Dog inspires formation of Middletown animal rescue group

A Middletown woman, inspired by the rescue of an abused German shepherd found emaciated and flea infested and tied to a tree, has founded a non-profit animal rescue bearing the dog’s name.

Joseph’s Legacy strives to regain hope and respect for all animals through a dedicated network of volunteers and foster homes for all creatures, according to founder Meg Melampy.

In September 2013, Melampy spearheaded the rescue of Joseph from a Middletown backyard where he had been tied up an ignored for months. The owner was prosecuted, Joseph was nursed back to health and has been placed in a forever home through PAWS adoption center.

Melampy, a PAWS volunteer, had been rescuing the most helpless of animals before finding Joseph, but turned her efforts up a notch after the dog’s rescue.

Joseph’s Legacy now comprises 35-plus active volunteers who have saved the lives of more than 60 animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rabbits, according to Melampy.

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“Our mission is hope and respect for all animals … including those in need of costly medical care, who would otherwise be turned away,” Melampy said.

Melampy and volunteer Lisa Oney, also of Middletown, are actively helping to control colonies of stray and feral cats.

Through a grant from Ohio Alleycat Rescue in Cincinnati that operates a low-cost spay and neuter clinic, an estimated 125 feral cats have been trapped, “fixed” and re-released in Middletown by Joseph’s Legacy, Oney said.

The animals, many of which were abandoned, are able to live out their natural lives without increasing the feline population.

“The fact is not all cats want to be inside, and you can’t take home every cat, believe me I have tried,” said Oney, adding that the program allows the best life for “alley” cats.

Last week, Joseph’s Legacy received its 501(c)3 designation from the IRS. This designation gives the organization the ability to accept donations that are tax-deductible to the donor.

“This is a major stepping stone for the growth of our organization,” Melampy said. “Now we can tell people they can take donations to Joseph’s Legacy off on their tax returns, because the IRS has researched us and approves of what we are doing.”

In addition to growing contributions to the organization, the new charitable designation will open doors concerning grants and corporate donations.

“Many foundations have grant applications that require a non-profit be a 501(c)3, and many large companies also look for that status before they will sponsor an event,” said Dawn Palazotto, treasurer of the organization.

For more information about volunteering, visit the Joseph’s Legacy page on Facebook. Contributions may be mailed to: Joseph’s Legacy, P.O. Box 3, Middletown, OH, 45042

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