Save The Animals Foundation

Exploring The World of Animal Shelters: An Inside Look At Save The Animals Foundation

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An interview with Save The Animals Foundation from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Save The Animals Foundation

Introducing Save The Animals Foundation

Diane Parsons – Shelter Manager/Intake Coordinator

My name is Diane Parsons and I am the Shelter Manager for the dogs and dog volunteers at Save The Animals Foundation (STAF), plus I am the Intake Coordinator and I am on the dog veterinary team. I started at STAF in 2003, after teaching 7th and 8th graders for 31 years. When I learned there was an animal shelter very close to where I lived at the time, I couldn’t wait to get there. My passion has always been dogs and horses, and when I found out I could volunteer as much as I liked, I knew I had found my retirement vocation. The longer I volunteered, the more involved I became in management, and found that my first love is coordinating with rescue people in Kentucky to save dogs from euthanasia, abandonment, neglect and cruelty, by bringing as many to STAF as we can house at any given time.

Diane and Annie

How did Save The Animals Foundation Start?

Unfortunately, our founder, Ida Katz, passed away in 2008, so we are unable to answer this question. STAF was founded in 1988 so we have been at this for quite a while. I could get another long-term volunteer to answer this question but not our founder.

What Kind Of Support Does Save The Animals Foundation Need From The Community, And How Can People Get Involved And Support Your Mission?

STAF is a privately funded rescue, meaning we do not receive any funds from the state or county to fund operations, it all comes from donations, which we need constantly to keep us in operation. Since we are a volunteer-run organization the funds go directly to impacting the lives of the animals in the form of food, veterinary care, medicine, etc.

We are always looking for more volunteers to help, and there is a multitude of ways to volunteer your time. The most obvious is direct animal care which includes things like cleaning, walking, feeding, and vet transportation. Then we have the administrative side of our operation that does things such as clerical work, maintenance, and public outreach; many of our volunteers have responsibility on both fronts, but we are constantly over-worked without having the luxury of paid positions to tackle everyday tasks, so we are constantly looking for people to contribute in both areas.

Administrative Side of STAF

Tell Us About The Scale Of Your Operation

At any given time, we have about 250 cats and 50 dogs under our care, most of them on site and some in foster care with volunteers. We also have a wing of our building dedicated to FIV+ cats, which many shelters do not take or euthanize. In any given year, we adopt about 200 cats and 100 dogs.

Tell Us About Any Challenges You Have Faced In Your Work And How You Have Overcome Them

Our most pressing challenge is what to do about the dogs we cannot take into the shelter when we have no more room. Not only is space an issue, but so is our budget. As we are not funded, we have to be careful not to go over budget and put all of our other animals at risk. We will always take in an injured, ill or abandoned dog that is dumped at our door; our volunteers are amazingly generous and will pay to board dogs or look after them, but we always try to find room at the shelter.  

Another challenge is when a dog becomes overly stressed in the shelter environment and needs help to calm down or become people-friendly again. We now have wonderful trainers, who are extremely generous with their time and fees, so we are able to help many dogs who would otherwise continue to have a rough time, and become “lifers” at STAF. Again, volunteers will contribute to boarding/training fees to help specific dogs.

Laura and Bjorn

There is always the challenge of not having enough volunteers. We run 14 shifts a week; each shift varies in time from 4 hours to 9 hours. It’s hard to feed, clean, walk and care for 35 dogs (15 more in foster care with volunteers) when only 3-4 volunteers are able to come in. We have managed to help out these beleaguered shifts because other volunteers offer to do two shifts instead of one. Obviously, we need far more volunteers to join STAF. 

We face massive challenges when a dog is so sick, or so badly injured that emergency surgery is our only answer. We have a solid budget, but a $10-$15,000 vet bill hits us hard, and yet again, it is our volunteers who will always chip in to help us out. 

There will always be challenges, but our dog volunteers work as a team in order to save and care for as many dogs as we possibly can.

Are There Any Partnerships Or Collaborations That You Have Formed With Other Organizations Or Agencies In The Community?

This past year 2022, we were partnered with High Grain Brewery as their employees voted us to be the recipient of their Monarch Fund for 2022. They made donations to us throughout the year from sales of their Monarch, Juicy IPA, their best-selling beer. In addition, they also hosted events for us where we brought adoptable dogs to the brewery; an employee even adopted one of our dogs!

2022 also saw us start a great partnership with a resale shop whose only mission is to support pet rescues, You To The Rescue It’s run by an amazing woman, Amy Miller, who founded the shop and donates money from the sale of donated clothes and household goods.

Just last weekend we were hosted by The Belle and The Bear. Their owner Ceris Christopher supports many local non-profits by hosting events at her venue, donating money, and allowing us to fundraise. Local musicians performed, we had raffle baskets, and a barrel of booze raffle, with 100% of the proceeds going to us, a local couple even offered to match every dollar we made at the event! In one afternoon, we made over $18,000!

Miranda Lambert, the country singer, chose us for her Mutt Nation fill, the little red wagon supply driver, at her concert in Cincinnati last year. People donated supplies and, in return got a chance to win a pair of seats in the pit.

Mutt Nation

What Are Your Future Plans And Goals For Save The Animals Foundation, And How Can The Community Help Support These Initiatives?

Save The Animals Foundation Building

We would love to be able to take in more animals, but our physical space is limited. Eventually, we would love to get a new building that is designed to house animals. Right now, we operate out of a converted paint factory, so there are many challenges with the physical space. The best way to support us is by either giving your time or money. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication from our volunteers every single day to keep things running smoothly; an extra set of hands is always a plus. We also offer sponsorship opportunities for our cats and dogs, and general donations are what keep us afloat; without the generosity of our community, we would cease to exist.

Connect With Save The Animals Foundation here:

Address: 4011 Red Bank Road Cincinnati, OH 45227

Phone: 513-561-7823 (STAF)

Website: is thankful to Save The Animals Foundation for the interview.

Check out this page for the list of animal shelters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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