MINIATURE THERAPY HORSE ROCKS ZONING LAW

MINIATURE THERAPY HORSE ROCKS ZONING LAW IN UPSCALE CINCY SUBURB

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

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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 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.

At issue in the lawsuit was the city’s zoning ordinance prohibiting farm animals in this upscale suburb of Cincinnati, population 12,000. The plaintiffs contended that rule collided with federal disability and fair housing laws.

“People hear ‘horse’ and they get very frightened,” explained the girl’s attorney, Kathleen Farro Ryan of the Cincinnati law firm of Manley Burke. “But when you look at how small these animals actually are, it’s just amazing.”

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Lisa Moad, far right, is owner and founder of Seven Oaks Farm Miniature Horses in Hamilton, Ohio. The non-profit’s horses and handlers visit nursing homes, serve at hospices, work with local police and fire departments, assist with a variety of programs in schools and help reduce stress in colleges. This year the miniature horses have been invited to the Tournament of Roses Parade, Jan. 2, 2017. To follow the miniature horses’ journey across America: #ittybittyhorses.

The blue-eyed, mini-horse measures 28 inches tall, smaller than a St. Bernard dog.

The girl’s mother, Ingrid Anderson, filed the lawsuit in 2014 in Cincinnati’s U.S. District Court.

The girl, known as “C.A.” in court papers because she is a minor, suffers from cognitive and motor delays; seizures; autism spectrum (ASD); chronic lung disease; scoliosis; feeding problems; chronic allergies with ear/sinus complications; autonomic instability; and behavior, visual and hearing deficits, according to court documents.

Here are highlights of the consent decree (LINK):

  • Ellie can stay at the Anderson property full time, in the home’s backyard. The horse is confined to that area.
  • Blue Ash officials may inspect the area where the horse resides at any time, without probable cause, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.


About the author…
LaTeigra C. Cahill, Esq.,

With a name like LaTeigra (which means “the tiger,”) LaTeigra always has had love and respect for animals. LaTeigra worked as one of Barbara Morgenstern’s interns at the First Amendment Project in Oakland, Calif., a non-profit that defends the rights of journalists.

LaTeigra worked as a public interest attorney for several years where she represented low-income persons in a variety of civil and domestic disputes in both New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Her experiences with animal law have included cases over cattle rustling, estate planning for livestock and disputes over grazing permits for sheep in the Navajo Nation.

She currently lives in New Mexico with her boyfriend and their two dogs, Cussie and Jasper, who were both once “rez dogs,” the term used for stray dogs on Indian Reservations. Cussie loves to chase prairie dogs and lizards. Jasper prefers to chase tennis balls and her tail.

  • The girl’s mother, Anderson, must employ a waste pickup service to pick up waste three days per week and she must pick up waste an additional two days per week.
  • Waste must be placed in a sealed container.
  • Ms. Anderson is limited to owning no more than the animals she has at the site now – six dogs, two rabbits and the horse.
  • Judge Timothy S. Black will maintain continuing jurisdiction over the case and will order removal of the horse after an evidentiary hearing, if the court determines Ms. Anderson is not in compliance.

Complicated and evolving federal law characterized this case.

Ellie’s presence is specifically a “reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA,)” explained Ms. Ryan. “I would not say she is there for “C.A.’s therapy” per se, as the use of therapy in this context is fairly imprecise.  I would instead describe her as serving the purpose of an emotional support and therapy animal under the FHAA.”

Dr. Ronald S. Levin, Professor Emeritus and now Retired Director of the Complex Care Program at the Center for Infants and Children with Special Needs at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, recommended Hippotherapy for C.A. in 2010.

“We have no complete cure for her Autism, Seizures, Behavior, or Developmental conditions and medications for them are limited and can have serious side effects,” Dr. Levin wrote in his expert report.

“Thus, we take a Holistic approach and look for other therapies and supports in the Community that may supplement her care. This includes the use of service and therapy animals (Animal Assisted Therapy – AAT) which dates back at least two thousand years and whose benefits have been well-documented in the Literature.”

“Hippotherapy is beneficial for (C.A.) because it incorporates many avenues of traditional therapy including physical, occupational, speech and language,” according to Dr. Levin.

With the prescribed therapy involving a horse, the city’s zoning laws generally prohibiting farm animals collided with the plaintiff’s view of federal law.

The litigation has been contentious.  After a series of disputes with the city—including complaints of smells–Blue Ash officials cited Ingrid Anderson, C.A.’s mother, for violating the “no farm animal” zoning ordinance by having Ellie on her property. The family also owns six dogs and two rabbits, according to court documents.

In federal court, the city argued location.  “This lot is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood…Boiled down, this case is about one thing: Plaintiffs want to house a miniature horse in the backyard of a two-tenths of an acre lot they rent.”

The city maintains its zoning laws are reasonable, noting that the city permits “suburban farms” in Blue Ash on lots of at least five acres.

Blue Ash also said C.A.’s Hippotherapy might be more effective if it took place in a larger space, and Dr. Levin agreed the therapy could be conducted at a local stable.

Attorney Gary E. Becker of Cincinnati-based law firm of Dinsmore represented Blue Ash in the court case.  Mr. Becker declined to comment on the settlement because of the “continuing jurisdiction” of Judge Black.

C.A.’s attorney Ms. Ryan is a former urban planner who has worked on a variety of zoning-specific cases.

An Ohio advocate for the disabled said the case brings into  focus the concepts of “equal” versus “special” in disability law.

“This young girl should have the same opportunities to enjoy her home as any other child who doesn’t have a disability” said Kevin Truitt, an attorney at Disability Rights Ohio.

“Any other child without a disability is able to enjoy their backyard, to play in their backyard, to get exercise and recreation where as (C.A.) needs a miniature horse to do those things,” said Mr. Truitt.

“It equalizes the playing field, giving her opportunities to have that same enjoyment of her home as any other kid would have.  The purpose behind federal laws like the ADA and the FHAA is not to ensure that people with disabilities are treated “special” but to ensure that they are treated equally.”

There is poignancy in that both Ellie the miniature horse and C.A. share developmental problems.

Undesirable as a show horse because her two back knees are rotated, doctors nevertheless consider Ellie an ideal animal for C.A.

The case ricocheted through the federal court system. C.A. initially lost before Judge Black, but appealed to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court one notch below the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appellate court returned the case to Judge Black, noting that the court had not fully explored the facts and certain federal law banning discrimination might apply.

Time will tell whether miniature horses will become more mainstream.

In C.A.’s case, Ellie was prescribed as a therapy animal.  However, attorney Ryan said lawmakers in 2011 amended the ADA to also include miniature horses as service animals.

“The only animals you can use under the ADA as service animals are dogs and miniature horses,” Ms. Ryan explained.

This revision could be dramatic because persons who need service animals under the ADA—as opposed to needing a support animal for emotional needs, for example—are less restricted, “she said.

“Service animals can be used indoors, ” Ms. Ryan explained.  “You can bring them on planes, you can use them in classrooms, you can bring them to work, you can do everything that you can do with a dog [if the] miniature horse is a service animal.”

The idea of seeing a horse in a public place might seem surprising, Ms. Ryan said.  But the day might come when it is common place, depending on how courts interpret the ADA revision, she said.

Photos provided;  http://sevenoaksfarm.virb.com


Cincy dog survived Hurricane Katrina

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

Rescuers Save Hundreds of Animals Following Louisiana Floods

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Cincinnatian Ken Paley and his dog Marley, a survivor of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

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

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

Photo provided by OAR

A nightmare revisited from Hurricane Katrina, animals are rescued once again in massive Louisiana flooding. Click for full story.

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.

On August 12, Denham Springs Animal Shelter in New Orleans made a bold move to save its animals, according to the Huffington Post.

The shelter was engulfed in rising floodwaters. Staff and volunteers fought to save as many animals as possible but eventually unlatched the kennel’s doors so that the dogs could swim out and climb onto the facility’s roof to safety, according to the shelter’s GoFundMe page.

The Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association has asked for donations to go to LSART, the state’s animal disaster response and rescue organization. Contributions can be made through the association’s website.

Marley survived Hurricane Katrina’s epic destruction, then battled for her health once rescued. Twice she endured brutal heart worm therapy–“shots in the back and six weeks in a cage,”Mr. Paley said.

Life is a charm now for Marley, estimated to be 12-13 years old. Mr. Paley, 65, vice president of Marketing for Episcopal Retirement Services, takes Marley to work every day and the 52-pound female also visits a nursing home as a service dog.

“She was in very rough shape, afraid of everything,” Mr. Paley remembered. “She would cower if you raised your hand or your voice.” The dog was so traumatized, she would not bark for a full year, he said.

Marley’s journey from Louisiana to Cincinnati was circuitous.

The queen will see you nowBrimming with health now, Marley is an estimated age 13.

It began when Mr. Paley volunteered with 16 others from his church, Horizon Community Church in Newtown, to clear debris from home sites at a community outside of New Orleans, making room for FEMA trailers.

Shocked by the destruction, with chain saws, a Bobcat compact excavator and other equipment, the volunteers cleared things like cars from people’s living rooms and a boat from a porch. The victims were so grateful, sometimes they cried, he remembered.

When Mr. Paley returned to Cincinnati, there was more crying—his wife Pam was moved to tears when she saw a TV news story reporting that two planeloads of dogs and cats had been rescued from the Katrina disaster and had been airlifted to Cincinnati.

Lining up at the SPCA in Sharonville after background checks, potential adopters or foster care volunteers could only say “yes” or “no” when offered a dog, he explained. There was no shopping. Marley became family at that moment.

The Paley’s children, Jeff and Lauren, now in their 20s, named their new pet from Louisiana after the reggae singer Bob Marley, he said.

Marley ready to greet office guests
Gentle Marley gives back by serving as a service dog at a nursing home.

DAAP DOGGIE DIGS DESIGN

DAAP DOGGIE DIGS DESIGN

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, publisher

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) here.

She said Pun’Kin , so named because he was adopted on Halloween. likely was used as a breeding dog until his leg became infected by an imbedded blanket string and his neglectful owner brought him to a veterinary. Ms. Bransford said the veterinarian also suspected that the dog’s bark had been silenced by a pipe jammed down his throat.

Pun’Kin was weak and there was doubt whether he would survive, so the breeders did not want to pay for the amputation and decided to put him down. “Someone that worked at the vets luckily took him in, “she said, eventually leading to his recovery and adoption.

Toting her pint-sized pet to class in her purse, Pun’Kin hung out with adoring DAAP students in fashion design classrooms filled with yards of chiffon, tailoring woolens, hand and machine-made knits, and skeins of cashmere and Alpaca.

“Everyone wants to see him,” she said. “It’s kind of like therapeutic.”

Although Pun’Kin’s tininess is part of his charm, she warns against becoming mesmerized by size when selecting a dog. “Basically, because he’s so small, everyone loves him,” she explained. Pun’Kin is short of 12 inches long, she said.

However, there are down sides. “Being bred so small has health issues, but puppy mills don’t care,” she said.

Ms. Bransford is among the university’s elite DAAP students whose course work includes mandatory cooperative education components where students work full time in the fashion industry on alternating semesters. She found her talent in accessories and surface design and has worked in coop jobs in Kenai, Alaska; Los Angeles; Columbus; and New York City.

Despite the glamour and pull of her career, Ms. Bransford’s aspirations also are influenced by the little dog who captured her heart. “I want to be happy and take care of me and my dog.”

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Fashion Design Associate Professor Injoo Kim snuggling with Pun’Kin.


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DAAP Fashion Design Professor Emerita Margaret Voelker-Ferrier bonding with Pun’Kin.

Free fixing available for all Hamilton county cats

FREE FIXING, RABIES VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR ALL HAMILTON COUNTY CATS IN 2016

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Photos provided by OAR

By Barbara L. Morgenstern, Esq.
Publisher

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.

For a cat to be spayed or neutered and to receive the rabies vaccine, all free, sponsors advise:little-girl-with-kitten

    • Whoever brings in a cat must have a valid Hamilton County address.
    • Book an appointment by calling 513-871-0185.

The year-long, Hamilton County, Ohio, program is an effort to decrease cat euthanasia at the county’s animal shelter because of overpopulation.

The surgery and vaccine can be provided at two clinics, the Ohio Alleycat Resource (OAR) in Madisonville or the United Coalition for Animals (UCAN) in Camp Washington.

The Joanie Bernard Foundation, a trust that funds groups that work to help save cats in the Greater Cincinnati area, is funding the one-year program, in a joint venture with the SPCA Cincinnati and OAR.

The program is an effort “to decrease the intake and euthanasia rate at the SPCA,” according to OAR.

“OAR and the SPCA have been working, since 2013, to increase the number of cats finding ‘live outcomes’ (adoption, release) at the the SPCA.

This has included a project to fix and release feral cats brought to the SPCA, and to have more “no-ill” rescues pull cats from the SPCA for their own group to adopt out.

We hope, with this effort, to remove any hurdles families might face to fixing their cats, in an effort to control the cat population and end shelter euthanasia of healthy cats in our country.”

Obese rescue dog on his way to svelteness

Obese rescue dog on his way to svelteness
Move over, Oprah!

ryder

Adding green beans to his food, as per his vet’s recommendation, has helped Ryder lose weight.

By Barbara L. Morgenstern
Publisher

MADERIA, 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.

And he has his own Instagram account where admirers can follow his progress: @ryderbear.

His rescuers, Ashley and Scott, adopted the three-year-old, 130-pound dog from the Cincinnati Lab Rescue in late January. Every two weeks, Ryder gets weighed, Ashley said.

Excess weight can reduce pet life expectancy and negatively impact quality of life, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP).

“Numerous studies have linked obesity with type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, many forms of cancer and decreased life expectancy,” according to the APOP.

Ashley said Ryder’s new vet, Dr. Julie Storm of Madeira Veterinary Hospital, has been “fantastic” in helping Ryder achieve his weight loss by adding low calorie green beans to his diet.

Scott said their new dog also has thrived with regular exercise and playing with other dogs and through “lots of love.”

Ryder seriously is charming other dog walkers at Rheinstrom Park, Indian Hill, with his big smile, playfulness and sweet demeanor.

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Ryder in all his glory.



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Ashley, left, and Scott with slimmed-down Ryder at a park.

Canine Cuisine features pumpkin treats

Oh, the antioxidants!

In her continuing column, Certified Chef Diana Klein creates “Fido Fare” and “Family Fare” from many of the same ingredients, this time using canned pumpkin.

Chef Diana aims to save time and provide readers with healthful recipes for our dogs as well as for our families.

It is our experience that if you take a pocketful of these dog treats on your walks, you will make lots of canine friends.  And if you get super hungry, go ahead and share one with your dog (this has happened!)  All the ingredients are healthful.

Chef Diana at home with her dog Phoenix.

Chef Diana at home with her dog Phoenix.

Family Fare
Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 can, 14.5 oz., organic pumpkin

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl.

Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

Gradually beat wet ingredients into flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle glaze over cookies.

For glaze:

Combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Blend  until smooth.

Fido Fare
Pumpkin dog treats

1 can, 14.5 oz., organic pumpkin or puree

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar free applesauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast*

1 cup peanut butter

Mix all ingredients well in a mixing bowl. Add more flour as needed to make sure batter is not sticky (this is key.)

Separate the dough into thirds and roll out one onto floured surface.

Cut the dough using a round biscuit cutter or a knife, if you want to make squares.

Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, bake in a 225-degree oven for at least 40 minutes.  The longer you bake, the harder the treats become.

Note:  if the treats are allowed to bake longer and become hard, they store better in a plastic bag or in containers.

*Nutritional yeast is a natural flea repellent when ingested, but should not replace your flea/tick medication.

“Breathe deeply,” pet a cat

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A delightful “Cats & Mats” yoga class took place recently at the Sharonville SPCA with cats joining participants for deep stretches. For a donation of $10, participants enjoyed yoga, light refreshments and “fantastic SPCA Cincinnati felines to interact with after the yoga class comes to an end,” according to organizers. “Cats are great yogis and they love to practice their moves alongside others.” Pictured on stage, from left, are Jane Minges of West Chester; yoga instructor Marta Streit of Florence, Ky.; and Jake Fisher and Taylor Bolser, both of Hamilton.

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Vet does heavy lifting for needy pets

Vet does heavy lifting for needy pets

UPF3United Pet Fund’s Dr. Zekoff, on truck, with a helper, moving donations. UPF secures and organizes donations to distribute to the 150-plus “mom and pop” Tri-State groups that serve animals in need.

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.

UPF’s volunteers support these groups by providing donated products, so volunteers can focus on caring for animals, he explained.

For needy animals, he described UPF as “a combo” of Matthew 25: Ministries, the international humanitarian and disaster relief organization headquartered in Cincinnati; United Way and the USO, which provides support for military members and their families.


A sampling of donations received from corporations, manufacturers and individuals includes five semi truckloads of Bounty Towels from Procter & Gamble.

A national pet food organization, Rescue Bank, has delivered semi-truckloads of pet food from Iams and Alpo, and Blue Buffalo often contributes large food donations.

Also, as part of UPF’s community-sharing philosophy, Matthew 25: Ministries donated 1200 domed litter boxes from Kao that can be transformed into feral cat shelters or housing for smaller animals, such as ferrets.

Aside from supplies, UPF supports continuing education for volunteers and rescue group personnel. UPF also provides handyman services; pet health day events in under-served areas, such as Over-the-Rhine; and emergency funds.

Further information is at www.unitedpetfund.org.


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PROFILE:

Dr. Zeke Zekoff, 58, known as “Dr. Z.”

Title: Founder & President, United Pet Fund (UPF), Blue Ash.

He also has owned and operated Towne Square Animal Clinic, Blue Ash, for 30 years.

Education: DVM from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama. He also earned his BS in Animal & Dairy Sciences there.

Routine: Up at 3:45 a.m., Dr. Zekoff arrives at his clinic at 5 a.m. to do two hours of UPF paperwork. He then performs spays/neuters from 7-9 a.m., sees patients all day, and leaves the clinic at 5:30 p.m. for the UPF offices and warehouse. There he meets with groups and distributes supplies, among other things.

Family: Wife Barbara and Dr. Zekoff hail from the South. More than 30 years ago they considered Cincinnati to be a temporary stop after vet school. The couple have three children. Alex, 29, is working on his MBA from University of California at Berkeley and looks to return to Deloitte as a consultant; Austin, 26, graduated from Miami University and works at Ernst & Young in New York City as an advisory assistant; and Ashley, 22, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in marketing and operates her own fitness training business.

Pet: The “pawed” love of his life,” a 5-year-old Cavapoo dog named Hunter, often is with him daily.

Hobbies: Weather permitting, he plays golf on Thursdays, “my day off.” Often on those Thursdays and weekends he travels with volunteers to pick up donations from as far away as Wisconsin.

Bottom line: “Pets are my ministry.”

My Furry Valentine

Pet adoption event breaks attendance records, finds homes for hundreds of animals

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Paige Moore, left, and Wesley Larson of Batavia, Ohio, adopted Vadar from Ohio Alleycat Resource (OAR).

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CINCINNATI  – A record-breaking 13,500 people attended the 2016 My Furry Valentine pet adoption event here recently. About 630 pets found homes over two days, according organizers.

And there’s more good news. Hundreds of adoption applications still are pending and pet lovers adopted more than 50 animals before the event began, because of pre-event promotions, according to spokesperson Elysa Hamlin.

In its fifth year, the event held this year at the Sharonville Convention Center represents the Tri-State’s largest annual animal adoption event.

Despite snowy weather conditions, the event saw a 35% increase in attendance.

The event has found homes for more than 2,600 pets over the past five years.  My Furry Valentine brings together animal rescues and shelters from throughout the region to showcase adoptable pets to potential owners at one location on the Valentine’s Day weekend.

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Isaac, left, and Wes of Harrison adopted Jamaica from Homeless Animal Rescue (HART).

The event also aims to encourage community members who are looking for a pet any time throughout the year to think adoption first.

“Many people would be surprised to learn just how many great family pets they see in their neighborhoods that are actually rescue animals, including purebreds,” said Carolyn Evans, founder of My Furry Valentine.

“Our goal is to dispel common myths about shelter animals and educate people about the many resources where they can adopt,” Ms. Evans explained.

“Saving an animal by choosing adoption is easy,” she said. “There are so many great local animal shelters and rescue groups that are open and hosting adoption events every weekend. There are always thousands of wonderful animals looking for a great homes.

Volunteers
Mariemont High School students Emma Worple, left, Riley Hayes and Amanda Lewis volunteered at the event.

My Furry Valentine Adoption Photo 2016
Mya, left, and McKenna Roeske of Wyoming, Ohio, adopted their puppy, Jenny, from Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP).

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Shellie Webb of Chesapeake, Ohio, adopted Dory from Louie’s Legacy.

“Vadar” photo caption left to right: Paige Moore and Wesley Larson, residents of Batavia, OH adopted their new kitten, Vadar, from OAR at the fifth annual My Furry Valentine adoption event.
Audrey, left, and Sloane Green of Dayton adopted Cosmo from Barely Used Pets.

All Photos provided by My Furry Valentine.

CINCY RANKS #1 PET-LOVING CITY IN THE U.S.

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.

The 2015 ranking is based “across 16 key metrics” by Wallet Hub, a financial website which describes itself as a “one-stop destination” to help consumers and small business owners make better money decisions.  In 2014, Cincinnati also came in first.

In WalletHub’s “2015’s Best & Worst Cities for Pet Lovers,”  Wallet Hub,  the website explained: “With current and aspiring pet parents in mind, Wallet Hub compared the creature-friendliness of the 100 largest U.S. cities across 16 key metrics.

About 79.7 million Americans own a pet, whose care costs between $235 to nearly $2,000 annually, according to the report.

“Our data set ranges from the minimum pet-care provider rate per visit to the number of pet businesses per capita,” according to the article.

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My Furry Valentine, Cincinnati’s largest pet adoption event, is just one of the many volunteer activities that support animal welfare. At the event it was love at first sight for John Thomas of Batavia, left, who adopted 96-pound Samantha, 5, an American Bulldog. At right, Amanda Cantrell, director of the Humane Society of Adams County, had fostered Samantha for two months. The event featured rescue exhibits from various breeds, such as the pictured Buckeye Bulldog Rescue.

Cincinnati ranked #2 in the most-veterinarians-per-capita category.

Other metrics include average home square footage; number of animal shelters; pet-friendly trails; outdoor environment and amusement; and the number of pet businesses and caretakers.

WalletHub, launched in 2012, offers other lists, such as The Best and Worst Cities for Families; the Safest States to Live In; the Best and Worst Cities to Retire; and the Most and Least Educated Cities.”

In the top 10 of the best pet-loving cities for 2015, behind the illustrious Queen City, came St. Louis; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Tampa, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; Tulsa, Okla.; Las Vegas; Reno, Nev.; Boise City, Idaho; and Madison, Wis.

Ranking 91-98 as the worst cities for pet lovers are Philadelphia; Jacksonville, Fla.; Boston; Chicago; Jersey City, N.J.; Memphis, Tenn.; Detroit; and Santa Ana, Calif.