Court settlement allows horse in backyard for severely disabled Blue Ash girl

Ellie, 28 inches tall, had lawyers in Cincinnati’s federal court battling over Blue Ash’s “no farm animal” ordinance versus federal disability law. The horse can live in a disabled girl’s backyard under strict rules, including waste removal.

By LaTeigra Cahill, Esq.

BLUE ASH, Ohio— Not every horse can be a Seabiscuit.

But to a disabled, 16-year-old girl here, a miniature therapy horse named Ellie is a champion deserving of a garland of roses.

Recently, the two were united here after settlement of a lengthy federal court battle.

Now in the girl’s backyard, the medically prescribed Hippotherapy—therapy through the use of horses—can continue, instead of at a stable.

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Cincy dog survived Hurricane Katrina; massive flooding happening again, endangering animals

Rescuers Save Hundreds of Animals Following Louisiana Floods

KP and marley at the office

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.
Publisher, Queen City Pets®

As flooding again bombards Louisiana in biblical proportions, Marley the Labrador Retriever enjoys the love and safety of her adoptive family here in Cincinnati.

She escaped death in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.

Marley went from “doggy hell to doggy heaven,” said her owner Ken Paley of Cincinnati.

Now, more than a decade later, animals in Louisiana again are depending upon the kindness of strangers for their survival.

Read More…


Three-legged charmer attends university

daap_2Madeleine Bransford, left, a student at UC’s prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), with her professor Margaret Voelker-Ferrier and dog Pun’Kin ponder the intricacies of pattern making. Toting her pint-sized pet to class in her purse, Madeleine’s dog became the darling of the program.

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI — The irony of her rescued dog’s life sometimes saddens Madeleine Bransford, a recent graduate here.

For it was the ordeal of his leg amputation that won him his freedom from a miserable life in a puppy mill.

“He has such a good life now,” said Ms. Bransford, 23, whose four-pound, six-year-old pet became the darling of the Fashion Design Program at UC’s prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP).

Read More…


Photo provided by OAR

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — No matter if a cat is your pet, a stray, hangs out in a barn or is among those free spirits we call “feral,” the feline population here can get important medical services at no cost in 2016.

Read More…


ryder_finalAdding green beans to Ryder’s diet, as per his vet’s advice, has helped Ryder lose weight. He weighed 130 pounds when adopted and needs to shed 50 for his health.

MADEIRA, Ohio — With the help of a green bean diet, exercise and “lots of love,” in just one month, Ryder the seriously overweight English Labrador has lost 10 of the 50 pounds he must shed.

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Cincinnati identified as #1 best pet-loving city in the United States

Vadar-6734 Successful animal welfare events, such as the recent My Furry Valentine adoption extravaganza, help make Cincinnati the top city for pet lovers. Paige Moore, left, and Wesley Larson of Batavia adopted Vadar from Ohio Alleycat Resource at the event.
Photo provided by My Furry Valentine

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.

Virginia might be for lovers. But for pet lovers, Cincinnati is ranked #1 in the United States. For the second year in a row, thank you very much. Out of 100 of the nation’s largest cities. So go give your pets some sugar, Cincinnatians.  Read More…

Vet heavy lifts for needy pets
150 groups benefit

dr_zeke_zekoffVeterinarian Zeke Zekoff, founder and president of United Pet Fund, with his dog Hunter.

BLUE ASH, Ohio–At his veterinarian school, it is unlikely that “fork lift operation” was listed as an elective.

Dr. Zeke Zekoff could have used it.

As founder and president of United Pet Fund (UPF), the veterinarian often transitions from performing surgery, to moving semi truckloads of donations by forklift at the non-profit’s Costco-like warehouse here.

“United Pet Fund (UPF) supports an army, the lesser-known army of people who help animals in need,” explained Zekoff, a full-time veterinarian who started UPF 10 years ago.

UPF secures and organizes donations to distribute to the 150-plus “mom and pop” Tri-State groups that serve animals in need.

Dr. Zekoff explained animal rescue groups often suffer from “compassion fatigue,” overwhelmed by needs.

Read More…

From prison to pedagogy, puppy becomes Miami U. “student”


Winks learned to stay close to his puppy raiser, student Lauren DuVall, whose sister, Taylor DuVall, left, serves as a puppy sitter.

OXFORD, Ohio –Even with no dog treats in sight, Winks behaved beautifully while attending English class here at Miami University. The seven-month-old, Golden-Labrador Retriever lay patiently at the foot of her puppy raiser, Lauren DuVall, of Eaton, Ohio, a middle childhood education major involved in the “4 Paws University” program.

From the publisher…

“The times, they are a-changin’…”

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.

Your home is your castle, the saying goes.

And for most of us, it is our largest financial investment.

With so much at stake, the zoning ordinance of Blue Ash, Ohio, prohibiting farm animals at residences is common, municipal law.

Barnyard animals and their smells easily could threaten property values in a suburb such as Blue Ash.

But change forces new paradigms. This change involved testing the boundaries of reasonable accommodations for the disabled, despite Blue Ash’s zoning restrictions.

The change reflected medical recognition of “Hippotherapy”—therapy through the use of horses. Complicated, evolving federal law came in to play.

In the fierce federal court battle that just settled in Blue Ash (see lead story), one of the top doctors at the world-renown Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center recommended Hippotherapy for a severely disabled child, by means of a miniature therapy horse named Ellie, just 28 inches tall.

The settlement allows Ellie to remain in the girl’s backyard, with strict rules. Waste removal figures prominently. The consent decree allows U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black to remove Ellie for violations. Time will tell.

Artists, not so much miniature horses, often challenge the status quo.

This year, musician Bob Dylan won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in recognition of his poetic lyrics from the tumultuous 1960s.

Bob Dylan photo provided by Paparazzo Presents

A miniature horse and poetry, both nudging change.

As Dylan sang in The Times They Are A-Changin’:

“Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam

And admit that the waters around you have grown….”


Mission Statement: Queen City Pets® identifies heroes, challenges and resources in the Greater Cincinnati pet community.

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Pet Hero: cancer vet works miracles

Veterinary oncologist Cheryl Harris, QCP’s first Pet Hero, examines a cat at her Milford clinic.

Our dog Yogi hated the cold, elevated examination table at the cancer clinic.

So veterinary oncologist Cheryl Harris got down on the floor to give him his chemotherapy treatments.

And they worked.

Thanks to Dr. Harris, Yogi enjoyed the highest quality of life with little discomfort. He continued his long walks in the woods and premier snuggling at home, with excessive spoiling.

Throughout Greater Cincinnati, Dr. Harris is the highly regarded, go-to specialist for many dogs and cats suffering cancer.

“It’s never an animal’s fault that they’re ill,” said Dr. Harris, explaining how caring for animals differs from the challenges doctors often deal with in human medicine.  She said while in vet school she decided to specialize in oncology when her father developed lymphoma.

Many times her goal is to buy time, “not just getting the pet better, but giving people more time to adjust to the mortality of their pet.” Dr. Harris said.

In her modest storefront clinic with six staff members, bulletin boards on the walls are crowded with pet photos and thank you notes.  There’s an eclectic collection of books in the waiting room that pet owners can borrow, and others contribute, so as to while away the time while their pets battle cancer.

For her excellence and compassion, Queen City Pets designates Dr. Harris as its first Pet Hero.

Check out the video of Dr. Harris treating Yogi.

Profile on Pet Hero

  • Cheryl Harris, D.V.M, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Oncology.
  • Owner: Veterinary Oncology and Referral Clinic, 931 State Route 28, Suite 201; Milford, Ohio 45150.
  • Degrees: DVM, The Ohio State University Veterinary College of Medicine; Internship at University of Minnesota; Residency at University of Illinois.
  • Wild about Walnut Hills High School. A 1980 graduate, Dr. Harris said, “Walnut Hills is the reason I am who I am today.” She earned so many college credits in high school that she was accepted to vet school after two years of undergraduate studies. “I don’t have an undergraduate degree,” she said, smiling.
  • A sampling of her work day (about 14 hours): 35 appointments, only 25 scheduled; seven emergencies; then phone calls and about 1 ½ hours working on records at the end of the day, on the couch.
  • Personal: Age 53. Single. Grew up in North Avondale; Lives in Blue Ash with her three German Shorthair Pointers, a cat and three fish. The dogs go to the office with her.
  • Athletic: Dr. Harris ran long distance on Ohio State’s track team and continues to run with her dogs. She also mountain bikes and is one of only about 10 women of 140 ice hockey players on the Huns Hockey Team.
  • Avid reader: Dr. Harris likes mysteries and action/adventure writing. Currently, she is reading “The Escape” by David Baldacci.
  • Her wish: Cures for cancer, rather than just treatments.
  • Her worry: That the cures, which she believes will happen, will not be affordable, and so they will not survive in the marketplace.
  • If she were not a vet…. Dr. Harris said she would sell running shoes, where the worst thing that could happen would be coping with “stinky feet.”