A Century of Care and Compassion for Our Community

Fostering compassion and ending animal suffering has been our mission at the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL) for more than a century. Since our founding in 1913 by a group of compassionate citizens, we have worked tirelessly to save animals. We rescue abused and neglected animals, offer shelter to homeless animals, promote compassionate and responsible pet care, and strive to elevate the status of companion animals in our society. There are no time limits at the APL. Friendly, healthy animals, and animals whose illnesses and injuries can be safely and humanely treated, stay in our care until they find their new home.

Today, however, we are not only focused on creating new families and happily ever afters for our homeless animals, but we are also working to preserve the special bond between animals and people and keep existing families together. This isn’t always easy. There are obstacles such as the health of an animal or the financial resources of a pet owner, that can make it challenging for a family to keep their beloved pet.

An Ambitious Vision for More Happily Ever Afters

We have a bold vision to

  • Expand our ability to help animals in need;
  • Improve the experiences and outcome for the animals in our care; and,
  • Keep families and their pets together when lack of access to veterinary care, knowledge, or resources gets in the way.

Through a multi-year, $13.5-million capital campaign generously supported by our community, this dream will become a reality. By renovating and expanding our Tremont facility into an animal resource center for animals and people in our community we will be able to meet the needs of the animals and people we see today and be flexible enough to address what may come our way tomorrow.

The work of animal welfare is rapidly evolving. the reality is that our facility—last renovated in the early 2000s when the needs of our animals and community were vastly different than today–no longer supports the complicated and unpredictable work we do every day.

  • We are treating more animals with complex medical issues.
  • Large-scale abuse cases can bring dozens or hundreds of animals into our care at once.
  • Sick and injured animals are staying in our care for longer periods of time.
  • Low-income families from our community may  have no choice but to surrender their cherished pets when they can’t find accessible veterinary care.
  • Families from our community need support and counsel from our professional staff to understand their options when deciding to surrender or keep their pet.;

Through our years of serving this community and our leadership in animal welfare, we know we can improve the experiences and outcomes for the animals in our care, create new families, and keep existing families together—happily ever after.

Offer More Advanced Medical Care

Gone are the days when we would ask ourselves if we could treat an animal who came into our facility due to financial limitations. The question we ask today is, “How best can we care for this animal?” Two new surgery rooms and a designated treatment area will give us the space needed to treat more animals, address more complicated medical issues and provide an even greater standard of care to the animals we serve.

New Treatment Area

Provides the room required to treat more complicated medical issues and provide a greater standard of care to shelter animals and provide outpatient care for owned animals.

  • Features separate suites and areas for x-ray, dental, anesthesia, and a pharmacy to streamline care
  • Separate exam rooms for consultation with families and APL medical staff
New Surgery Rooms

Enables more animals and more complex cases to be treated through efficient surgical flow

  • Two separate surgery rooms allow for separation of species
  • Designated induction and step-down recovery areas
  • Large enough for animals to recover in the rooms, where they can be easily observed
  • Multiple tables in each room allow for simultaneous care–surgery of one animal, an animal waiting for surgery, and an animal being prepped
Enhance the Shelter Experience

As pet owners ourselves, we try to avoid things that make our pets fearful and stressed. Just imagine the stress animals experience when they come into a bustling, noisy animal shelter. Our expanded and renovated facility will incorporate Fear Free℠ design, housing, and animal flow elements not only to reduce the level of stress for the animals in our care, but also to enhance their experience while they are with us.

Examples include:

  • Separate exam rooms and waiting areas for dogs and cats
  • Calming color palettes for the clinic and animal housing areas
  • Soundproofing between cat and dog areas
  • Cages of a size and design that will provide animals with a better and less stressful living environment
Respond to Ever-Changing Needs

No two days are ever the same at our facility. There are times our Humane Investigations team may rescue dozens of animals in one day who have been neglected or abused, and there are times when we are called upon to rescue an animal we don’t typically bring in for care. Another animal shelter may call upon us to take in some of their animals as they weather a hurricane or other national disaster. We do our best to always respond with “Yes, we will help!” Flexible spaces will be incorporated into our facility so that we can respond effectively, with the same level of exceptional care, to the needs of the animals and people who we serve today and what may come our way tomorrow.

Provide Additional Community Resources

We know the need for accessible, lower-cost veterinary care in our community is great. Since 2011  through project CARE (Community Animal Retention Effort), we’ve had the privilege to help pet owners in our community retain their pets during times of hardship. Our vision to house a lower-cost veterinary clinic for lower-income families in our community helps remove the financial barrier in keeping families together.

Create a More Supportive Environment for People and Pets

The diverse needs of the animals and people we see in our facility today are tremendous. The families we serve are equally diverse—some come to us filled with hope and joy as hey look to find their new best friend and perfect match, while others are weighed down by the painful decision to surrender their cherished pet. Regardless of the situation, these are intimate experiences for all of the people who come to the APL and life-changing experiences for the animals involved. Our expanded and renovated facility will provide the needed space and environment for our staff and volunteers to thoughtful and privately interact and engage with our clients and animals.

New Intake Lobby

Promotes a functional and hospitable environment for families and animals who seek the APL’s services.

  • A large reception desk facilitates friendly interactions with staff and volunteer who can help direct families to the appropriate place
  • Dogs and cats comfortably wait in separate areas before entering species-specific exam rooms
  • Counseling nooks provide a private place for APL staff to interact with someone struggling with the difficult decision to rehome a pet and help identify resources that may help him or her keep his or her pet
Remodeled Adoption Lobby

Fosters personalized experiences for families looking to adopt

  • Designated APL greeter desk where staff and volunteers can welcome and direct community members to cat, dog and small mammal adoption areas
  • Three counseling nooks provide a private place for families to discuss how a new pet will fit into their home
  • Education materials on common pet ownership questions conveniently placed throughout the lobby
Case Study: A day in the life of Dr. Allison Lash—Head of Veterinary Services, Cleveland APL
Case Study: A day in the life—Migna, Dexter’s Owner
Construction Phasing Plan