Pets Alive Seeks Justice for Abused Horses

This is a story about how the legal system failed. This isn’t fiction. This isn’t something that happened somewhere you have never heard of, in some place far away. This happened here, in our back yard. This happened at Pets Alive.  It’s not about someone who made a mistake, or about people who didn’t know better. It’s about willful maliciousness. It’s about someone who was knowingly cruel. It’s about someone who starved animals intentionally. Someone who let horses be crippled and rabbits freeze to death and chicken live with missing limbs. It’s about how the laws that were supposed to protect these animals failed, and about why. It’s about corruption and it’s about money. It is also about how whom you know influences what crimes you are capable of getting away with.  This story is about our community.

         In early December, Heather Hallack and Gene Hecht from the Hudson Valley SPCA contacted Pets Alive. They were seeking placement for seven horses          about to be seized from Johanna Kloer in Blooming Grove. We knew about Johanna. Pets Alive Farm Manager Cindy O’Brien had been to her property before, in 2014 when she was contacted by a good Samaritan who was attempting to help out some of the animals under Johanna’s care. This good Samaritan had multiple concerns about the treatment of the animals on the grounds and was seeking help specifically for a pig whose hooves were so overgrown that she could no longer stand. Cindy spoke to Johanna about surrendering the pig to our sanctuary, and when Johanna told Cindy that there was no better place for the pig then under her care and kicked Cindy off of the property, there wasn’t much we could do. We did what we could. The pig disappeared. We can only assume what happened to her. Nothing happened to Johanna. This pattern has repeated itself for many years. People file complaints. Write letters. Make phone calls. Get frustrated. Collect evidence. Take photos. Time and time again it was been proven that the conditions on Johanna’s property were and are horrendous. And nothing would happen to Johanna Kloer. She has gotten away with it over and over again…


002And then finally Cindy got the call out of the blue in December that someone was finally paying attention to all of the allegations that had been brought against Johanna for years, and she was being brought up on cruelty charges. Her animals would be seized. They would be safe. Could we help with placement? Of course we could.  Plans were made for six horses to arrive within days. Cindy and Andrew, our amazing part time barn worker, threw themselves into their work to get ready for the horses to arrive.  Everyone on the team pitched in. Blankets were bought, hay and feed ordered, vet appointments made. Stalls and barns made ready. Fences reinforced. Meetings held, plans made. Optimism. Faith that a new life would be had for these animals. Pride that we could be a part of it.


When the horses arrived, our hearts broke. One horse, only ten years  old, could barely walk. Another had teeth so rotten he could not eat. Hipbones were visible. Their coats were dull and matted. Their spirits were broken and their eyes were dark. These horses had not known joy in a long, long time. Cindy and Andrew, with help from the rest of the PA team set about making the horses well. And they got better. They gained weight – over 100 pounds each. They pranced around in the pastures. They knew gentleness and love. They received immediate and constant medical care.  They knew a life without pain for the first time in a long time. They were safe.025

While the horses were busy recovering, the trial began to take shape.  Assistant District Attorney Theresa Cayton was assigned to the case, and that should have been our first indication that Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler wasn’t taking this trial seriously.  Hoovler, who touted “Zero Tolerance to animal cruelty in Orange County” as part of his campaign platform, assigned Theresa Cayton to the case. Cayton had never handled an animal cruelty case and immediately began making mistakes that would cumulate in the horses being returned to Miss Kloer.


One of the first things that happened was that all but 8 of the counts of cruelty Miss Kloer had been charged with were dropped, with the DA’s office pursuing only the counts against the horses. This was despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty to the rabbits and chickens on the property. This evidence included rabbits living in hutches with no shelter of blockage from the wind. These hutches were filled inches deep with urine and feces, and that was covered with snow. Several of the rabbits were found still alive, frozen to the wire bottoms. Chickens were discovered to have resorted to cannibalism, having been starved for so long that they were eating each other alive. None of this information was presented in court.

006         Our farm manager Cindy was called to testify at the trial and tried her best to assist the ADA, who knew next to nothing about horses. One of the key witnesses in the case was our farrier, who saw the horses on the day of their arrival. He likely would not have been called to testify at all had Cindy not suggested him.

Despite the evidence that was NOT presented in court, Judge Stephen Smith still found the evidence brought against Kloer serious enough to convict her of FOUR counts of cruelty and neglect. Even though this isn’t nearly sufficient, since Miss Kloer is clearly a monster who cares nothing for animals, it was better than nothing and it should have, at the very least, been enough to prevent her from reclaiming the very animals she had neglected, tortured and starved, especially since all of the facilities holding the animals (including ours) had offered to provide safe permanent homes.

Except it wasn’t.

In an unprecedented decision, Judge Stephen Smith decided to return the animals to Miss Kloer with “special circumstances.”

Yes. You heard me right. Judge Smith gave the animals BACK to the woman who starved, neglected and abused them. He imposed four unbelievably lenient and ridiculously useless “special circumstances” on Miss Kloer. These “circumstances” are that Miss Kloer is subject to just four unannounced visits from humane law officers, and that she must record medical care the horses receive for a period of one year. That’s it. Four visits by Humane Law over 365 days.


So it was that on March 8, David Hoovler’s offices called and let us know that by law, we must allow Miss Kloer onto our property without incident to reclaim her horses. We had no choice.  Judge Smith ordered they be returned immediately EVEN THOUGH MISS KLOER WAS NOT YET SENTENCED.

Our staff stood helplessly by while this monster entered our barn and loaded her horses into a trailer. Solingen was still recovering from lice, which we told Miss Kloer when she arrived.  She shoved her into the trailer alongside the other 4 horses and pony – likely giving ALL of them lice. A trailer that was meant for 5 horses. She pulled off the blankets we had purchased for the horses and threw them aside with no regard to the freezing temperatures, despite the fact that we offered them to her. Apparently her horses don’t need to be warm. She was cruel in even the simplest of tasks.

We were outraged. We were heartbroken. We were ANGRY.  Our options are limited as a holding facility in this case. Since we are not the organization bringing the lawsuit forward, we cannot file an appeal. We cannot ask for a mistrial. What we CAN do is let our community know that this happened. Orange County Humane Law is doing a good job of pursuing justice on their own. We can’t discuss all that is happening, but please know that on their end, they are doing everything they can to make this right. So are we.

Judge Stephen Smith is an elected official. So is District Attorney David Hoovler. Please help us tell them both that this is NOT JUSTICE.  Tell them that we, citizens of Orange County, want Johanna Kloer in jail. We want the horses returned to us. We want JUSTICE.

Let them know that we want officials who TRULY believe in zero tolerance to animal cruelty in our county.

We’ve set up a few simple ways that you can help bring justice to these horses.

Send a FREE photo postcard with a photo you and your pet on the front to Judge Smith using this simple app from Postcard.

Take a photo of you and your pet, and write a message explaining why you want Johanna Kloer put in jail for animal abuse. We will then use your photo and message to create physical postcards, delivered directly to Judge Smith at the Blooming Grove Town Hall. Your postcard will help Judge Smith to realize the gravity of this situation, and will help return these horses to safer care and conditions. Click HERE to send a postcard.


Sign our online petition to Judge Stephen Smith and let him know that you want Johanna Kloer to go to jail, and never be allowed to have animals again.

And finally, join us at Johanna Kloer’s sentencing hearing on May 7 at the Blooming Grove Courthouse. As soon as we have more information on that, we will post it on our Facebook page. You can like us HERE.

Filed in Call to Action, Legislation, No-kill by Audrey Lodato on Mar 31, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

From a Legacy of Survival to a Legacy of Love

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Each of the dogs that come through our doors has a story of their own to tell. Quite often we are sure their stories would make us very sad to hear. We don’t need to hear them though, we can see from their body language what some have been through. We can see it when they arrive underweight, with signs of neglect and with fear in their eyes. Once in our care, they learn that they are safe, loved and they are able to begin to heal.

As we help better the lives of the new dogs that come to stay with us, we also focus on a group of dogs we refer to as the Legacy Dogs at Pets Alive Westchester. These are the dogs who spent most, if not all of their lives at the shelter, many of whom are now senior dogs.

And you can help us help them by fostering a Legacy Dog and/or sponsoring one with a monthly donation. Read on to find out more about these dogs and how you can support them.

The Legacy Begins

Five years ago, Pets Alive Westchester took over the shelter that had been in existence for many years. The building was built at the current location in 1995 with the capacity to hold under 200 dogs. When we took over this shelter in 2010, there were 600 dogs living there.

vanillaThey were completely overrun with animals. The majority of these dogs at the time were deemed aggressive and had lived in the shelter almost their entire lives. Some were even born there. They were subjected to living a life that was devastating to their mental health and emotional well-being. Vanilla was one of those dogs. She arrived at the shelter completely emaciated at a year old when her owner was incarcerated and she spent the next 8 years of her life waiting for someone to bring her home.

Over time she had endured much and her trust in people was so damaged that she felt the need to be protective of the people she loved. The volunteers and staff were the only “family” she’d ever had. She has always loved certain people she trusted and those are the ones that helped to give her the best quality of life. The only way she could be adopted into a home was if her adopter fully understood how protective she could be. That person would need to get to know her first before bringing her home. Her chances of leaving the shelter were not looking good for her — but we never give up hope.

Like all of the Legacy Dogs, we have been Vanilla’s family. The staff and volunteers are the ones that spend time and give love to each of these dogs. Like Vanilla, some of the other Legacy Dogs have that protective spirit as well and will need time, dedication and love from a prospective adopter.

One thing we never lose at Pets Alive Westchester is HOPE. We have bared witness to some wonderful moments watching our pets find loving homes after waiting many years for that magical moment. We had one of those moments a few weeks ago when the stars aligned just right for Vanilla and she got a home!

vanilla2Joe, who is now her new dad, has been a volunteer at Pets Alive Westchester for the past couple of years. He immediately fell in love with Vanilla and the feeling was mutual. For 2 years, Joe would come just to see her, spend time with her and to give her as much love as he could. His heart ached each time he said good bye.

Eventually he brought her home on some overnights to see how it would go. After 2 years of loving this girl, Joe was able to give her the home she deserved! Vanilla had a pretty rough start but this is a new beginning to a new life for her. A dream came true for Vanilla, but it also came true for all of us at PAW on the day she went home – a day we had all hoped would happen for this wonderful girl.

There are still 35 Legacy Dogs remaining out of those original 600 that we started off with 5 years ago. For some of them we fear that we may be the only family they will ever know. We want them to have a real family in a real home.

You may be wondering how you can help them. Here’s how:

  • Share this story and others. The more you share the greater their chances are at finding a home.
  • Foster a Legacy Dog for a day, weekend, week, month or forever. Help them enjoy their senior years to the fullest.
  • Sponsor and give support for them to have all they need in their golden years. Your monthly sponsorship pays for food, veterinary care and medications.

Click the image below to check out some of our Legacy Dogs available for Foster!


 Sponsor the Legacy Dogs and Help Save More Lives


Although, part of their legacy speaks about how much they had lived through over the years and how they survived it all, we can also add to that legacy the love that they have in their lives. We provide this to each and every one of them, but we cannot do this without you. YOU are their voice. YOU are their support. YOU are making the legacy of love.


For more information on the Legacy Dogs and Pets Alive Westchester visit









Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by Erin Guilshan on Mar 15, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

A Year Later – Evacuation Day

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester 


Today marks the anniversary of a time in our lives we will never forget. It was the hardest day we have had to endure in the history of Pets Alive Westchester. We had to evacuate our building and get every single animal out as soon as possible. We can still remember hearing the words from the engineer telling us, “you need to evacuate as soon as possible” and feeling a wave of disbelief run through us. Later, that wave of disbelief would touch every volunteer and supporter as well. Our world suddenly turned upside down and it suddenly became very ‘real’ how serious the structural issues of our building really were. Until we knew that our building was safe we couldn’t risk having our animals live in it or people entering it every day.


You can read the original blog we wrote: Emergency at Pets Alive Westchester

This is a blog we wrote during the time we were out of our building: Our Greatest Challenge

You Were There When We Needed You Most

The response from the community was overwhelming. Hundreds of people stepped up to help in any way they could. During the worst1932295_620587191344773_1890310929_n time in our history, YOU WERE THERE. You helped us, supported us and lifted us up when we needed it the most. A year later we are still in awe at the wonderful community that surrounds us and we feel incredibly blessed for all of our supporters and volunteers.

Back in Our Building

Now, back in our building and doing better than ever, we can look back at all we went through knowing that we can withstand any challenge that life may throw our way. We picked up where we left off on many projects such as new adoption rooms, a freshly painted lobby, new programs we have put in place such as training sessions for the public and humane education programs for schools. Our adoption rates have skyrocketed and we are better than ever! It seems as if we have this renewed spirit after all we had been through. It’s as if we now know for sure that we can get through any challenge. If we made it through that together we can do anything. The sky is the limit.

What’s Happening with the Building

closet crackingThe cost we endured financially from the evacuation was not something we anticipated or budgeted for – who would have thought something like that could happen? After months of drilling, soil testing and evaluating our property and building, the insurance company let us know that they weren’t going to cover any repairs, but eventually agreed to cover the costs of all the testing that was done.

The repairs need to begin right away now that the winter is over. This week as we mark one year from evacuating our building, we will begin to repair it. The harsh winter didn’t help with the severe freezing that occurred and the loading dock area in particular is getting worse. We are seeing movement happen throughout the building and I will tell you first hand it is nerve rattling to see. We have hired a contractor to make the building safe and they will begin working on the loading dock this week which is where the biggest issue is. We can only afford to do this one phase of repairs right now, but at least we will be able to rest assured that the area will be secure and safe.

This is money we would have used for other things but instead we have no other choice but to use it for repairs. Our needs are always great and we rely on our supporters to IMG_0261help us continue our great work of saving lives, rehabilitating when needed and finding loving homes for the animals in our care.

We rely solely on donations from supporters and do not receive any city or state funding. You are the ones that keep us going and your help is needed.

Thank you to all that help in so many ways.

Filed in Uncategorized by Erin Guilshan on Mar 13, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

An Update on Bennett and Blizzard


benito Bennett, the cat we rescued from the ACC in Brooklyn, continues to be a bit of a medical mystery.  He has gained a little weight, but he continues to weigh less than he should. He spent a week at Oradell animal hospital in Paramus, where they were able to rule out some things like intestinal lymphoma, which is a type of intestinal cancer. Bennett was tentatively diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease, which means that he has a very sensitive digestive tract that is subject to inflammation.  We are continuing food trials and Bennett no longer has any diarrhea. He enjoys climbing around in the medical office and is very affectionate. Bennett would love a foster home. If you are interested in fostering Bennett, please contact Audrey


11041797_1093471640668316_5667987929674747180_nBlizzard is recovering nicely from his multiple bb wounds and his kidney and urinary tract infection. Our medical team has been working diligently to control his discomfort and keep him pain free.  His leg is on its way to healing and he is able to stand and walk well. Blizzard should be available for adoption in the next few weeks. If you are interested in adopting Blizzard, fill out an application at

Filed in Uncategorized by Audrey Lodato on Mar 07, 2015.  There are 1 comments.  

Rescuing Blizzard

By Becky Tegze, Cat Manager

blizzard5One of the more difficult parts of our job here at the Pets Alive cattery is also the most important – really knowing the cats’ personalities well enough to recognize when something is wrong. You see, cats are notorious for concealing problems – and since it’s also in their nature to sleep and laze around so much, it can be very challenging to know that something’s up with them even when you know them very well. Nevertheless, we noticed something wasn’t right with Blizzard, a new intake here at Pets Alive. Initially it seemed like he was just glad to finally be here in the warmth with some food in his belly, but no, he was unusually sluggish. So we took a closer look …


What started out as a mad dash to our vet Friday morning, thinking Blizzard had a possible urinary tract infection or a blocked urethra, turned into so much more. Blizzard was whisked into the back by our vet for an X-ray to see what was causing the blockage: stones, crystals, an infection?  What his x-rays revealed shocked us all – a broken femur healing incorrectly, BB pellets peppered his insides AND he had a previously broken sternum! Having only just come in to us here at Pets Alive, we can’t imagine what this poor boy has gone through and what kind of people he met up with to sustain such terrible injuries in his short life.

 sternum1Our number one priority was his blockage and his kidneys, the rest would have to wait, as we were in a race against time to save his life. He was immediately admitted to Monhagen Veterinary Hospital. IV antibiotics were started, as well as a catheter to empty out his bladder, which was the size of a grapefruit and in danger of rupturing. His bloodwork showed his kidney levels were off the charts – only time and a great deal of immediate medical attention could save him.

Our Saturday morning report from Monhagen Vet Hospital wasn’t good: Blizzard’s infection was so bad that the pus from his kidneyswas constantly clogging his catheter! He needed more around the clock care, so in the middle of snow storm he was transferred to Dr. Joe D’Abbraccio’s care at Orange County Animal Emergency Services, where he could receive the constant attention he needed. The most amazing thing we noticed is that through all of the examinations, poking, prodding, vetting, Blizzard’s spirit never faded. He was still sweetly seeking attention by reaching out his paw for pets and kisses, breaking into the world’s loudest purr at any time.


Blizzard is still fighting and we are fighting for him and with him. We need your help! Blizzard has already been hospitalized for 5 days, sustaining numerous blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays… The bills are mounting up and Blizzard is still not out of the woods, but he is a fighter and with your support we know he will make it through.

No milk or toilet paper needed for this Blizzard… Just your help and some TLC.

Please help us help Blizzard by making a donation to cover his medical expenses.

Filed in Uncategorized by Audrey Lodato on Feb 18, 2015.  There are 1 comments.  

The Tortorella Foundation Gives Grant To Help Save More Dogs

twosheds Pets Alive was very fortunate to recently be chosen to receive a grant to purchase two large sheds from The John and Christine Tortorella Family Foundation.  John and Christine Tortorella founded their family foundation in an effort to help those who protect children, animals and our environment. Supporting animals in need, specifically those who are in need of behavioral training and support is a very important part of the mission of their foundation.  The Tortorella’s see the value in exposing our dogs to new environments as part of their training and wanted to give us the opportunity to be able to better prepare dogs for forever homes.

BearWe named the sheds in honor of the Tortorella’s dog Bear, who has recently crossed the rainbow bridge. One shed has been named “Bear’s Bunkhouse” and the other “Bear’s Den.” The sheds have been outfitted to resemble rooms in a house. Each shed is heated, has electricity, a tiled floor, and is sheet rocked and painted. They feature normal furniture like couches and end tables and even have artwork on the walls. Since they have power, we are able to do things like hook up televisions, appliances and other items that dogs may not have encountered before. Essentially each shed has become a home environment that will assist our training staff in teaching our dogs the skills they will need to be adopted into loving and forever homes.


We often rescue dogs that have never been in a home before. Having the opportunity to let them get comfortable with these unfamiliar things will ensure that the dogs have the best chance possible at getting adopted and staying with their new family. It’s amazing to be able to do these things right here at the sanctuary. The buildings also serve as a quiet place for dogs to to take break from the stress of the kennel and have some time alone. Kennel life can be incredibly stressful and giving dogs the opportunity to decompress is essential for their well being.

One of our first shed residents is a lovely dog named Sherman who came to us from Westchester SPCA for some hands on work with our  adoptability team. Sherman will be working with our trainer Robin to get ready for a new home. The additional shed has provided a MUCH needed area for our volunteers to spend time with the dogs during the winter.

JohnshermanannaMany, many dogs will benefit from these buildings. We are so grateful to the The John and Christine Tortorella Family Foundation for this gift. We are so blessed to be on the receiving end of this donation, which will change the lives of dogs for many years to come. We invite you to thank them for their support, their generosity and their contribution to life saving rescue.

Filed in Animal Rescue by Audrey Lodato on Jan 31, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

            If you’re reading this, then you care about animals and you care about saving them. You already understand what it means to be an advocate. So I’m going to get straight to the point.

We need your help. We’ve been slammed from every side in the last few months with building repairs, medical bills and the mounting costs associated with running a sanctuary. The past year has brought a ton of change and we are scrambling to get our feet underneath us.  We’re getting a little worried.Dicepic

We’ve never stopped saving lives. It’s always been our priority. But we need a steady stream of income to keep us on our feet. So we are asking you for a favor. Donate one hour ‘s worth of your pay to Pets Alive each month in the form of a monthly sponsorship .

Monthly sponsorships allow us to breathe a little.  To know that there will be money coming in. To say yes when we might otherwise have to say no. For just a few dollars a month you can make a significant impact to the animals in your own community.  And it DOES make a huge impact. Every time I see a new sponsorship I cheer inside. I think about how that donation brings us one more step closer to being able to achieve a no kill community.  I think about how we can pull that kitten, save that horse. Get that dog out of a deplorable situation.

When we say we need you, we don’t mean that in the same sense that the bigger rescues on TV say they need you. There are no expensive ad campaigns to pay for or multi million dollar payrolls here at Pets Alive. We need you to put food in the mouths of the animals we rescue and to keep the doors open.

10488081_1038937702788377_1242868735467348935_nFor just a few dollars a month you can make a significant impact to the animals in your own community. We will always spend your money wisely and you can come here any time to see where it goes. I will personally show you around.

A sanctuary is built of brick and mortar, and a sanctuary is built of love. They are two very different things, and both are necessary for us to be successful at saving lives. When you sign up for a monthly sponsorship, you are giving both of these things. You become the hands that hold the power to save lives. You are the hammer and the nail that holds the roof over the heads of those who have nowhere else to go. The feet that take the dog outside when he has never seen the sun before. You are the one kneeling on the floor that calms down a trembling kitten. You are those same tears we cry when we have to say goodbye. You become one of us. A rescuer.

You can sign up for a monthly sponsorship below. Just click the link and check “Make this Recurring (Monthly).” You choose the amount. You make the difference. You help us take a step back from worrying about the bills and focus on how many more animals we can save. Thank you for always being there for us, for them, thank you!

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by Audrey Lodato on Jan 24, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

Know Where Your Money Goes

This week, we had to say goodbye to one of our long time canine residents, Nori.

10929080_1064719200210227_6236007269875716523_nWe lost him to cancer. He was an awesome dog that relied on Pets Alive to be his home. He wasn’t an easily adoptable dog, because he had some issues with aggression. Although the team here did their best to find Nori a home, the reality is that Nori lived almost his entire life at Pets Alive and Pets Alive Westchester as a sanctuary animal.  That’s not to say that his life was sad. He got to experience love and joy just like every pet. He had toys and fun and love. He had his own humans too – us. We became his family. Like any family, we loved Nori and when it was time to say goodbye to him, we wanted him to be comfortable. We opted for local veterinarian Josh Furman to come and do a home euthanasia here at the sanctuary. Nori passed away surrounded by his family – us – and in the comfort of a room he knew well, with his toys, and his blanket.  We cried and talked about Nori and celebrated his life together like any family would do.

10929255_1064719170210230_3917567849437571974_nBeing present at euthanasia is not something that anyone ever looks forward to, and it’s not fun to talk about either.  Being present at a euthanasia is just what we do because it’s what you would do when ANYONE you love is passing.  You are there for them until the end. You support them and love them and send them on their way KNOWING that you did everything you could and that you would have done anything. WE would have done ANYTHING for Nori.

I’m telling you about Nori today and his death because I want to tell you about something else, too. In order for you to fully understand it, I want you to just close your eyes and think for a minute about how we said goodbye to Nori.  All of us in that room together, crying, and loving him. I want you to understand how much it takes out of us for us to say goodbye to ONE animal here at our sanctuary. I want you to think about how hard it was for YOU to read this story.

And now lets talk about PETA. Yup- People for the Ehtical Treatment of Animals.  I know, right? Didn’t expect that? Just stay with me. I recently came across PETA’s 2013 euthanasia numbers. In 2013, PETA took in 2175 dogs and cats at their facility in Virginia…and they euthanized 1792 of them. Yes. That’s right. They took in 2175 dogs and cats and they killed 1792 of them. Yes, I’m serious. They killed 82% of the dogs and cats they took in. Ok I’ll pause and let you think about that for a moment. Don’t believe it?  Here’s the REPORT

PETA kills animals because they say that euthanasia is the best option when an animal is “terminally ill” or “unadoptable.”  You can decide for yourself what you think, but to me, any shelter that has an 82% euthanasia rate isn’t trying very hard to do anything but be a slaughterhouse. There is literally NO shelter where 82% of the intakes are unadoptable. We’ve proved this with our adoption numbers over and over again. We PRIDE ourselves on placing hard to adopt animals. It’s what we DO. We know how because we LEARNED. We TRY.

I would go so far as to say that any shelter that kills 82% of their intakes is not treating animals ETHICALLY.


Those 2013 numbers really resonated with me. I want to tell you why.

At our combined facilities in 2013, we took in 1158 dogs, 523 cats, 22 rabbits and 7 farm animals. And we adopted out 1167 dogs, 531 cats, 21 rabbits and 8 farm animals. No really. We ADOPTED OUT 99% of the animals we took in. You can see our 2013 Annual Report. We did lose some to terminal illness, but that can happen when you are trying to save the animals that need you the most. Those that are in the worst situations. Those that have no one else.

What does PETA claim? To be a voice for the voiceless?  To advocate? To PROTECT animals? To step in when others will not?

PETA LIES. They have been lying, they will continue to lie, and if you ask them about it they will lie to your face.  They are not ETHICAL. They are not ADVOCATES. They are not RESCUERS. They are MURDERERS.

sleepy kitten And people are paying them to kill animals. People that they have deceived with their expensive ad campaigns that are designed to make you believe that they step in when no one else does.

We could never do that here at Pets Alive. Our hearts would be destroyed.  We go home from each and every euthanasia in mourning. Our hearts break every time we have to say good bye. And they should. If they didn’t we wouldn’t deserve to do this work.  That is the future of animal rescue, and the future of no kill. It’s the future we believe in.

On their 990 in 2013, PETA claimed 34 MILLION dollars in income. Yup-not a typo  34 MILLION DOLLARS see that HERE on Guidestar (you can sign up for a free account).  They got paid nearly $19,000 for every animal they killed. Their payroll is well over 7 MILLION and they spend on average nearly half a million annually on fundraising. Talk about an incredible return on investment. At Pets Alive we struggle for every penny we raise. We constantly have to make really tough decisions on staffing, fundraising, repairs and improvements to our facilities, benefits for our devoted employees. Why? Because we have to save more animals. We have to be their safety net. We have to utilize every resource we have to ensure that we can give them all of the medical, emotional, and behavioral rehabilitation they need. Our employees don’t drive fancy cars or fly around the country spewing status quo rhetoric to the masses of how its better for an animal to be dead then to find them appropriate and loving homes.

smiling pittyOur employees show up to work in an ice storm to make sure their animals are cleaned, fed, medicated and loved every single day. Our employees come in on their days off, volunteer their time in other departments, join groups or committees, they give their time, their hearts, their pride to the animals in our care. They bring their children to help socialize and play with the animals (and yes we do use them to kid test!!) Our employees are the heros in animal rescue yet each one of them would be mortified to see their names in lights.

Just think about what Pets Alive could do with 34 Million dollars. How many animals could we save? How much more do we care? How much harder would we work to achieve a no kill nation? Which group would make the bigger impact? I’m not going to lie- it’s been a tough year at Pets Alive. Even with all of the incredible life saving rescues and happy forever homes we are struggling to continue to pay the bills that are always mounting. We spend about $60,000 a month in animal care and operating expenses. While we continue to work on reducing our budgets there are some things we refuse to put limits on- like veterinary care for our animals. That will never happen here. It just can’t. We are one of the few true NO KILL rescue and sanctuary in the country. Our animals are our family and we promise each one of them to do WHATEVER it takes to give them a second chance. We know you believe in us. We know that you agree. We need you now more than ever.gray kitty

When you look at such a major national organization like PETA and compare them to Pets Alive take a moment and think to yourself- who is more ethical? Who believes that life is precious and that it is our duty to be the voice for the voiceless. To be their protector, their guardians, their friends, their family.

Know where your money goes.

Donate to Pets Alive and YOU WILL SAVE animals.

Filed in Animal Rescue, Call to Action, No-kill by Audrey Lodato on Jan 21, 2015.  There are 2 comments.  

Adopt a Date. Don’t Spend Valentine’s Day Alone.

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Are you tired of bad blind dates? Are you sick of filling out online dating profiles? Are you longing to cuddle? Tired of eating dinner alone? We can help. From January 15th through the end of February, Pets Alive will help ensure you are lonely no more. Our trained matchmakers will take the answers you provide on our questionnaire and match you with a companion animal that we think might be just right for you. Your commitment? Just one date.
We know that just like with dating, sometimes it’s hard to see which dog or cat is the right one for you. It’s hard to get to know an animal here at the shelter. It’s like meeting someone in a bar – loud, distracting and not all that much fun. The animals sometimes don’t get to make a great first impression. We want to give you the opportunity to really get to know the animal that we think you might fall in love with. So we’re fixing you up. You can take a dog or cat on the date of your choosing. Spend the day with them or even have a sleepover. See if it works out. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too. The animal gets a vacation and they’ll have a fun time with a new friend.


So how does Adopt A Date work? First, fill out our survey for dogs here: Search for the perfect date (Dog) or cats  here:  Our trained matchmakers will analyze your answers, pick a dog or cat for you and call you to arrange the details of your date. What should you do on your date? Well, that’s up to you. If you are the active type, maybe take your doggie date for a walk in the park or a hike. If you’d rather stay in, you can cuddle up and watch a movie. We’ll provide toys, food and even a special blanket for your date. If you like the shy type of cat, you can even have your date right here at Pets Alive. We’ve got a movie room all set up for you to have your date in.




Q: Do I get to choose my date?
A: While we’d love it if you would let us pick, we’re not opposed if there is a special someone you’d want to meet. Let’s talk about it!

Q: Can I take my date to the dog park or let him play with other dogs?
A: Your date can play with your dog at home, but they can’t visit a dog park or other dogs until they are officially adopted.

Q: Can a family or a couple take a dog on a date?
A: Absolutely! These single dogs and cats are looking for a forever home in any form.

Q: What happens if my date isn’t going well? Can I bail out early?
A: Yep. You can bring your date back at any time.

Q: I want to take pictures of my date and post them on social media. Can I?
A: Yes! Please use hashtags #petsalive and #adoptadate

Q: I want to adopt my date. How does that work?
A: It’s pretty easy. Just come back and do the paperwork!

Filed in Adoption Events by Audrey Lodato on Jan 15, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

Lara, Cleo and June Need Your Help to Get Homes!

Meet Lara, June and Cleo. They’re three dogs looking for what so many dogs are looking. A home. All three are sweet tempered, loving, and get along great with other dogs and cats too. They love to play and they don’t have a mean bone in their bodies. So why are they still here? Well, they need a little work, and we need your help.

Lara, Cleo, June when rescued off the beachThese dogs were sent here from a rescue group in Puerto Rico. They reached out to us after reading one of our blog posts, hoping to make some connections to the states. Although Pets Alive no longer has a facility on the island, the plight of the dogs of Puerto Rico is still close to our hearts. We were eager to help this group with their first transport to the states.

According to the rescue group, the seven dogs were all raised in foster homes. They were supposed to be well socialized, walk great on leashes, and be very easy placements. Four of them were, and we found new homes for them within two weeks. The other three dogs were a different story. They cowered in fear in the back of their crates, shaking. They would not come out at all for the first two weeks. They weren’t housebroken, and they were terrified of a leash. Any attempt to put a leash on them resulted in the dogs rolling around in fear, desperate to get away.

10922627_952825601413068_939084073722453093_nWe immediately contacted the rescue that sent the dogs to us to gather more information. It turns out that while the dogs were indeed in foster homes they had basically lived in a pen in the back yard. The rescue group meant well, but it turns out the dogs were basically feral. Now that the dogs were in our care there wasn’t much we could do about their temperament’s but work with them. We would do what we always do here at Pets Alive and focus on giving them everything that they need to be successful in getting a new home.

We had a staff meeting and developed a training plan for the dogs. Afraid that the dogs would be too fearful in the kennel to make any progress, we outfitted our quarantine room for their home. Volunteers took shifts sitting with the dogs, talking to them, feeding them hot dogs by hand, and teaching them that it is OK to be pet. After two months of what amounts to round the clock socialization and interaction they’ve come a long way. They still don’t come out of their crate for new people, but they will come out and eat from the hand of someone they know. They will play when we aren’t in visiting with them or if a trusted person sits for a long time with them.  We were fortunate enough to find an experienced foster home for Cleo, who was the most fearful. She’s made great progress in housebreaking and is now able to walk on a leash, too. The problem with working with these dogs in a quarantine room is that it doesn’t get them ready to live in a real home.

10915172_777018299000210_3106907051929260161_nSo what we’re asking is for some help. We really need to find either foster or forever homes for all three of these dogs. Ideally, we’d like to find three separate homes for them because they will progress more quickly without each other to fall back on. We’d love for the homes to have a dog that’s good with other dogs and a fenced in yard would be ideal.  It would be perfect if we could place them with someone who works from home so that someone is around all the time with them. Neither of those things is absolutely necessary. The things that are necessary: You or your family must be patient, kind, and understanding. We will provide you with what you need to get started, as well as all the time you need with our staff trainer. You provide the love. If you are interested in fostering these dogs, please email us at and we will  be in touch as soon as possible. Thanks for participating in the rescue of these girls. They deserve every possible chance for success.

Fostering saves lives! With your help we can remain committed to these sweet girls and still continue to pull more like them to safety.


Filed in Animal Rescue by Audrey Lodato on Jan 09, 2015.  There are 2 comments.