New Castle News

Closer Look

October 25, 2013

Help is available for abused animals

NEW CASTLE — Caring for abused animals can be an expensive hobby.

Veterinary bills add up quickly and the animals need special attention and food.

Fortunately, a local organization is here to help misfortunate animals and the good Samaritans who help them.

The Lawrence County Animal Relief Fund (LC-ARF), founded in August 2008, supports those who care for animals and the critters themselves.

In the past year, vice president Marilyn Cook said, the organization has donated $2,000 to $3,000 for animal care.

“Most of that money this year went to the woman who took 22 mixed-breed dogs,” Cook said.

The good Samaritan, who Cook said has asked not to be identified, lives in the country and has room for a lot of animals.

“I understand that all but about five of the dogs have been placed in adoptive homes,” Cook said.

“These dogs, 2 years old and younger, had no people skills at all,” Cook said. “Many of them had never been outside.”

After the dogs were removed, Cook said Dr. Joseph Raught, a retired veterinarian of New Wilmington who works with the organization, looked over the animals and provided care to those who needed it.

“But just feeding that many animals is a challenge,” Cook said.

The organization has been fortunate this year, she said. Two abused cats, which required extensive medical care, saw their vet bills paid by donations from the community.

Oscar, an orange and white kitten found in the Morris Street area, was tortured by someone who had placed a rubber band around his midsection. When Rebecca Smith,  who lives on that street, found the kitten, infection had set in.

When word about the kitten got out, generous members of the community contributed toward Oscar’s medical bills, Cook said, and ARF’s help was not needed.

“She kept him. He’s now the king of the house,” Cook said.

In August, another cat was found hanged and burned in Union Township, she said.

That animal, named Hope, survived and was treated at the North Memorial Animal Hospital in New Wilmington. Community members also contributed to her vet bills.

“Both cats are recovering,” Cook said.

ARF was founded by city resident John Altman, who serves as its president. He and Lawrence County Treasurer Richard Rapone organized the group when residents identified the need to hire a full-time humane officer.

Cook said the group obtained non-profit, tax exempt status so it could  raise money.

After humane officer Jerry McCarthy was hired by Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, Cook said, the organization donated toward his training and supplies.

McCarthy was killed in a traffic accident in May.

ARF has since helped to pay for training and uniforms for Stacey Wiley, his successor in the job.

The organization works with Animal Friends of Pittsburgh which holds monthly clinics to spay and neuter cats at a cost of $35 per cat. The cats are also vaccinated against rabies. Many of them come from feral cat colonies or low-income households and would not have otherwise have been spayed or neutered.

Forms to register cats for the clinic may be downloaded from the site

Cook said the Trap Neuter Return program humanely reduces the nuisance factor caused by such colonies.

Donations to the organization may be sent to: LC-ARF,

P.O. Box 8514, New Castle, Pa. 16107.

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