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Clear The Shelters: Mike Polk Jr. checks out Herps Alive reptile rescue

If you’re a warm-hearted person looking for a cold-blooded pal, there’s a place in South Euclid that would be happy to help you out.

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — Clear the Shelters is a great program that works. And why wouldn’t it?  I mean really, how hard is it to get people to adopt adorable cats and dogs? They're just so darn cute!

But cats and dogs are NOT the only adoptable pets on the scene. If you're looking for a lizard, snake, or turtle, there are plenty waiting for you right here, at Herps Alive, a non-profit located in South Euclid. I sat down with the foundation’s Executive Director Keith Gisser to learn more about Northeast Ohio's only reptile rescue, their most popular family pets, and how you can help get involved.

"We specialize in taking in unwanted, neglected, and abused reptiles. [Then] rehabilitating them and then finding new homes for them," Gisser explained.

Keith told me Herps Alive is one of only two reptile rescues in all of Ohio, so they cover a lot of ground and work with many other rescues who aren't equipped to handle these special creatures.

"You have to remember, the care of a chihuahua and the care of a great dane are pretty similar... yeah a great dane needs more space, needs more food, of course, but the basic care is the same," he explained. "If you talk about a tortoise there are sub-tortoises that are tropical - some are desert some are varying temperate areas so each one requires totally different care. You can't just keep them next to each other in the same cage, so there's a lot more work that goes into it and the regular humane organizations just don't have that expertise."

Keith showed me some pretty fantastic animals including a bearded dragon and two ball snakes, and there are more than 350 animals just waiting to be adopted here.

And while I know reptile ownership is not everyone’s bag - if you’re a warm-hearted person looking for cold-blooded pal, now you know exactly where to go. 

This year's Clear The Shelters campaign starts August 23rd and runs through September 19th. There will be 20 local rescue groups and shelters participating. 

Past Coverage of Clear the Shelters: