By KEVIN LIMITI• Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
OTSEGO — Hundreds gathered outside the Susquehanna SPCA’s new facility in Cooperstown for a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, July 17, which they say would help better service the needs of animals who are homeless and in need of caring adoptees.
In spite of the humidity — one young woman apparently fainted during remarks from State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland — the crowd was lively and enthusiastic, some bringing their own dogs to the ceremony.
Stacie Haynes, who as executive director has been at the forefront of this whole project, told the crowd this has been her “dream job” and joked she “hasn’t been home since.”
“I’m a dreamer and optimistic by nature,” Haynes said, but never imagined she’d be “standing on a multi-million dollar campus.”
Haynes thanked the “Shelter Us” capital campaign, which was largely responsible for raising the money necessary to build and open the facility, calling them an “all-star group.”
The Shelter Us Capital Campaign was able to secure a grant from the New York State Animal Capital Fund from the Department of Agriculture and Markets in order to move the facility to state Route 28 near Cooperstown.
Through fundraising, the SPCA was able to raise $5 million, with the new facility costing between $5.2 and $5.3 million.
The reason for the high cost was the special needs of the building itself, which required things like HVAC, sound proofing, water proofing and other accommodations necessary for housing different sorts of animals.
“It’s not like building a regular building,” Henry Gaylord Dillingham, board president, told AllOtsego. “You have to keep animals from smelling each other because it creates stress.”
“We didn’t do anything gold-plated,” Dillingham said, but stressed the need for them to complete the project in the right way that best served the animals. “It’s just a very specialized problem.”
Some of the upgrades for the building included two separate entrances, one for visiting animals and one for animals leaving for new homes, a new sterile surgery room and updated air ventilation.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, Oberacker made some remarks as did Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, who said that he sprayed and neutered a colony of feral cats and has “always had animals.”
“You folks have a wonderful young lady right here,” Tague said of Haynes. “This is a state-of-the-art facility. This is the model of what we need to do not only in New York State but also in the country.”
Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, also praised the SPCA and called the building “the most incredible project I’ve seen in a long time.”
“This is a great way to spend public and private money,” Salka said.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball expressed how important such projects were.
“This is an example of how things work better when we work together,” he said.
Haynes was surprised to tears when Dr. Julie Huntsman revealed a painting she made featuring Haynes and her deceased dog, Ellie, in the hallway of the new building. Ellie was a border collie mixed with golden retriever.
“To describe it in one way would be grateful,” Haynes told AllOtsego.com after the event. “The people that care, who donate, made this possible.”
The new facility had an open house between the times of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.