mark Davis, her attorney, has said only some of the horses were underweight, and their malnourishment was a result of illness, not lack of food.

Vess had struggled to care for the horses because she was traumatized by the recent death of her mother and two aunts and did not have enough help on the farm, Davis said. Vess had reached out to the humane society for help with the horses on numerous occasions but did not receive assistance.

"This is not something the humane society simply discovered and then ran into the burning barn to save the horses," Davis said. "They knew and they did nothing. They're equally as responsible as my client and I can prove that in court."

Chris Marcinko, an attorney who prosecutes cruelty cases for the humane society, said laws govern when and how a humane officer may act.

"The humane officer is required to follow and comply with those laws and rules, even in situations in which the laws and rules may be unpopular with some individuals," he said.

Diana Murphy, a longtime Lucas County horse rescuer and cruelty investigator, said she believes the Ottawa County Humane Society acted too slowly.

"Those horses didn't get like that in a couple of days. It took at least three to six months," she said.

But Murphy also criticized Vess, saying the owner could have contacted rescue shelters and members of the horse community for help if she had been serious about seeking assistance.

"I guarantee she would have got help," Murphy said.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Friday, February 5, 2010

Consider homeopathic remedy for dog and cat joint pain

A healthier diet, better exercise or more supportive bed can help joint pain and stiffness in dogs and cats - old, young, big or small.

Beyond that, though, conventional medicine is too often the typical answer, according to HomeoPet LLC based in Westhampton Beach, New York. Potential side effects to those drugs include liver and kidney problems or gastrointestinal irritations.

"HomeoPet Joint Stress is a 100-percent natural, homeopathic remedy that ... has been sold in veterinary clinics for 15 years with no reported adverse events," the company claims.

Safe and non-toxic, the alternative treatment stimulates the body's natural systems to improve mobility and quality of life in both dogs and cats, it says, citing a 78 percent positive response on a survey of dog owners using the product.

Joint Stress may even lead to the reduction of doses of glucosamine and chondroitin - though it is also usable with conventional therapies, if needed, it claims.

Pets Unleashed is not an online billboard, but sometimes ads simply seem worth sharing.

Consult your vet and if you think this product might be helpful to your loved one.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

This weekend's signature collection opportunities

Waiting for a convenient opportunity to sign the petition for the dog auction ban ballot initiative?

How 'bout making one of these your "convenient opportunity" this weekend?

Saturday, Feb. 6
The 13th Annual "For the Love of Chocolate" Festival, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
American Red Cross of Medina County and J.M. Smucker Company
Medina High School's Performing Arts Center, 851 Weymouth Road, Medina
"Help support the American Red Cross of Medina County and Save Ohio Strays while enjoying decadent chocolate items from over 45 chocolatiers! Volunteers from Save Ohio Strays will be collecting signatures at their booth."

Smooches & Pooches Valentine's Dance, 6 to 11 p.m.
Admission is $10, dogs get in free
Parish Hall, 6205 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102
"Help support Friends of the City of the Cleveland Kennel and Secondhand Mutts and enjoy a night of dancing, music, games, fun, pooches ... and smooches!"
Sunday, Feb. 7
The Best Doggone Superbowl Party, 5:30 p.m. until the game ends
The Boneyard, 5900 Mayfield Road, Mayfield Heights
Admission is $50, call 440-247-8931 to reserve a spot
"Help support PetFix Northeast Ohio as the Saints take on the Colts this Sunday - the game won't be fixed but the animals will be! More TVs than you've ever seen in one place, Super Bowl buffet, cool contests and more."
-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Concord Abby has never missed a forecast yet"

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Tuesday, indicating six more weeks of winter.

Buckeye Chuck, on the other hand, didn't see his. An early spring? We needed a tie-breaker.

Enter Concord Abby, star of the Official Morley Road Groundhog Day Ceremony.

And the result - pretty kitty did not see her shadow, Master of Ceremonies John Niedzialek said.

"Abby has never missed a forecast yet," he said.

Then again Niedzialek, coordinator of the Western Reserve Resource Conservation & Development Council and past visitor of Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania, does exaggerate a bit.

"This is our first annual Groundhog's Day official event - hence Abbigale has never missed a forecast," he admits. "As you can see from her face in the picture, she was really excited about her new role as the official Lake County predictor of weather.

"Don’t be fooled by the expression on her face. Her 10 seconds outside on a chilly day accounted for most of her startled look. She went right back in the house and laid on the chair next to the heater getting ready for her next meal."

Well here's hoping Concord Abby's streak continues.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Dog lost at sea gets new name and owner

Good news: The dog rescued from the Baltic Sea last week (original article here) has a new name and a new master.

WARSAW (AP) — Baltic, the adventurous dog who floated at least 75 miles on an ice floe, has a new owner: The seaman who rescued him.

The decision was made after the dog rejected six people who had claimed to be his original owner, Wojciech Pelczarski of the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia said Thursday.

The would-be owners were probably trying to be part of the media attention surrounding the dog’s dramatic rescue, he added.

Pelczarski, whose institute co-owns the research ship “Baltica” that rescued the dog and nicknamed him, said Baltic is sociable, affectionate and was getting his first bath since his icy ordeal because his fur was still salty.

The dog’s new master is Adam Buczynski, who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last week.

Buczynski and other crew members spotted the dog Jan. 25 floating at least 15 miles (24 kilometers) from land. The rescue was difficult because the frightened, shivering dog kept falling into the water. Fearing he could drown, the crew lowered a pontoon to the water and Buczynski, the ship mechanic, managed to grab the dog and pull him to safety.

“He was very lucky,” Pelczarski said. “If the vessel had passed him at night, no one would have spotted him.”

Baltic was first seen two days earlier on the Vistula River, 60 miles (100 kilometers) inland, drifting on ice past the city of Grudziadz. Local firefighters said they tried but failed to save him then.

It remains unclear where or when the dog’s odyssey started.
-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Raffle benefits cats

Mark your calendars for March 20.

That's the day Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary will hold its annual reverse raffle to benefit the Concord Township sanctuary.

The raffle will be from 6 p.m. to midnight March 20 at Villa Di Borally, 27227 Chardon Road in Richmond Heights.

Tickets are $50 a person and include a family-style dinner, music and dancing, and a chance at the $1,500 main prize.

The event is BYOB (beer, wine, liquor). Soft drinks and coffee will be included in the ticket price.

There will be $2 and $3 sideboards.

All proceeds will provide daily care for the 250 cats in the no-kill, cage-free sanctuary for older and special-needs cats.

For tickets and to reserve your favorite number between 1 to 200, call Judie at 440-449-3496.

-- Robin Palmer

Legacy left by dog artist Stephen Huneck, gone at 61

Internationally known artist, woodcarver and furniture maker of dogs Stephen Huneck may have died last month, but his artwork lives on.

Check it out at and his obituary here.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

"Dogs Can Heal a Broken Heart" courtesy of

Lab wins again - but could 2010 be the Year of the Shepherd?

A lot changed in 2009. The United States got its first black president. Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina on the Supreme Court. The H1N1 craze came and went. And the King of Pop left the building.

The Lab, however, endured.

For the 19th consecutive year, the Labrador Retriever remained the nation's most registered breed, with Ohio echoing that popularity.

However, could the Lab's time on top be limited?

For the first time in more than three decades, the German Shepherd knocked the Yorkshire Terrier out of the No. 2 spot.

Last year's list otherwise stayed the same as 2008's:

1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Yorkshire Terrier
4. Golden Retriever
5. Beagle

The Shepherd also made a real push in Cleveland. And who knew the Bulldog was gaining steam?

1. Labrador Retriever
2. German Shepherd
(Held by the Golden Retriever in '08)
3. Boxer
4. Bulldog
(Held by the German Shepherd in '08)
5. Golden Retriever/Yorkshire Terrier tie
(Held by the Yorkshire Terrier in '08)

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Looking for a home: Nelson

When it rains, it pours - and right now it's raining dogs at South Euclid Humane Society.

With no available foster homes, Nelson is an emergency case.

Found wandering the streets, this skinny sweetheart was glad to be rescued but wasn't used to the good life. At first he cowered when rescuers reached to pet him, but now he's learning to trust, and gently and gratefully leans against them for long snuggles.

Nelson is about 2 years old, a shepherd who has all his shots and will be neutered soon. He loves to play with other dogs and is great with cats. Though he still needs help with house training and leashes, he learns very quickly.

Affectionate and desperately wanting to be loved, Nelson has an uncertain future without a foster or forever home.

South Euclid Humane Society requires an adoption fee and home visit to adopt. Contact Laura at 216-297-0360 or if can help find Nelson the home he deserves.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Note: Dance to include ballot campaign signature collection

For those on the line about whether to attend the Smooches & Pooches Valentine's Dance this Saturday, here's a tidbit that could help you decide.

Not only will the event, a fundraiser for the Friends of the Cleveland Kennel and Secondhand Mutts, include dancing, music, games, food and lots of dogs for only $10 a ticket - and dogs get in free - but people will also be there to collect your signature in support of the ballot initiative to end dog auctions in Ohio.

Click here for more about the dance itself.

Click here to learn more about the ballot campaign.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Book profiles furry angel of death: Oscar the cat

Click here to learn more about a new book about a cat who's become quite famous for his unusual sixth sense...

-- Sandra M. Klepach,