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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: STARelief and Pet Assistance mission is to provide life-saving veterinary care, pet food, emergency boarding and foster care to pets whose families are struggling with financial hardship. Join us. Company Overview STARelief is a group of volunteers dedicated to keeping pets & families together during hard financial times. We do this by providing free life saving pet food and veterinary care, as well as assisting families with spaying & neutering their pets. Our goal is to lessen the amount of animals that are left behind or relinquished to local animal shelters. We donate pet food to low income, seniors, disabled & the homeless with pets. In these difficult times, many families are faced with the hard decision of giving up their pet, because they can no longer properly care for them. This accounts for most of the 3-4 million pets that are destroyed in shelters each year in the United States. STAR hopes to decrease this burden on families by supplying food and supplies. Families should not have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets. We are one of the only organizations of our kind in the area & the need for our help keeps growing each week. As animal shelters fill up and as families struggle, STAR Pet Food Pantry is committed to making a difference in our community in a whole new way. We service the Westchester, Fairfield and New Haven counties. Description STARelief and Pet Assistance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping pets happy, healthy and in their homes.

Results: Donated over 24,000 pounds of lifesaving pet food. Provided over $63,205 in veterinary care to pets in need. Prevented over 317 animals from being surrendered to local animal shelters.

Target demographics: Seniors on a fixed income, Low-income, unemployed, pets of domestic violence, current and ex-military personnel, and people with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 216 individuals and families

Geographic areas served: National Organization

Programs: Pet Food Pantry Home For Life Veterinary Grants Pets For Military Vets Safe Pet Foster Program

Community Stories

78 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

I am so impressed by the love, dedication, and hard work of STAR. My sweet cat Honey was rescued by STAR from a terrible hoarding situation of many cats and dogs living in atrocious conditions. She is an absolute joy, and I am so grateful that she was rescued and now with my family.


Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War. Just 3 months ago I was provided with a companion dog to help me with some serious issues. His name is Red. In the short time that Red's been with me my life has improved 100%. Unfortunately my current situation is one over very little income.

Red started rubbing his ears, so I looked and by my untrained eye I could tell he had a pretty bad ear infection that was causing him pain. I started to panic.... I called several vets to see if they would work with me on the costs, or accept payments. No luck.

I happened across Starelief while scouring the internet. I completed the application and was contacted the next day. The day after that, Red was receiving medical care to the tune of $300+ which Starelief took care of!!

I can never thank them enough!

Scott in West Haven

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I was told that they weren't in any position to assist me even though they accepted applications.


Client Served

Rating: 5

I feel so blessed to have found this organization that lovingly helped me get my adopted shelter cat her exams and shots so we can both be relieved and I feel they should be given huge kudos for their support and customer service!


Client Served

Rating: 5

November 10, 2016.

God bless the great folks behind the veil at STARelief org. and the generosity of all who donate to this great program. Special thanks to the board for their compassion and expertise in recognizing when a familys plea is dire and genuine.
I am a disabled veteran and my pension was terminated leaving me with only 133 monthly income. I have a family of five that includes myself, wife, son, 5 yo Eskie "Levi", and cat. With limited income i was unable to provide flea treatment for my pets and as it turned out Levi eveloped a severe reaction from fleabites and began knawing at his back pulling hair out in clumps. His situation was extreme so I had to act fast.
I went online first to diagnose > flea dermtitus - allergic reaction to flea saliva.
Next I tried to find home remedies that would help at all with some good success.
I was able to make his head gear to prevent anymore self mutilation and creation of any more open sores.
I found that Benedryl would help relieve some itching and i could use the extra betadine from my surgery to clean and disinfect his wounds until healed enough to clean with baby shampoo.
He was now infested w fleas and his sores looked infected. So again i go online and find our pets saving grace. . . STARelief org!
Without Starelief our "Levi" would still be suffering without
the proper medical attention that provided relief from the pain and discomfort of his condition.
Also equally important is the HUGE sigh of relief felt when our feelings of anxiety and helplessness were lifted just by knowing your pet will be comfortable and healthy again!

> Thanks!! TEAM #STARelief
> Grandiose Appreciation,
> Frank, Jordan, Kimberly
> Pets "Levi", & "Stormy"
> Famiily in Need


Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Heather and Shamika and everyone at StaRelief,

My name is Skye, you knew me as Reese. I am writing to say thank you for giving me such a great life. I hear my new mom and dad talking all the time about how much they love me and how amazing their life is now that I am a part of it. They are the best! I go for long walks every day (sometimes 2 miles, usually 4 miles), I get to go to work with my mom every day, dad plays with me when we get home, they take me to the dog park on the weekends so I can play with my friends and be a dog.

Mom tells everyone I am really good at my job as a therapist, that I make everyone smile that comes to see us. Everyone talks about how gentle and smart I am and well trained I am. I guess so, all I know is that mom tells me what she wants me to do, I do it, then I get a belly rub or a treat. Pretty sweet deal for me if you want to know the truth! Anyway, I got to thinking that none of this would have happened for me if it hadn't been for you guys, so thank you. Doesn't seem like enough, but I really mean it. We wanted to help out more, maybe give another dog like me the chance I had, so mom put a check in the mail for you today (I helped her mail it!).

Mom is sending some pictures of me at work. It looks like I lay around a lot, but mom says it's gotta be exhausting for me to be so darn cute that she doesn't blame me one bit. (Like I said, pretty sweet deal!)

I hope you guys are around a LONG time and are able to help a lot more dogs (and people too). Mom says you guys made her world more beautiful when you gave me to her. I'm thinking you changed my world for the better to be sure! Thanks again!


Client Served

Rating: 5

When my cat Joey was sick, STARelief stepped in and helped my Joey out. I had to use their vet which was a good idea. Anyway, they saved my cat Joey life. Thank you STARelief!


Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank god for STARelief and Pet Assistance. Without this organization, my pet Henry would not be alive today.
They are the most kind and caring people in the world.


Client Served

Rating: 5

STARelief is amazing! nothing else to say. They saved my pets' life.


Client Served

Rating: 5

What an organization,Thanks to Stareleif,all 4 of my dogs had the chance to be spayed and neutered as well as recieving wellness checks and shots,we could not have afforded the service otherwise,this made a difference in our lives and our pets.You will find good solid people here who are genuine in wanting to help and doing it.Thank you from the bottom of our hearts

2 catmandude


Rating: 1

As you may be aware, many websites contain fake reviews made by either members of the organization seeking funds, paid 'reviewers' and/or their friends, family members, etc.

Based upon my recent, ABSOLUTELY AWFUL, first-hand experiences with STARelief and its executive director, Heather (detailed below), ONE MUST SERIOUSLY QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF ANY/ALL POSITIVE REVIEWS re: STARelief on this and/or any/all other websites.

In lieu of any available NEGATIVE star ratings (-5 stars wouldn't be a low enough review for STARelief), I give STARelief THE LOWEST POSSIBLE REVIEW AVAILABLE.


PLEASE donate your funds to a verifiable, REPUTABLE organization (i.e. NOT STARelief).

My experiences are detailed below re: the absolute hell that I was forced to experience over the course of the past +/- 2 weeks in my failed efforts to obtain ANY assistance - let alone TIMELY help from STARelief.

As a DIRECT result of across-the-board failures and COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE delays by STARelief and executive director, Heather, my beloved 4-years-young cat, Joey, suffered immeasurably and unnecessarily - then had to be euthanized - FAR too prematurely.

If that wasn't bad enough:

Never receiving payment confirmation to the vet clinic of the paltry, belated, $100 ALLEGED grant, I emailed STARelief 12 days after being approved for the ALLEGED grant - simply requesting email confirmation of payment to the vet clinic.

Instead of providing the reasonably requested confirmation - again: 12 DAYS AFTER THE FACT, Heather withdrew her NON-EXISTENT grant, knowing full-well that STARelief WOULD thereby STIFF my ELDERLY (86 & 90 YEAR-OLD) PARENTS out of reimbursement for any of the $266.95 that they were FORCED to place on their credit card - as a DIRECT result of Heather's COMPLETE and UTTER FAILURE to 'step up to the plate' in a TIMELY manner - or, more accurately: AT ALL.

Rather than utilizing any LEGITIMATE criteria - i.e. for no VALID reason, Heather's decision was based upon her ornery disposition and clearly biased attitude - which was quite evident throughout the entire hellish, grueling, time-wasting and ultimately fruitless application process.

Prior to her decision to retract her paltry $100 grant (that, as it turned out, never existed in the first place), it was CLEARLY explained to Heather (via the email grant payment request confirmation) that my elderly parents are on extremely limited fixed income AND that my 90 year-old Dad is suffering from dementia - which will soon require substantial eldercare costs.

Made no difference, whatsoever, to Heather - as she continued her pattern of sheer callousness by first, retracting the paltry, ALLEGED grant - in a most-condescending and patronizing manner, no less - then abruptly told me (via the same email) to never contact her again. Does it GET any better?

It goes without saying that no human being should EVER treat ANY others in such a manner - whether or not under the guise of 'volunteer'. There's simply no rationale - and NO EXCUSE - for such behavior.

As such, I STRONGLY advise that any and all who may consider donating to this - at best: poorly run (dis-)organization, or at worst: complete sham and/or scam to RUN - not walk away - and FAST. Your (and my future) donation(s) will be FAR better utilized in most ANY organization OTHER than this disgracefully botched operation.

And if there's any justice in this world, it will come in the form of ZERO additional donations to this despicable (dis-)organization - as well as a full-scale investigation + shut-down of its sham operation by the state attorney general's office. An appropriate prison term hopefully awaits, as well.

How Heather can even GLANCE at her own reflection and/or sleep at night is beyond comprehension.

For your reference, below is the copied, pasted and edited email sent 9/14/16 to STARelief executive director, Heather - which speaks for itself:


After this email, I won’t ‘bother’ you again – as my next email will be via formal complaint to the CT State Attorney General’s office (copied on this email) re: the absolute SHAM / SCAM OPERATION that you’re running in Stamford. I’d refer to STARelief as an utter joke – but it would be far too complimentary and there’s NO humor in taking advantage of ANYONE – let alone those in legitimate need.

Additionally, I will post online reviews and comments reflective of my DISGRACEFULLY POOR experiences with you and STARelief – on every available ratings website – including all non-profit review sites - ensuring that NO ONE else receives such despicably callous, un-empathetic, unsympathetic treatment by you as did I.

Unlike you and/or the dis-organization that you claim to ‘run’ – I’ll be 100% transparent:

You never had ANY intention of helping me – PERIOD...

Instead, you took every opportunity to deny my VERY REASONABLE – AND approvable application for financial aid. As admitted by your webmaster, Andy, your online application is rife with tech (AND procedural) issues. As you’re well-aware, the tech issues wiped out my entire first application – on which I worked for several hours (for ALLEGED EMERGENCY care – no less). In addition – as mentioned, you require documents that in many cases (such as mine) do not exist – AND you require ‘estimates’ for vet care.

While I fully understand the need to qualify and quantify applications on the basis of financial need, NO ONE should be denied simply because he/she doesn’t collect unemployment, food stamps, etc. – that’s absolutely absurd. There are other ways to prove that a need exists – however, your website remains shortsighted in its requests for information that may not exist. And worse – it doesn’t provide the applicant any alternate means to provide such information.

I offered to provide you with legitimate, alternative proof of my hardship – yet you failed to take me up on my offer. You then asked me if I would consider driving to Stamford to visit your ‘discount’ vet – then ‘pulled the plug’ on me for simply – and reasonably - asking to check online reviews for your vet (after just being horrified while reading reviews of my 2 most recent vets – as I LONG-awaited your follow-up).

First of all – note to (your)self – and this just in... (as if you didn’t already know): vets are neither car dealer service shops nor home improvement contractors. As such, vets don’t provide ‘estimates’ – especially for emergency pet care. Get real.

Secondly – your definition of ‘emergency’ is more than a tad ‘off’.

How can you claim to offer financial aid for ‘emergency’ pet care (for ‘emergency’ medical treatment for my bleeding and dying cat, Joey – the circumstances of which you were well-aware at that point), then:

A) require that your ungodly, longwinded application process be completed PRIOR to one even receiving ANY (ALLEGED) consideration for EMERGENCY assistance, then...

B) make me wait several HOURS to speak with your webmaster, then...

C) require that I re-apply to even be considered, then...

D) unfairly deny approval due to documents that don’t exist, then...

E) ask if I’ll consider your discount vet, then...


G) unfairly deny approval AGAIN – claiming that it wasn’t an emergency because I checked online for vets who handle emergencies – and their reviews – ALL WHILE AWAITING YOUR REPLY, then...

H) you disappear off the face of the map (AND fail to return the detailed voicemail that I left on your cell phone), then...

I) make me wait several MORE HOURS – AS MY BELOVED CAT, JOEY LAYS SUFFERING, then...

J) spinelessly – in your ‘stead’ (or – more accurately: as you hide under your desk) you have Amy email ‘approval’ of a (very lame), ALLEGED $100 grant (coupled with the threat that if I didn’t accept by day’s end, she’d (ALLEGEDLY) give it to someone else, then...

K) after I email Amy (well-before the day’s end) with my acceptance of said (lame) offer, the ALLEGED grant $ is NEVER sent to [the vet], then...

L) only after I email you to request confirmation that the grant was paid to [the vet], as promised, (shockingly!) you reply with a withdrawal of your ALLEGED ‘grant’ – 12 DAYS AFTER THE FACT?

Instead of doing the right thing (including returning the voicemail left on your cell phone), you cowardly had Amy CLAIM that you were ‘on vacation’. Did your cell phone voicemail go on vacation, too?

Do you make a habit of offering such ALLEGED ‘emergency’ pet care aid – stalling the process long enough so that the affected – and beloved – pet suffers needlessly to near-death (especially when you’re well-aware of the circumstances) – unfairly deny the approval (not once – but twice) – then go ‘on vacation’ without notifying the applicant – mid-process – as the pet is, by then, near death?

As Lincoln stated: ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.’