Love of animals earns Bay resident citywide honors

Nancy Brown with her pup, Sunshine.

For furry friends in need, Nancy Brown is a friend indeed. For over 20 years, Nancy has advocated for dogs and cats in Bay Village. She partners with the police department and animal control officer when support is needed for dogs who are lost, abandoned or have medical issues. She has strong working relationships with local veterinarians to contact in emergency cases and dog adoptions. And she is always willing to serve as a community resource for pet owners in need of references for animal care.

Nancy’s dedication to the animals in her community was among the many reasons that the Bay Village Community Council last month selected her as the 2024 Bay Village Citizen of the Year.

She has been a leading force in the effort to curb puppy mills in Ohio and abroad, calling attention to abused and mistreated dogs. Nancy’s compassion for vulnerable animals drives her to help as many as she can.

“Too many animals have suffered and died unnecessarily,” Nancy said. “Animals are a gift and should be cherished, cared for and respected for their purpose.”

In addition to her personal in-home pet care business, Hot Diggity Dog, Nancy helps to coordinate the annual St. Raphael pet blessing and solicits pet food for the St. Barnabas Community Cupboard. She is also active in the Bay Village Women’s Club and has supported the League of Women Voters and Village Project, among other civic organizations.

Perhaps Nancy’s most substantial contribution to the welfare of needy pets in Bay Village has been her work to replace the rundown kennel located at the Bay service garage on Naigle Road. Spanning over a decade and two mayoral administrations, she has lobbied intensely for the city to create a more fitting shelter for lost and abandoned pets.\

The effort culminated last year in a major fundraising campaign, which was chosen by the Bay Village Community Council as the 2024 Project of the Year.

The New Bay Village Dog Kennel Fund, a nonprofit organization with Nancy as president, set out in early 2023 with the goal of raising the $50,000 that city leaders deemed necessary to rebuild the kennel. In only 8 months and with the support of numerous community partners, the target was reached.

The fund’s organizers, including Carol Hall, vice president, and Betsy Leyen, treasurer, solicited donations via fundraisers at Bay businesses, applied for and received a grant from the Bay Village Foundation, involved local students in marketing efforts through the high school’s Advanced Digital Media Class and Key Club, and partnered with the Kiwanis Club and Westerly School’s K-Kids Club for a fundraising activity.

"In all of the projects I’ve been involved with over my 20 years living in Bay Village, I have never seen this level of receptivity to our goal,” Betsy Leyen said. “Our job of fundraising was made so much easier due to the overwhelming support from residents throughout Bay and the surrounding community. Virtually every business and hundreds of citizens wanted to help, either through donations or volunteering."

The Kennel Fund’s largest event was the well-attended Bark in the Park fundraiser, which netted $6,000 each for the kennel and host organization BAYarts. A second iteration of the popular event is already being planned for this summer to offset the cost of maintaining the new kennel, which the group hopes will be completed in late spring.

"A very dedicated team of volunteers continue to contribute to the success of this project by giving of their time, talents and resources,” Nancy said.

A community celebration in honor of Nancy Brown and the New Bay Village Dog Kennel Fund will be announced by the Bay Village Community Council later this year.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:27 AM, 03.05.2024