YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Bearded dragons, horses, snakes, pigs, dogs and chickens are just some of the animals that have been rescued in the city of Youngstown.

Now, Animal Charity of Ohio is asking the city for financial help after stating the majority of their calls come from within the city limits.

“It’s an emergency situation all the way around, from funding to capacity to services that are needed for the city of Youngstown,“ said Jane MacMurchy, operations director of Animal Charity.

During a health committee meeting Tuesday, MacMurchy provided some numbers that show how the city of Youngstown compares to the rest of the county.

According to MacMurchy, in 2021, Animal Charity took in 529 animals and 487 of those came from within the city of Youngstown — that’s 92%. 

Currently, they have 204 animals in their care, and 185 of them are from the city — that’s 91%.

MacMurchy also provided daily costs for animals from the city compared to the rest of the county. The cost to provide daily care for animals from the rest of the county is $285 a day, compared to $2,775 a day for animals from the city.

Annually, Animal Charity is paying about $100,000 for animals rescued in the rest of the county but over $1 million for animals rescued from within the city. 

“It went from an emergency call once a week to 10 a day,” she said.

Last week, 16 rabbits were rescued from the West Side of Youngstown. A few weeks before that, seven roosters and one hen were rescued from a cockfighting investigation on the East Side. They’re also currently looking for two snakes that are believed to be in the city, one possibly being a dangerous python. 

MacMurchy says they have had to throw all of their office equipment out to make room for the animals they’ve rescued. The nonprofit organization recently took out a loan to purchase a new building in Boardman with more space. But it will be months before they can get in there and be fully up and running.

Initially, the organization asked city council to help them with funding for the new location, but because of their urgent need they had to move forward with their plans.

Instead, MacMurchy asked the city to help with funding, totaling $290,000, to care for the animals and for operational costs. She said the care they provide for the animals rescued in the city, as well as the time it takes to rescue them, pulls their staff away from other needs in the county.

“We have authority to work in the entire county. But if Youngstown got to be too much, which we’re getting there, we can pull out of the city,” she said.

Mike Durkin with Youngstown Code Enforcement said if Animal Charity didn’t provide service to the city, it would leave behind a great need.

“They go in where nobody else wants to go. We have those situations where we don’t have anybody to go in and do it, they go in and do it… It would be an undertaking, I think we’d have to create a whole new department,” he said.

In addition to rescuing animals in the city, Animal Charity also gives out cat and dog food to people who can’t afford it and offers many free services to Youngstown residents.

Right now, Animal Charity receives its funding from the county, private grants and through community donations. 

MacMurchy provided a breakdown of how most of that is spent. Below is the costs for 2021:

  • Care staff for humane animals – $156,756
  • In-house medical costs – $114,366 – $115,000
  • Outside medical costs – $40,471 – $50,000
  • Humane department with one full time agent – $50,000
  • Full payroll – $287,130

MachMurchy says they have also went to the county for assistance and was granted $252,000 to stretch over the next three years. They have also asked for help from Boardman Township and have plans to ask other cities and towns in Mahoning County as well.

MachMurchy says they never want to get to the point where they can no longer service Youngstown, but they need some type of help to be able to keep it going.

Public Health Committee chairwoman Lauren McNally said the next step is for Durkin and MacMurchy to review and adjust some of the city’s animal laws and for the ARP committee members to make a formal request to council for the $290,000. They will also discuss an educational plan to help curb the issues and educate the public on how to properly care for animals.