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What IS the Belmont County Animal Rescue League?

Who We Are

The Belmont County Animal Rescue League (BCARL) is the oldest animal welfare agency in Belmont County, Ohio. We are the first responders and human advocates for animals suffering from abuse and neglect.

When an animal is the most vulnerable, we provide the resources for its rescue, recovery, and re-homing into a loving family. We are Belmont County's ONLY nonprofit dedicated solely to dealing with abused and neglected animals.

The History of BCARL

BCARL was founded in 1974, and from our inception, our focus has been on helping animals in need find loving homes. Currently, we focus solely on abused and neglected animals. We do not accept strays. We do not accept owner surrenders. There are other organizations that do this important work, but our founders—John Pickenpaugh, Dr. Daniel McBride, and Elaine Barnes—knew that if our community was going to make an impact on the serious cases of abuse and neglect of the animals in our care, we were going to need to develop structured, innovative resources.

For almost 50 years, we’ve worked tirelessly to care for the sick, treat the injured, comfort the unwanted, and protect the abused. Whether helping fight abuse and neglect of animals within the community, offering low-cost veterinary services and clinics, or providing outreach and education events throughout the county, our work goes far beyond the walls of our rescue facility.

Our programs have evolved over time to meet the needs of our current community and to reflect the best practices in our rescue community, but one thing has remained true—we endeavor to address animal neglect and cruelty and to see animals placed in loving homes where they can receive the care and comfort they deserve.


Today, we increasingly focus on prevention and the coordination of available local resources to impact the lives of as many animals as possible.

We employ Belmont County’s Humane Agents, sworn in by the county court, to investigate alleged cases of abuse and neglect in order to protect and assist the animals in our community.

We provide outstanding veterinary care, adoption, and field services while confronting the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect through advocacy, training, and education to help families become better equipped at being responsible pet owners.

BCARL manages several programs that assist us in achieving our mission. Our Spay and Neuter Assistance Program helps those who require financial assistance in having their pets spayed or neutered. Our BCARL Cares program offers assistance for a portion of veterinarian bills in cases of extreme emergency. We manage an active Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) Program, which works to control the populations of feral and community cats in Belmont County. And our Transport Partner Program works with shelters and rescues to move animals to their forever homes or fosters.

The Future of BCARL

Because we are a nonprofit, we are only able to offer programming as the funds exist. While our founders were generous enough to leave us with an endowment, they were also wise enough to lay down strict stipulations on its use to ensure that it would survive for generations to come in service to the community. Only a portion of our yearly operating budget is covered by our endowment. The rest of what we do is funded entirely on donations or other private funding.

We are thankful to everyone who supports our non-profit by becoming a member or pledging financial support. Our future is in your hands.

Together, we’re saving lives.

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