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North Hills Monthly

The Force is Strong at Animal Friends’ New Year’s Eve Rescue

Dec 31, 2019 11:59AM ● By Vanessa Orr

There’s no better way to celebrate the new year than by giving some deserving animals a second chance—especially if you also give them Star Wars’-themed names, in addition to the chance to find a happy home.  

This year’s rescue brought Ewok the Bunny into the shelter, as well as Husky mixes C3PO and R2D2. A total of eight dogs came from Greene County Humane Society, two from Lawrence County Humane Society, and five rabbits from the Erie Area Rabbit Society, otherwise known as EARS.

“Because of the big rescues we’ve been involved in lately, we changed it up a little this year and it wasn’t as high-volume as in year’s past,” explained Animal Friends Communications Coordinator Cody Hoellerman. “We’re still dealing with the four rescues that brought in 213 animals, including 117 dogs from the Ross hoarding case, 30 dogs from Wilkinsburg, 31 cats from Turtle Creek, and 30 cats and five dogs that just came in from West Deer Township.”

The New Year’s Eve rescue animals were accompanied by members of the 501st Starkiller Garrison, an all-volunteer organization featuring movie-accurate representations of famous bad guys such as Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, stormtroopers and more. To add to the festive atmosphere, adopted dogs from the Ross Township hoarding case were brought together in another room where their owners got to meet each other, and the dogs had the chance to get reacquainted.

Animals from the New Year’s Eve Rescue got vaccinated, bathed and groomed, and will be medically and behaviorally evaluated as well as spayed or neutered before becoming available for adoption.

“The biggest thing that people can do to help is to adopt,” said Hoellerman. “That opens up kennel space for another animal, so you’re actually saving two lives.”

To learn more about all of the animals up for adoption, visit

Photos by Vanessa Orr