Published March 14, 2010 11:52 pm - Prescott the husky dog looked at Diane Carr, his big blue eyes showing some interest and a little concern at the noise she was making.

Dealership donates new van to APL

By MARGIE TRAX PAGE - Staff Writer - Star Beacon

MARGIE PAGE / Star Beacon THE DOGS at the Animal Protective League check out their new ride, donated by Nassief Automotive. Here, Mary Beth Nassief (left) and brother Todd Nassief (far right) present APL board president Diane Carr (with husky Prescott), and APL employee Teresa Shaffer (with collie Ferguson) with a brand new van.

KINGSVILLE - Prescott the husky dog looked at Diane Carr, his big blue eyes showing some interest and a little concern at the noise she was making.

Carr, the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League board president, was squealing with delight and anticipation as Marybeth Nassief pulled into the shelter parking lot in the APL's new van.

The Nassief Automotive dealerships donated the new silver van - complete with decals - to mark the dealership's 55th anniversary.

"When we celebrated 50 years, we gave away a car to a customer. At our 55th anniversary, we couldn't think of a better way to show our appreciation, than by donating a brand new Ford Transit Connect van to the APL," Marybeth Nassief said.

Carr said Marybeth and Todd Nassief donated all the shelter's vehicles.

"They have always provided us with good, used vans to use to transport the animals to the mall shelter, to veterinary care or to rescue shelters," Carr said. "But as the vans got older, the longer trips to rescue shelter became a concern."

There will be no concern now, as the odometer on the new van is under 50 miles.

"This is really just amazing," Carr said.

Marybeth Nassief said her father's legacy lives on with the donation.

"My father was a huge advocate for animals," she said. "He would be so proud to know that the dealership is still working to bring good things to homeless animals and the people who care for them."

Nassief said the staff at the dealerships hope to encourage others to donate to local animal shelters.

"Whether it be financially or with their time in walking the dogs and cuddling the cats ," she said. "The staff and volunteers at the APL do such an admirable job, but they can always use the help, even much-needed supplies for the office or the pets is appreciated."

The Nassief Dealerships have supported both the APL and The Ashtabula County Humane Society over the years by donating vans, needed supplies, sponsoring major fundraisers such as the Boo-Wow Walk and golf outings, collecting pet food, supplies, even cell phones to recycle, in both showrooms on an ongoing basis.

Nassief's sponsored a successful radio remote last year, adopting animals at the dealership. When the APL was in danger of closing, Nassief's donated $100 for every car sold, giving the shelter a check for more than $8,000. Nassief's also sponsors a weekly ad on the Sunday front page of the Star Beacon, which has helped many dogs and cats find new homes, Nassief said.

Marybeth Nassief said she hopes to spread the word of "Don't Shop, Adopt."

"That has become my motto," she said. "Skip the fancy, overpriced dogs and come to the APL, where there is literally every sort of dog you can imagine and they all need homes."

Marybeth Nassief said the donated van is a "thank you" to the community for 55 years of support. The dealerships, and the Nassief family, supports a 'no-kill' policy for local shelters.

"This van is a big part of that philosophy," she said. "If the APL has a good van to get animals to rescue and breed-specific shelters, more animals can find homes and the shelter won't have to euthanize for space."