ASPCA Cares for Nearly 500 Victimized Animals in First Year of Opening Ohio Cruelty Recovery Center, Providing Critical Support to Shelters & Law Enforcement Across the Country

Specialized facility enables local law enforcement to pursue more cruelty cases by alleviating capacity restrictions at regional brick-and-mortar shelters
November 14, 2023

Columbus, Ohio–The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced its Cruelty Recovery Center in Columbus, Ohio has cared for nearly 500 animals in its first year of operation. The ASPCA Cruelty Recovery Center (CRC) is a permanent facility dedicated to the recovery of some of the country’s most vulnerable animals, including those rescued from large-scale animal cruelty situations such as hoarding, animal fighting, and puppy mills, as well as emergency situations like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires. The over 100,000-square-feet space supports the ASPCA’s national anti-cruelty work, which has resulted in the rescue of more than 35,000 animal victims of cruelty and disasters across 38 states in the past 12 years.

In partnering with shelters and law enforcement agencies across the country, the CRC ensures that when regional brick-and-mortar shelters do not have the resources and capacity to take in a large population of animals, they can focus their lifesaving work on other animals in their communities while the ASPCA provides ongoing care for victims of cruelty and disasters. At the CRC, rescued animals who are part of criminal cases receive forensic veterinary exams and behavior evaluations, medical and behavioral care, enrichment, and ongoing sheltering until legal disposition is determined and they are ready for adoption. The facility’s medical and behavioral teams ensure animal victims of abuse, neglect and national disasters receive specialized care to heal both physically and psychologically. The CRC equips the ASPCA to assist local law enforcement with animal cruelty cases that put significant pressure on individual agencies, in addition to animal shelters.

With more animals entering and fewer leaving shelters, animal welfare organizations are caring for more animals than before, making it increasingly difficult for local organizations to take on large-scale cruelty cases in their community and underscoring the need for facilities like the CRC.

“The Cruelty Recovery Center enables us to provide expert physical and psychological care for large numbers of rescued animals and share insights from that unique work with animal welfare professionals nationwide,” said ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker. “As a result, more victimized animals recover from their trauma, shelters and rescues have more options to support their at-risk animals, and more animal cruelty investigations can proceed because there’s a place for seized animals to go. With the CRC, animals in crisis have somewhere safe to stay, heal, and eventually get second chances to be adopted and thrive.”

In September 2023, the ASPCA helped rescue and transport nearly 120 dogs found living in filthy and dangerous conditions in Louisiana to the CRC to receive much-needed treatment and prepare them for adoption. In August, over 100 dogs rescued from alleged cruelty arrived from a property in Texas where they were exposed to extreme heat, had little access to fresh food and water, and some were suffering from untreated medical conditions. Before that, nearly 90 dogs the ASPCA removed from unsanitary conditions at a breeding operation in Wisconsin were transported to the CRC, and in winter 2022, more than 80 large breed dogs, many of whom needed critical veterinary treatment for infections and emaciation and behavioral care due to severe fear and undersocialization, arrived in a historic transport via a 747-cargo plane after being rescued from horrific conditions in Nevada. In between these cases, homeless animals displaced by tornadoes made their way to the CRC for a second chance.

The CRC and other ASPCA facilities provide a unique opportunity for experts to study shelter animal behavior and develop treatment protocols to resolve behavior problems, advancing the animal welfare field at large. In a September 2022 ASPCA survey of shelters and rescues from all 50 states, more than two-thirds of shelter professionals said their inability to manage the frequency and severity of animal behavior needs is a top barrier to placing animals into adoptive homes. The ASPCA offers in-person and virtual learning opportunities for sheltering professionals, helping other animal welfare organizations provide behavioral support for countless shelter animals facing barriers to adoption.

“Collaboration and expertise are cores value for Columbus Humane and we are grateful for the mutually beneficial partnership we have with the ASPCA,” said Columbus Humane CEO Rachel Finney. “Because of our work together, Columbus Humane staff have access to training and development opportunities and we’re able to assist their team with adoption and veterinary services.  The animals, organizations and community all benefit and that’s a big win.”

For more information on the ASPCA’s work to help vulnerable and victimized animals across the country, please visit