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Animal Friends rescues 55 dogs, cats from euthanasia in New Year's Eve sweep

| Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 1:38 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A cat looks out through its carrier at Animal Friends on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. The cat was one of 55 dogs and cats that were brought to the Ohio Township facility as part of the 17th annual New Year's Eve Rescue. All of the animals will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, bathed, and will undergo medical and behavioral evaluations. If all is well, the animals will be ready for adoption on Thursday. All of the animals rescued Tuesday received names from the world of Dr. Seuss characters. They were scheduled to be euthanized Tuesday night at shelters, but were saved through the efforts of Animal Friends.

Mayzie tucked her tail between her legs as she warily eyed the water spray.

Diane Friske tried to comfort the thin, mixed-breed dog while she gave the pup a bath.

“She thinks, ‘If I don't look at it, it will go away,' ” said Friske of Shaler, a volunteer with Animal Friends.

Mayzie was among 55 animals — 25 dogs and 30 cats — rescued from six Western Pennsylvania animal-control facilities on Tuesday as part of the Ohio Township shelter's 17th annual New Year's Eve Rescue. Volunteers rounded up the animals to save them from being euthanized, said Christy Bostardi, the shelter's spokeswoman.

“During the holidays, many pets get separated from their owners, and if they don't have a license, it's difficult to get them reunited with their families,” Bostardi said. “Animal control becomes overpopulated, and they have to euthanize to make space for other homeless pets.”

Shelter workers chose names from more than 40 Dr. Seuss books to christen each dog and cat with a new name. In addition to baths, the animals received medical checkups. Those in good health will be available for adoption beginning on Thursday, Bostardi said.

Unlike Mayzie, Horton, a rottweiler mix, wagged his tail during his bath and nail clipping.

“These dogs need a second chance — and some, a third chance,” said volunteer Rick Novosel of Pine. “I just want to help them live out a good life.”

Horton has a good chance for that, Novosel said, because the dog takes to people quickly.

“There's too many like him,” Novosel said. “If we can save just one, it's worth it. I wish we could save them all.”

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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