Tag Archives: animal welfare

ACDC Teams Up With The Spayed Club to Offer Low-Cost Clinic

Animals receive the best possible care at The Spayed Club in Sharon Hill, PA

It is exciting for the Animal Coalition of Delaware County to be able to provide subsidized payment to the residents of Marcus Hook and assist in a Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic collaborative effort with The Spayed Club who performed the veterinary care.

For the past three years, volunteers from The Spayed Club and the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) have been coordinating low-cost spay/neuter transport clinics for cat owners in Delaware County. We have been successful in Clifton Heights, Upper Darby, Chester, and Marcus Hook in past years. This year, we held a low-cost spay-neuter clinic in Colwyn on February 25, with the help of Mayor Rutland to spay/neuter 27 resident cats and most recently, on November 4 in Marcus Hook with the help of Mayor James D. Schiliro to spay/neuter 27 resident cats that might not otherwise have this service.

“Concentrated sterilization is the most efficient use of time, money, and effort to end animal homelessness and euthanasia” says Stephanie Swanton, who has been coordinating clinics for ACDC since 2005.

Community based efforts of providing education of the pet over population problem, offering reduced sterilization fees through subsidized clinics like this one in Marcus Hook, and having pet owners do their part by having their companion animals spayed/neutered assures that we are certainly making a dent in the pet overpopulation problem and reducing the number of stray and unwanted pets that may be euthanized at shelters due to overcapacity.

If you are interested in ACDC continuing to offer low-cost spay-neuter clinics like this one, consider making a tax-deductible donation to ACDC and indicate ‘S/N Clinic’ or ‘TNR.’ Your continuous support is deeply appreciated and enables the organization to continue its efforts to help homeless animals.


Filed under ACDC News

Life Is Like A Song

After two years in ACDC's care, Charlie found his forever home, where he is clearly quite content!

By Nikki Senecal

Two years is a long time to wait, but Charlie (aka Charlie Choo) has, at last, found his forever home!

When Charlie came to the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC), he was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), a blood disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and kills its own red blood cells. At diagnosis, Charlie weighed just over seven pounds, was severely jaundiced, and was not eating. He went home with Kim Butler, ACDC’s cat director, because she, unfortunately, had direct experience dealing with her own cat’s IMHA.

Cats with IMHA have to get blood drawn regularly to check “packed cell volume” (PCV). Normal cats fall into the range of 37-44, Kim explained. Charlie’s PCV was as low as 19; while not good, he wasn’t a candidate for blood transfusions. With medication, paid for through donations to ACDC, Charlie’s numbers eventually fell into the normal range.

When he was adopted he had been off all medication for three months. Still, Kim says, “he will still need his blood checked every few months to make sure he’s holding at a stable pace.”

At Last
Enter Melissa Lane, a volunteer at the PetSmart at Marple Crossroads. Melissa became involved with ACDC after her feline companion of 10 years, Alice, passed away due to kidney failure. At that time, she was moving in with her boyfriend, Stephen Hostetter, and his dogs, and says, “I pretty much gave up on the idea of having a cat because of the dogs.” So she decided instead to volunteer to help find homes for cats to satisfy her desire to be around cats. “At first, volunteering made me sad, but after a few times, I really enjoyed getting to know the cats there.”

Melissa came to know Charlie during her shifts at the adoption center. “I knew that Charlie was a sweet, mellow, beautiful cat. I also felt a lot of compassion for Charlie because I knew that it would take him longer to find a permanent home because of his previous health problems.” Melissa felt he deserved a good home. She even knew of one: hers. But she worried about mixing dogs and cats.

One Sunday afternoon, that changed. “Karen Bates was in the center trimming Charlie’s nails and cleaning his ears, and we got to talking about the possibility of having a cat in a house with two young huskies. She told me about having the dogs cat-tested and the rest is history!” In order for Melissa and Stephen to adopt a cat, the cat would have to be an adult with previous experience with dogs. Fortunately for Charlie, he fit that description and all the pieces fell into place for an adoption.

Melissa didn’t have misgivings about adopting a cat with such a rare medical condition (it’s more common in dogs than cats). “Charlie was given a clean bill of health, and I knew that if he had any other health issues, they would be addressed immediately.”

A Thrill to Press My Cheek To
Because Charlie has such a loud purr, Melissa and Stephen joke that “he has a V8 engine in his chest.” He’s also quite a talker, “He has one drawn out meow that sounds like ‘heellloooooooooo!’” Melissa explains. At five, Charlie still plays with the energy of a kitten. He also enjoys company when he eats. “Sometimes he’ll meow at me until I join him,” Melissa reports. “Charlie is not exactly a lap cat yet, but at night, he curls up to sleep next to my head on my pillow or sleeps belly up, legs up nestled up to my torso.”


Filed under ACDC News, Adopted Animals

JoJo Comes Home!

Lynette and JoJo

U.S. Airways Flight Attendant Lynette Siple arrives at Philadelphia International Airport with JoJo in hand!

Earlier this month, the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) learned that JoJo, who had been adopted through ACDC two years ago had been surrendered to Cumberland County Animal Services in Fayetteville, N.C. The shelter contacted ACDC after scanning JoJo for a microchip. The microchip’s registration had never been changed and thus, JoJo’s owner came up as ACDC.

ACDC is incredibly grateful to Danielle Dumas and all of the staff members at Cumberland County Animal Services for not only taking the time to scan JoJo, but to also contact and work with ACDC. The shelter could only keep JoJo for 10 days. ACDC wanted to ensure JoJo had a long and happy life and knew they had to do something. But what? They put an e-mail plea out to all of their supporters for help.

Enter Lynette Siple of Drexel Hill, Pa., a U.S. Airways Flight Attendant and animal lover. Lynette offered to fly JoJo home with her! On her day off last Thursday (October 7), while in-between flights, Siple picked JoJo up at the shelter in North Carolina, took him to a vet for vaccines so that he would be cleared to fly, and then boarded a U.S. Airways flight bound for Philadelphia with JoJo! JoJo even got to fly first class with Siple in some very comfy seats.

Kim Butler, ACDC’s Cat Department Director, met Siple and JoJo at the airport, where there was great celebration! Though JoJo was a little spooked from his busy day, he came through with flying colors. Butler took JoJo to Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital, where he was given a full examination and brought up to date on his vaccinations. JoJo will soon be reunited with Karen Chaya of Drexel Hill, who was his ACDC foster mom two years ago before he was adopted. JoJo will be available for adoption in two weeks. This time, he truly hopes to find the family that will care for him forever! Thank goodness for JoJo’s many guardian angels, especially Lynette Siple, Danielle Dumas, and Cumberland County Animal Services!

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Thinking “Inside” The Box…Which Litter box Is Right For Your Cat?

 By Kim Butler and her cat….

“Hey folks, Stinky Cat here: The Tidy Cat Whisperer (TCW) is exhausted from scooping and is taking a nap right now, so I’m going to write this blog post for her. I know the topic very well since I’m the one who uses the stinkin’ thing. I just wish people would ask us cats first before they start messing with our stuff.  I mean, let’s get real: I’m the cat and I’m the one who has to sit in it, so in the future could ya just ask us for OUR opinion first before you design these things?”

In a previous post, TCW mentioned the fact that there are more litter box designs now than Imelda Marcos had shoes (or was it Michelle Obama’s sleeveless dresses? Whatever). Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Litter boxes have come a long way in the past 50-60 years. Back in the “day” (circa 1930-1940 era), many cats were indoor/outdoor cats, and simply did their “business” outside. Along the way, some kind soul thought that providing a container for cats to relieve themselves indoors was a great idea-especially when living in Minnesota where the temperature is below freezing more often than not. Many of these containers were homemade, certainly not fancy, and filled with sand or ash from recently burnt wood so that cats could “cover up the evidence,” as is their natural instinct. Cleaning a litter box filled with sand or ash however was quite a messy adventure, and as a result not many cats were strictly indoor cats-until the advent of “kitty litter” in 1947.

With the invention of “kitty litter,” cats moved indoors and their popularity soared. And, as a result, a whole new opportunity opened up for entrepreneurs: the design and manufacturing of litter boxes. Nowadays, it’s just not enough to present your cat with a plastic rectangular tray filled with litter-no sirree, we now have an entire section of the store devoted to nothing but litter boxes. It’s like ordering take out from a Chinese restaurant: there are just too many items to pick from. Well, TCW has done some of the legwork for you, and once she wakes up-ooh, well there she is, “well Good Morning Tidy Cat Whisperer, do you have any words of wisdom on litter box choices for us? While you were napping I took the liberty of filling the masses in on the history of the litter box as we know it….”

“Thanks, Stinky Cat I think I can take it from here.”

 Yes, we have an enormous selection of boxes in so many shapes and sizes. Some boxes look like furniture. Some look like plastic igloos (“Nanook of the Litter Scoop”). Some boxes look like a Rube Goldberg invention with so many twists and turns you wonder how the cat will ever extricate itself. I do have a few I can recommend, having personal experience with them.  The most important factor is: if the cat is happy and is using it. All the other factors (is the owner happy) are secondary.

The most basic litterbox may be the one my cats are the most happiest with. It is made by Rubbermaid, is not covered, and has a high back and sidewalls to keep litter from flying everywhere. And it’s inexpensive, at around $17. My 3-legged cat especially loves it, as it has a scooped out entry way making it easy for her to get in and out of. I have six of these currently in use. They are easy to clean and manage and worth every penny.

I have also tried the “Booda Clean-Step” (The one that looks like the Igloo). At $34, it’s getting up there in price. While the concept is nice (keeping the litter from being tracked/kicked all over), the reality is that it is difficult to clean and manage, especially the “stairway”.  The lid is especially hard to clean, and when the urine gets in the crevices, it will smell no matter what you clean it with. Unless you like to work extra hard, I would stay away from this one.

The other litter box that gets the most use in my house is the Clevercat. I have a couple of cats that like to get in the litter box, then not bother to turn around and urinate towards the back of the box like normal cats do-they prefer to urinate towards the front of the box-which means it sprays out of the box.  With The Clevercat, it’s a top entry box-they climb on top of it then climb down into the box where they can do their business in total privacy-and WITH NO MESS. It’s easy to clean-and the lid doubles as a mat! Everyone in my house loves it-my 17-year-old cat uses it, even my three-legged cat uses it with no trouble at all. It’s around $34, which is up there-but trust me, if your guys like to make a mess, it’s well worth it. I have four of these.

Of all the litter boxes I have tried, the two I most recommend are the Rubbermaid and the Clevercat. In my book, everything else would be a waste of money. And that’s it from The Tidy Cat Whisperer. Happy Scooping!

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Filed under Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Cats

How Do I Know My Pet is Sick?

Knowing what to watch for in your pet's behavior can help catch illnesses early.

By Nikki Senecal 

There are many times I wish my dog could talk, but that feeling is compounded by worry when she seems to be feeling ill. (Talking animals would make the vet’s job easier too!) 


If we remember that we’re mammals too, diagnosing our pets can be a little easier. How do you know you’re sick? Vomiting, diarrhea, appetite changes, abnormal bleeding, and lethargy signal something’s wrong in humans. It turns out many of these symptoms signal problems for our pets too.      

Guinea Pig     

  • Bloated abdomen
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss


  • Loud tooth grinding
  • Very hot or very cold ears
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Labored breathing
  • Drooling or a wet chin
  • Loss of balance or head tilt
  • Abnormal fecal pellets (smaller, irregular shape, droppings laced with fur)
  • Loss of appetite or lethargy


  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Stops using the litter box or strains upon elimination
  • Develops puffiness or a lump under the skin
  • Hides for more than a day
  • Becomes ill-tempered or doesn’t want to be touched
  • Increased head shaking
  • Changes his routine or loses interest in his favorite games
  • Stops grooming
  • The “third eyelid” (nictitating membrance) emerges from the corner of his eye


  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased drinking
  • Vomiting or unproductive retching
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or bloody feces
  • Unexplained, sudden weight loss
  • Seizure
  • Pale gums or tongue
  • Increased panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Straining to urinate, decreased urination, or bloody urination
  • Inflamed ears or skin, or smelly ears
  • Discharge from ears, eyes, or nose
  • Difficulty walking or lameness
  • Head shaking

Take notes on changes in your pet’s habits and health and take him/her to the vet at the first sign of concern. Your vet will want to know details of your pet’s symptoms, including when they began. Until animals learn to talk, your pet needs you to speak for her.

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Filed under Pet Insurance, Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Cats, Pet Tips - Dogs, Pet Tips - Guinea Pigs, Pet Tips - Rabbits

Meet ACDC’s New Volunteer Coordinator

Evann and her husband, Steve, adopted their dog, Chief, from the Animal Coalition of Delaware County

Back in March, those who volunteer for the Animal Coalition of Delaware County probably noticed that they began hearing from Evann Gastaldo, ACDC’s new volunteer coordinator. Evann took over the ACDC Volunteer Coordinator position from Loren Ellis, who served for about three years. ACDC is so grateful to Loren for her service and thrilled that she continues to actively volunteer with ACDC in many ways.

Evann took over a big job from Loren and is quite an extraordinary volunteer herself. In addition to managing ACDC’s many volunteers, she coordinates the cat foster parents, volunteers at outreach events, serves on the marketing team, and fosters cats.

She has also adopted an ACDC dog and in fact, that is how she got involved with ACDC in the first place. “I wanted to give back to an organization that helped me get such a great dog in my life,” shares Evann. Evann’s dog, Chief (previously known as Billy Bob), a 55-pound hound mix, came to live with her and her husband, Steve, in November 2008. Three cats round out the family. Two are from ACDC, Simba and Bagheera (Bryce and Brayden originally). Evann and Steve’s third cat, Lando, was adopted from a Chicago shelter.

Volunteering with ACDC gives Evann the opportunity to feed her passion for animal welfare. “I’m one of those people who wants to save every kitty out there, but I know I can’t keep them all. As a foster parent, I have a fantastic opportunity to make sure someone else gives them a good home. Fostering lets me have ‘kitten time,’ but just temporarily—like a fun aunt! And it’s so amazing to look at that animal and know that without you, it might still be on the streets.”

Ever the Volunteer Coordinator, she concludes with a special message: “We need volunteers! That’s true for every organization trying to make a difference with limited resources. Without volunteers, we literally could not operate.” To learn more about volunteering, contact Evann at evann.gastaldo@gmail.com. During National Volunteer Week, we salute the many caring individuals who share their time, talent, and treasure with ACDC!


Filed under ACDC News

Don’t Miss Our Fourth Annual Spayghetti Dinner – March 27!!

We will host our fourth annual Spayghetti Dinner & Silent Auction this Saturday, March 27! You won’t want to miss it! For only $25 (or $30 at the door — so buy your ticket now!), your ticket includes a full Italian meal (and not just Spaghetti—we’re talking baked ziti and desserts!). We are also having a DJ and Karaoke!!!!! This year, our silent auction has also gotten quite exciting with items including:

  • Philadelphia 76ers Box Seat Tickets
  • Signed Hockey Stick from Simon Gagne
  • Tickets to the Phillies Exhibition Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 3
  • Photography session worth $550 with Essential Imagery (www.essentialimagery.net)
  • Gift certificates for local restaurants and businesses such as Iron Hill Brewery, Margaret Kuo’s, Daisy’s Delights (pet grooming gift certificate), and Traders Joe’s
  • Watercolor paintings from local artist Mike Bair
  • Antique crackle glass vases and accessories
  • Pampered Chef gift package
  • Dog and cat toys and accessories; and more.

Proceeds from this annual event benefit our pre-adoption spaying and neutering efforts. Every year, four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are euthanized simply because there is not enough room in animal shelters to care for them, nor are there enough homes for them. Failure to spay or neuter animals is what results in unwanted litters that it is not possible to care for. Spaying and neutering animals is the only permanent solution.

In addition to paying to have all of the animals adopted through ACDC spayed or neutered (if they are old enough at the time of their adoption), ACDC also sponsors low-cost spay neuter clinics in Delaware County. In December, ACDC held one in partnership with The Spayed Club for residents of Marcus Hook and just last month, they hosted one in Colwyn.

To purchase tickets for ACDC’s Spay-ghetti Dinner, click here or call 610-876-1479. Seating is limited so all are encouraged to buy tickets early.

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ACDC Animal Updates!

Some of the animals ACDC rescues need a little extra TLC. Two of those animals that we recently took in to our foster care are Ginny and Hope. Here are updates on both of them:


The vet gives Ginny the first of several injections to treat her heartworm.

We’re happy to report that Ginny is doing well after her first injection of immiticide. We are treating her for heartworm and will continue to keep you posted!


ACDC rescued Hope last summer and has been caring for her ever since. We are treating her for head tilt syndrome and several other conditions.

While our Hope is doing well, she won’t ever be 100% fully recovered. ACDC continues to treat her. Her ACDC foster mom reports that in spite of her challenges, Hope is such a sweet, sweet bunny.

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Filed under ACDC News, Adopted Animals, Animals in our care

Animal Coalition Sponsors Low-Cost Clinic

Volunteers with the 45 cats that were spayed/neutered earlier this month for just $30 each thanks to the Animal Coalition, The Spayed Club, and the Marcus Hook Borough

On December 17, 45 cats from Marcus Hook were spayed or neutered, as well as given rabies and distemper vaccines for just $30 each thanks to the efforts of the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC), the Marcus Hook Borough, and The Spayed Club

In the Philadelphia region, 35,000 animals are put to death annually. The only reason that these perfectly healthy animals are subjected to this cruel fate is because there simply is not enough room in our animal shelters to care for them, nor are there enough homes for them.  

These are not just the offspring of homeless “street” animals—in many cases, these are the unwanted puppies, kittens, rabbits and guinea pigs of cherished family pets and even purebreds. If animals that are not spayed or neutered get loose, it is quite likely that they will mate with another animal and produce unwanted offspring.  

Failure to spay or neuter animals results in homelessness, misery, cruelty, and death. ACDC has been on the forefront of spaying and neutering efforts to reduce pet overpopulation since the organization was founded in 2004.  

“Even though we’re a small organization with limited resources, we work efficiently and proactively to reduce pet overpopulation by ensuring that fewer animals are relinquished to animal shelters,” says Steph Swanton, a member of ACDC’s Executive Committee.  

With ACDC subsidizing this cost, The Spayed Club providing their facility and staff, along with the support and forethought of Marcus Hooks’ Board of Health, the Marcus Hook residents were able to ensure that their cat was spayed or neutered and unable to produce unwanted offspring.

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