If Owners Must Abandon Pets,
Pet Food, Kennel Space Ready
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA, doesn’t want anyone’s pet to go hungry during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We have a very well-stocked pet food pantry,” she said. “People can call or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us what they need, and we will leave it out front with a note for them to pick up.”
Delivery options are also available for those who may not have transportation, Haynes added.
Donations are left to sit for a minimum of 72 hours, she said, and are handled with gloves in order to avoid spreading germs.
The pantry was part of the emergency preparedness plan put together by consultant Barbara Carr in early March.
“She said that this was about to become an issue and that we not only needed to be ready for it, but we needed to be leaders,” she said. “So we put together an emergency preparedness plan.”
Included in that plan were stockpiling six months of supplies and hosting an adoption event in order to empty out the kennels and cages. “It was extremely successful,” she said. “We wanted to clear out those cages in case people get sick, we can offer emergency boarding.”
Adoptions are still ongoing, but the shelter is only open by appointment on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
And with many people working from home, she said that there has been an outpouring of offers to foster animals. “We’ve had more fosters than ever before,” she said. “And normally, we don’t have people foster younger animals because they get adopted quicker, but because we have such limited hours, we are letting people foster them.”
Ten puppies recently came to the shelter, and all are with families. “We’ve seen that it’s actually a really good thing,” she said. “The foster families are able to socialize, house-train and get them used to a leash, so when they are adopted, their chances of success in a home is that much better.”
They’ve also taken things digital, moving their New Leash on Life thrift store and their annual Cider Run 5K online.
“We’ve had a virtual accompaniment to the race in the past, especially with people who couldn’t come that weekend, but still wanted to participate” she said. “So it wasn’t that hard to transition to an all-virtual race.”
Virtual run participants are invited to share videos and photos of their experience throughout the day on the Cider Run Facebook page, and the Cider Run committee will announce winners in various categories, including farthest run, most scenic route, participants with the most dogs and more, on Monday, April 27.
“It can be as serious or as silly as you want it to be,” she said.