Stray animals in northeast Ohio will always have a friend in the Humane Society of Summit County. 

Whether they are sick, abused, injured or abandoned, HSSC offers all the love they have to give in the form of many programs and outreach opportunities, ensuring these animals that have faced so much heartache will encounter much compassion.

HSSC has seen more and more of these animals in recent years, as a high census is a challenge many shelters are experiencing all over the U.S., Grant writer Kelsey Lizzoli explained. She said hoarding cases account for a lot of their intakes. 

“While it is exciting that pet ownership is on the rise, the availability of veterinarians and animal care resources are not, making affordable and accessible resources for our community limited,” she said. 

Fortunately, HSSC has many programs that can help. Their multi-pronged approach ensures that the many needs of the community can be met, from veterinary care to getting these animals fed, particularly when their clients face food deserts, poverty and higher costs of living. 

“Top-notch veterinary care is the foundation on which HSSC is established to provide the most compassionate care and rehabilitation to get our rescued animals ready for adoption,” Lizzoli said. 

She also sees how much people will sacrifice for their pets, and observes that people will go hungry so their pets can eat. HSSC partners with ten food pantries throughout Summit County to provide free pet food for struggling families. This helps to make sure these pets can get nutritious meals, and stay with their families, since many pet owners surrender their pets due to financial hardships. 

“In 2023, HSSC distributed over 50,000 pounds of pet food to families in need and hope to increase the amount for the 2024 year,” Lizzoli said. 

To help these families keep their pets healthy, HSSC has MABEL, a Mobile Vet Clinic, which provides low-cost and occasionally free veterinary care to the underserved areas of Summit County that often face veterinary deserts. 

“MABEL is the only mobile unit of its kind in Summit County that addresses the obstacles of accessibility and affordability of vet care by bringing MABEL to the communities most in need to provide vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, and other routine pet care,” she said. 

HSSC was able to further their efforts to keep animals in the community healthy after being awarded a grant from Ohio Animal Foundation. 

“Funding from Ohio Animal Foundation helped vaccinate 71 cats with the FVRCP vaccine, 79 dogs with DHPP vaccine, 46 dogs with the Bordetella vaccine, and provided 430 rabies vaccines at no cost to the pet owners of Summit County,” she reported. “Without funding from generous organizations such as Ohio Animal Foundation, our mission to keep our community’s pets healthy and in their own homes would not be possible.”

The Humane Society also uses its platform to reach out to other needs in the community.

“HSSC also teaches our youngest members of the community about compassion, integrity, and responsibility through our No More Bullying!® program. Last year HSSC educated over 2,100 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders,” she said. 

Animals in Summit County who may have been a victim of abuse also have a voice in the two Humane Agents that serve to investigate, rescue, and prosecute animal cruelty. According to Lizzoli, HSSC is the only resource in Summit County to employ two Humane Agents with this authority. 

Those at the Humane Society are also grateful to the volunteers that help them spread love and care to their community’s animals. Lizzoli explained that many of their volunteers foster animals to help get the animals ready for their forever homes. 

Fiona is looking for her forever home!

Volunteering, fostering, and adoption are just a few ways animal lovers can ensure a bright future for Summit County animals. If  you would like to help but are tight on time in your schedule, they welcome donations of all kinds. Please check out their website,, to find out more about how you can contribute. 

Though the organization stays plenty busy, there is still much on the horizon for HSSC: Lizzoli reports that this fall, HSSC is excited to open the doors to their new, state-of-the art shelter that will allow for new programing to take place. 

“Keep an eye out for what we have in store for the upcoming year!,” she said.Liz Hosfeld

** Note: Big Chuck, the fabulous feline in the featured photo, is available for adoption! Learn more about Big Chuck here.