About The Ohio Pet Sanctuary
The Ohio Pet Sanctuary is an unincorporated small animal rescue and pet supply store in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was founded by licensed veterinary technician, Madison Schleibaum, in September of 2012. As her career carried her further into shelter medicine, she realized a gaping void in animal rescue. Shelters focus on dogs and cats with very little provided for rabbits, pocket pets, ferrets, birds, and reptiles. After watching streams of stray rabbits being brought into the county shelter she was working with after every Easter and post-fair season and her own two ferrets having come in as strays, the idea for The Ohio Pet Sanctuary was born.
This endeavor started off with six rabbits in her garage in 2012 and steadily expanded to include other pocket pets beginning in 2013. The demand for assistance with these species grew and so did the reputation of the sanctuary. In July of 2016, Madison invested $30,000 of her life savings to lease and furnish a 3000sft storefront in Anderson Township on the East side of Cincinnati. Since the move, the number of animals provided for expanded from just fourteen total animals in 2012, to 175 in 2017 (the first full year in the new location) to an amazing 434 in 2019. Prior to Covid-19, the facility was set to break 2019’s numbers by the end of 2020. The waiting list for animals to come into the facility holds steady at 35-50 animals at all times.
All of this clearly could not be accomplished by one woman alone. Since 2016, Madison was joined by fellow veterinary technicians Christina and Rebecca, social worker, Lora, and Jane-of-all-trades, Amber. These four women are crucial to making sure the animals are clean and nutritional needs are met. They also help arrange veterinary care, schedule animals to come in, screen adopters, and manage the storefront. This dedicated team of women work solely on a volunteer basis.
Most of the animals that come to The Ohio Pet Sanctuary have medical needs. Pocket pets such as guinea pigs and hamsters are sold indiscriminately at pet stores and are often given to children who do not take proper care of them. Because of this, small rodents and rabbits often have urine burns on their feet and respiratory disease from unsanitary conditions. Reptiles often have improperly shed skin or are grossly underweight and have metabolic disease from improper light, heat, and humidity. We also take in a fair number of unconventional strays. It is unfortunately not uncommon for people to release unwanted pets into the wild; rabbits and ferrets being the most common that we take in. These animals are typically malnourished and rife with parasites.
Our adult cats are most often from homes where their human has passed away, their home is being foreclosed on or eviction notice has been served, or older owners who cannot take them to nursing homes with them. Our kittens are most often from stray or feral mothers and require time and patience and nearly always treatment for respiratory and/or ocular disease. We are also one of the few rescues in the area that take in kittens that require bottle feeding because the mother is sick, injured, or deceased. All cats, regardless of age, are tested for leukemia and AIDS, receive at least one feline viral rhinotracheaitis, calici, and panleukopenia vaccine, and are treated for hookworm and roundworm, fleas, and lice. In addition to those base expenses, 66% of the cats we take in require spay/neuter surgeries.
All of this means that our veterinary expenses can be great. Averaging the last three years, we spend roughly $2900 per year on base medical expenses and then additional surgeries such as eye removals and wound repairs, infection treatment, and other disease treatment is in addition to that, adding up to typically just under $3400 per year.The facility is funded dominantly with adoption fees as well as a small storefront and now our online shop. These shops are the primary means of raising the money needed to provide shelter, food, medical attention, and nurturing to the animals in the facility. The philosophy behind it is for people to feel good about purchasing supplies for their pets because they can see the animals their purchase is helping. They already have pets at home to take care of and this way, taking care of their pets helps The Ohio Pet Sanctuary take care of homeless ones.