Kelly Ann Rada, a veterinarian and medical director at Toledo-based Humane Ohio, died suddenly on Wednesday, the organization said. She was 38.
The cause of death was unclear late Wednesday.
"We are trying to wrap our heads around her sudden passing, but at the same time are quickly working through the logistics at Humane Ohio so we can continue to serve our clients and animal shelter/rescue group partners in the coming weeks because there was no bigger spay/neuter advocate than Kelly, and that’s what she’d want," group spokesman Jill Borkowski said.
"Her legacy will live on through the life-saving work we do at Humane Ohio every day. When we reach a time of no more homeless pets, it’ll be because she played such a huge part in getting us there."
Dr. Rada graduated from Ohio State University Veterinary College in 2002. Before coming to Humane Ohio, she worked at a high-volume spay/neuter clinic in Jacksonville and in animal control in Jacksonville and Miami.
She started Shelter Vet to Go in Toledo to help rescue groups in need.
At Humane Ohio, she performed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of low-cost spay and neuter surgeries on cats and dogs.
Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle brought Dr. Rada in as a consultant to help with changes at the pound, including the addition of a surgical suite.
Dr. Rada also worked as a veterinarian on a contract basis before the dog warden hired a full-time veterinarian.
"She was a wonderful advocate for animals in our community," Ms. Lyle said. "She treated both her human and animal clients with the utmost respect and concern. We will miss her."
Dr. Rada assisted many local rescue groups, including supporting the Lucas County Pit Crew’s advocacy for "pit bull"-type dogs and helping the group provide rabies shots in the community, said Jean Keating, executive director of the Lucas County Pit Crew.
"Dr. Kelly was a staunch advocate for animals, a dedicated volunteer, and a good friend. Her enormous heart and ever-present smile will be forever missed," Ms. Keating said.
Services and arrangements are pending.
Contact Tanya Irwin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6066.