Saturday, January 25, 2003

Need a friend?


Plenty of animals available near where you live

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The nondescript building stands in rural southwestern Butler County, between Shandon and Okeana. Seeing the outside, visitors don't realize that the building's purpose is so important.

It is known colloquially as the Okeana Shelter, but officially as the Animal Adoption Foundation. Since 1977, the AAF has placed 3,000 homeless animals as pets, and operated in this small building with a big purpose - to save the world's unwanted.

These days, the nonprofit, no-kill shelter, at 2795 Chapel Road, is cramped and out of date, but that will change soon. It recently received a $1 million donation from Oxford philanthropist Anne Ruder Bever to help pay for a new shelter in Ross Township.

The shelter, which now holds 65 animals, will be expanded at the new 6-acre site on U.S. 27 between Ross and Millville. The new place will provide a better atmosphere for adoption and a more suitable home for the animals.

I was struck by the lack of space but a remarkable amount of attention that the animals receive from volunteers. The shelter is looking for volunteers - and donations. Mrs. Bever's money won't cover everything.

Volunteers walk the dogs, play with the cats, groom the animals and love them one-on-one. A sponsorship program provides financial support for older dogs and cats, and a foster program provides a temporary home for animals awaiting adoption.

Visiting hours are 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Fees ($80 for dogs and puppies; $55 for cats and kittens) help cover the cost of spaying and neutering, vaccinations, food and water, etc.

The Animal Adoption Foundation may be reached by phone at 738-0020 or by e-mail at aafpets@netzero.com. The Web site, www.aaf.petfinder.org, features photographs of animals that need a home. Note: Stinger is a beauty.

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After 11 years of "persistence and hard work," a new animal shelter is to be built in Clermont County, said Stewart Smith, a veterinarian and president of the Clermont County Humane Society.

Construction of the $825,000 shelter is expected to be completed by summer. Of that amount, the county will pay $550,000 and the society $250,000. The rest will come from the state and donations.

The group still needs money.

"To operate the Adoption Center at the shelter, the After-Hours Emergency Run Program and to subsidize other miscellaneous programs, $84,000 must be raised annually," Dr. Smith said. "Were it not for the incredibly generous gift of $30,000 given to us by Diana Greer, we would have had to dip deeply into our reserves."

Glennie Caswell also donated $20,000 to help the shelter equip and furnish the puppy room and lobby.

Information: 732-8854. E-mail: sveld@animalshelter.com.

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An 11,150-square-foot expansion and renovation is under way at the Warren County Humane Association at Cook Road and Ohio 48. The work should be completed by spring.

It will include an expanded education meeting room for seminars and classroom training, a large kitten area, three more cat areas, more puppy kennels and three additional quarantine areas.

The association is seeking volunteers and donations to help pay for the $2.8 million capital campaign, called "Give Them a Chance."

Write to the WCHA at P.O. Box 313, Lebanon, OH 45036. Telephone: 695-1176. E-mail: info@homelesspets.org.

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The Cincinnati SPCA's Mobile Adoption Unit will set up at Kroger, 4100 Hunt Road, Blue Ash, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 1.

If you can't make it, don't worry. The Adoption Center, 790 Compton Road, is open seven days, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dogs cost $75 (license included); cats, $60.

The senior adoption program allows people 60 and older to adopt animals at no charge. Training is offered from 10-11 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts provided.

Adoption information: 931-0105 (dogs); 931-3812 (cats).

Dedicated to Sissy, a lively 15-year-old former barnyard cat who is seriously ill but still giving all the love she can muster.

Randy McNutt's community column appears on Saturday. Contact him at The Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Dr., West Chester, OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail: Rmcnutt@enquirer.com.




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