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North Hills Monthly

Animal Friends Gives 100 Dogs and Cats a Second Chance during New Year’s Eve Rescue

Jan 30, 2019 07:07PM ● By Vanessa Orr

Photo credit Cassandra Yeager

For the past 22 years, Animal Friends’ annual New Year’s Rescue has been a Pittsburgh tradition. On the morning of Friday, Dec. 28, Animal Friends’ staff and volunteers traveled to dedicated partner shelters and animal control facilities in the region to give animals who hadn’t been adopted a second chance to find loving homes. 

After arriving at Animal Friends, each rescued pet received vaccinations and baths, and were medically and behaviorally evaluated. They were also scheduled to be spayed or neutered.

According to Lauren Leffakis, director of admissions and behavior, 65 animals were transferred to Animal Friends on Friday, making a total of 100 adoptable pets over the weeklong event. Friday’s animals came from the Greene County Humane Society, Animal Charity of Ohio, located in Youngstown, the Lawrence County Humane Society and the Washington Area Humane Society. 

“We pull animals from shelters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia,” said Leffakis, adding that some of the earlier rescues came from Harrison, Randolph and Fayette counties in West Virginia, along with the New River and Greenbrier areas.

“Animal Friends is very fortunate in that we get a lot of traffic, and sometimes all it takes to get an animal adopted is to move it from one shelter to another,” she continued. “Some of these dogs have been in shelters for months or even years, but by getting more exposure here, they finally find a home.

“We know that these pets are adoptable,” she added. “It’s just about getting them in front of the right people.” 

To see any of the New Year’s Eve rescues, visit Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road in the North Hills. You can also visit the website at