When the Susquehanna SPCA learned last February it had won $500,000 from Governor Cuomo’s Companion Animal Capital Fund, Executive Director Stacie Haynes sought bids to upgrade the aging shelter in Hartwick Seminary.
To a person, all of the prospective contractors said: Don’t spend a half-million on this building, Haynes related the other day in an interview leading up to the
announcement in this week’s edition of “Shelter Us,” a $2 million capital campaign to build a brand new animal shelter.
A tour the other day brought the insurmountable challenges of the compound at 4841 Route 28 into focus.
One, there’s not enough room. But, two, the particle-board walls and semi-porous concrete floors are simply impossible to keep clean. All the scrubbing by staff and volunteers can’t remove the stains, mold and smell. In effect, the complex is generally worn out.
It’s time for a change.
This year, the shelter proved its worth – if there was ever any doubt:
• On Friday the 13th of April, shelter volunteers were called to a nightmarish scene at a farm near Garrattsville to oversee the emergency relocation of 103 starving and neglected animals – donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, Pyrenees, even a parakeet.
• On Wednesday, May 16, Fox Hospital discovered 19 kittens in a plastic bag in a restroom, abandoned. Haynes’ assistance, Becca Daly of Oneonta, took over the care of the 5-day-old cats, and the SPCA found foster homes for the other 14.
• On Tuesday, Oct. 2, sheriff’s deputies rescued 53 tiny Lhasa Apsos packed in a Milford home, and dropped them off for medical care at the shelter. Within a week, the animals had been put on the path to health and adoption.
• Just 20 days later, on Monday, Oct. 22, a shelter team retrieved four pigs left in a shed at the far end of a dirt road in Laurens.
All this is done by a modest professional staff, assisted by more than 100 volunteers, people like Arlene Nygren of Goodyear Lake, young Bob Wood (not the supervisor) of Oneonta, Cat Chicorelli of Cherry Valley, Betty Steele of Hartwick, and many more – our neighbors, contributing selflessly to Otsego County’s greater good.
This requires a substantial budget, a little over $600,000 this year. About $100,000 comes from foundations, but the rest through revenues from a well-run thrift shop, fund-raising programs and donations.
A tiny part of this money – about $7,500 a year – comes from individual contracts with 18 towns to take care of animals seized by dog-control officers. While deputies and state troopers drop off animals as necessary, no operating funds come from county and state coffers.
For almost 100 years now, the Susquehanna SPCA has been largely a volunteer effort, funded by people who care. In the difficult decade our nation has gone through, here’s an example of good citizenship that shines bright.
Now, we all have the opportunity to get involved, through “Shelter Us.”
The $2 million campaign is off to a good start with the $500,000 grant, and another $180,000 donated through the “quiet phase” of the campaign. Now, the public is being invited to give, to ensure a quality future for an organization that has proved its worth to the Otsego County community at large.
The beauty of “Shelter Us” is there’s an opportunity and a need for everyone to contribute according to our means. The important thing is to make this one-time contribution now.
The original plan was to launch the campaign in the new year, but an opportunity has arisen: Anita Vitullo of the Utica area, founder of Staffworks, which has an Oneonta office, has offered to match a dollar for every dollar donated in December, up to $10,000, to “Shelter Us.”
So double your money – and the shelter’s – by donating during the month of December.
The Susquehanna SPCA has been serving the community for 100 years. Now’s the time to build a foundation for the second hundred years for an institution that’s not only essential, but widely revered.
Firefighter Derek West, in top photo, pours water on the remains of 4703 Route 28, Hartwick Seminary, from atop a Milford Volunteer Fire Department engine, assisted by his dad Damon and Wade Thayer. Hartwick #2 Fire Chief David Bryant, the officer in charge at the scene, walks by the apparatus. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. today, and more than a half-dozen departments responded, Bryant said. Seven people were living in the home; no one is injured, and the Red Cross assisted the family, not yet officially identified, to find temporary lodging, he said. The home, earlier photo inset, located directly across Route 28 from NBT Bank’s Cooperstown Commons’ office, was a total ruin. In addition to Hartwick #2 and Milford, responding departments included Hartwick #1 from the hamlet, Cooperstown, Fly Creek and Mount Vision. Schuyler Lake sent a pumper to assist. Bryant, who estimated 60 firefighters were at the scene at the peak, said this fire is the worst his department has dealt with since the Milford United Methodist Church burned on March 12, 2016. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening exhibit by Central New York Watercolor Society and Luck of the Draw exhibit, buy tickets, enter to win artwork, final drawing 10/21. Cooperstown Art Association. 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
RELEASE PARTY – 7 p.m. Celebrate first ever issue of The Green Zine, a collection of art & writing from local artists published by The Green Toad Book Store. Grab a copy, eat, drink, celebrate. Roots Brewing Company, 175 Main St., Oneonta. 607-433-8898 or visit www.facebook.com/TheGreenToadBookstore/
COOPERSTOWN – Betty P. Ingalls, 95, passed away Wednesday morning, July 25, 2018, at her home in the Cooper Lane Apartments in Cooperstown with her son and daughter-in-law at her side.
She was born Dec. 20, 1922, in Binghamton, a daughter of Walter F. and Beatrice (Marvin) Niles. After graduating from high school, she attended Wheaton College, where she received a bachelor’s degree. She then attended the SUNY Oneonta, where she became certified as a teacher.
HARTWICK SEMINARY – The Susquehanna Animal Shelter assisted county sheriff’s deputies early this morning in an animal cruelty investigation, and now is helping “re-home” more than 90 farm animals, shelter Director Stacie Haynes reported a few minutes ago.
The shelter on Route 28 in Hartwick Seminary also took over the housing and caring of eight dogs and one cat.
If you are interested in rescuing a farm animal, please call the shelter up until 7 p.m. today at 547-8111.
Ari Ajakh, left, and Lily Vilacky, top photo, both of Cooperstown, are a little leery of the kittens available at Saturday afternoon’s Festival of Cats at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter in Hartwick Seminary. Because this is the kitten time of year, the shelter was overloaded, and Executive Director Stacie Haynes came up with the idea of waiving the adoption fee to find as many homes as possible for the strays. Hot dogs and other goodies added to the attraction. At right, the Fauths of Oneonta – mom Kristin and daughter Juliana – are tempted to take a kitten home, as Charlotte DeGarmo of Jefferson looks on. The shelter serves all Otsego County. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
OPEN HOUSE – Noon-3 p.m. Talk to representatives of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Ladies Axiliaries, Amvets, Sons of the the American Legion, and others. Cooperstown Veterans Club, 60 Main St., Cooperstown.
GARDEN PARTY – 1-4 p.m. Treat Mom to a garden party that includes tea and treats on the veranda, a maypole and live music for dancing, activities, and a first look at a new exhibit by the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Free, all welcome. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Rd., Springfield. Info, hydehall.org/event/celebrate-mom-garden-party/ or call (607) 547-5098