COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Central Ohio will soon be a destination for animals rescued from mistreatment around the country. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently announced it is building a permanent Cruelty Recovery Center in Columbus.
“I can’t even put it into words how great it’s going to be for everybody — for the animals, for the rescue workers that are exhausted, for the shelters that are full and getting bad names because people are judging them for what they’re doing, but they have no choice. It’s just going to be wonderful for everybody,” said April Burnside, the founder and president of FREEdom Tails Ohio Animal Rescue.
Burnside explained the critical work the animal rescue was doing before the pandemic only intensified as pets adopted during the Stay-at-Home orders are being surrendered.
“People are filling the shelters with dogs they can no longer care for or that fit their lifestyles, breeders are realizing that they’ve overbred the dogs,” she said. “We took in between 80 and 90 animals in one week. So our rescue tripled in less than 7 days.”
Additionally, the rescue has been taking in animals from hoarding situations and puppy mills. The large-scale rescue operations locally will soon get more support as the ASPCA expands its footprint in Central Ohio.
“We will provide ongoing sheltering, medical and behavioral care for victims of cruelty and neglect until disposition is determined by the court,” said Mary Sarah Fairweather, the Vice President of the ASPCA Cruelty Recovery Center.
Fairweather explained the new 100,000 square foot facility will be able to accommodate around 150 animals per day, rescued from cruelty and neglect situations nationwide. In the past 12 years, the ASPCA has rescued more than 35,000 animals from 38 different states.
“What happens is it trickles down to the rescues,” Burnside said. “[It] opens up our facilities — foster homes and the shelters — for the other cases.”
The organization is not publicly reporting the location of its new Columbus facility, due to security concerns and the sensitivity of dealing with criminal prosecutions. It hopes to have the new center operational by the end of 2021.
The Columbus site and another opening in Pawling, New York are part of a $32 million capital commitment to the ASPCA for rescuing animals and preparing them for adoption.
Staff will also be researching the effects of cruelty on animals and searching for best practices in rehabilitating them. The findings will be shared with animal welfare partners.
“We’re all working towards our common goal of getting animals out of shelters and onto couches as quickly as possible,” Fairweather said.ASPCA to open 100K square foot Cruelty Recovery Center in Columbus