Animal sanctuary saves lives, seeks help

PORT CLINTON - Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary started saving puppy mill dogs and puppies in November, but despite their rescue success stories, their good deeds have left the non-profit in a difficult financial situation.

After four puppy mill rescues, ISHAS says they've saved 80 lives in the past two months.

"We've been very busy," said ISHAS CEO, Nancy Benevento-Brown. "And when it comes, I just can't say no. I know if I don't do it, they stand a chance of death that isn't too pretty."

Despite adopting out 60 of those dogs, the sudden influx of four-legged friends has put a heavy strain on the sanctuary's finances. Most of the dogs need to be spayed or neutered, and many have required medication.

"Our vet bills alone are well over $15,000," said Benevento-Brown.

From vet bills to bones, blankets, and everyday doggy needs, the non-profit CEO says she knew the monetary risks of rescuing so many pups.

"There's a lot of expenses that we incurred, but I didn't care," said Benevento-Brown. "I wanted to do what we had to."

But now, she says they may not be able to do any more puppy mill rescues.

"A lot of people have donated, but it's just not there all the way to where I feel comfortable that we can continue this at this point," said Benevento-Brown. "I want to, but... I just don't know."

Until they can financially recover, the ISHAS says they'll focus on working with the dogs they currently have, and hopefully find them their forever homes.

"To see them evolve from a scared stiff commodity for someone into an actual pet, into an actual dog, to an actual home - that's just the best feeling in the world," said Benevento-Brown.

Financial donations can be sent to the ISHAS at 2337 South Linda Drive, Marblehead, OH 43440.

For information: Call 419-960-7497 (Toll Free: 1-855-329-5460) or visit

Donations of supplies can be left at the sanctuary on State Road near the intersection with Ohio 53 North in Portage Township.

Wish List:

Dog Items:

- Rawhide twisted chews - small medium and large

- Dog beds that can be washed - nothing huge

- Dog treats - small medium and large

- Nylabone double action chews - all sizes

- Non-pull harness - all sizes

- Donations to vet office for animal care

- Dog crates

For other office and cat items wishes, contact Island Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary