News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Susquehanna Animal Shelter

‘Shelter Us’ Campaign Up Goal To $5 Million


‘Shelter Us’ Campaign

Ups Goal To $5 Million

One of the most recent artist’s rendering of the new Susquehanna Animal Shelter, to be built on Route 28 near Phoenix Mills Road., Index.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – It hasn’t been easy, but in the year since the Susquehanna SPCA launched its “Shelter Us” capital campaign to build a new animal shelter, more than $3.2 million has been donated towards the project.

“We’ve had a lot of support, and we’re so grateful,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “But it’s always challenging. We’re trying to raise money for our capital campaign, but also we need to raise funds for our annual operations, keeping the lights and heat on and the animals fed.”

Although the SQSPCA’s original goal was $2 million, additions to the planned project have pushed the fundraising goal to $5 million.


Holiday Market At Bassett


ANGEL TREE PROGRAM – Give the Gift of Christmas this holiday season. Adopt a family in need. Family sponsors should drop gifts at The Freeman’s Journal Office in Cooperstown or at The Salvation Army in Oneonta. Visit to learn how.

HOLIDAY MARKET – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Find unique gifts at pop-up holiday market. Lobby, Bassett Healthcare Clinic. 1 Atwell Dr., Cooperstown.

Zoe Is Cancer Free

Zoe Cancer-Free,

Cornell Tests Find

Zoe has been declared cancer-free by the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

COOPERSTOWN –  Zoe, the dog rescued from Exeter Center after she chewed off her own leg, has been declared cancer-free by veterinarians at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, executive director Stacie Haynes reported just moments ago.

“According to the pathology report, the complete surgical excision is expected to be curative,” said Haynes. “They believed it was just a fatty mass, which is common in dogs her age. Zoe is cancer-free.”

$5K Raised For Zoe As Biopsy Results Await

$5K Raised For Zoe

As Biopsy Results Await

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Zoe takes a rest in her new Butternuts home.

COOPERSTOWN – At first glance, you wouldn’t know Zoe was a miracle.

“When I went to visit; she was jumping and playing like any normal dog,” said Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director. “If you didn’t look at her leg, you wouldn’t think she was any different.”

Just two weeks ago, the 9-year-old German shepherd was found chained outside of 605 County Highway 22, just northwest of Exeter Center, without food or water, having chewed off her own leg in an attempt to reduce the pain from an 11-pound tumor on her shoulder.

In a high-risk surgery on Thursday, Nov. 21, veterinarians at Cornell University Hospital for Animals were able to remove the tumor and are awaiting the results of the biopsy.

“If it is cancerous, the vets believe she’s a good candidate for radiation or chemo,” said Haynes. “And people have donated more than $5,000, so we can afford her care.”

Surgeons also removed Zoe’s leg at the shoulder, but Haynes said the dog will learn to navigate just fine on three legs. She was shaved and given stitches, but now sports a Cornell t-shirt to keep her warm and prevent her from biting the stitches.

Dr. Christine Schneider of the Pittsfield Vet Clinic “has been taking care of her since we got her, and she’ll be able to go up and take out her stitches when the time comes.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Zoe’s owner, Carl K. Prichard, 59, was charged with her abuse.

Though Haynes believed Zoe was intended to be a guard dog, but wouldn’t have been a very good one: Even after undergoing the ordeal, she’s been friendly, with “no standoffs or growling.”

Unilaterally, SSPCA Plans To Levy Fees On County, Towns

Unilaterally, SSPCA

Plans To Levy Fees

On County, Towns

Sternberg Speaks On Shelter’s Behalf

At This Evening’s 2020 Budget Hearing

Richard Sternberg, who said he was speaking on behalf of the SSPCA Board of Directors, tells the county Board of Representatives the Shelter plans to unilaterally impose a fee schedule Jan. 1 on government entities that use its services. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

County board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, said, since no money is included in the 2020 budget for the shelter, the topic could not be raised at this evening’s public hearing.

COOPERSTOWN – Richard Sternberg, saying he was acting on behalf of the Susquehanna SPCA, told what appeared to be a partly surprised county Board of Representatives this evening that the Shelter will begin unilaterally levying fees Jan. 1 on county entities and towns that require its services.

“We will be initiating a billing system,” said Sternberg, the retired Bassett surgeon and Cooperstown village trustee, who said he was acting as an adviser to the Shelter’s Board of Directors.

Speaking at the public hearing on the 2020 county budget at the county courthouse, he said when Executive Director Stacie Haynes’ time is required, a fee of $80 an hour will be levied, with quarter-hour increments.  For other staff members, it will be a $40 hour fee, plus $30 per day for caring for each animal housed at the shelter, and 65 cent per mile mileage if staffers’ or Shelter vehicles are used.

Zoe On The Mend After An 11-Pound Tumor Is Removed


Zoe On The Mend

After An 11-Pound

Tumor Is Removed

Dog Cared For At Butternuts Farm;

Biopsy Will Determine What’s Next

Media darling Zoe undergoes her first interview (with Peter Eliopoulos of WTEN, Albany) at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter this evening.  The stitches are visible on her left shoulder.   (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes recounts the harrowing day Zoe spent at Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

HARTWICK SEMINARY – “A Thanksgiving Miracle” arrived at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter a few minutes ago.

That’s how Zoe, 9, the German shepherd who was found with a front leg chewed off in Exeter Center last week, was described by SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes  as the two arrived back from the Cornell University Hospital for Animals shortly before 6 p.m.

“She’s so nice,” said Haynes.  “It’s like incredible.”

At the hospital in Ithaca earlier today, veterinarians told Haynes that Zoe’s condition was “risky.”  A CT scan had shown the fatty mass in the dog’s left shoulder was so close to key arteries an operation might kill her.

“We might lose her,” the doctor told Haynes.

Razing Makes Way For Animal Shelter

Razing Makes Way

For Animal Shelter

SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes and Rick Bliss, Lane Construction’s Cooperstown manager, confer Tuesday, Aug. 6, as the site of the future animal shelter on Route 28 was cleared. (Jim Kevlin/

by LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


The Susquehanna SPCA is just over the halfway point.

“We’ve received $1.9 million in our Shelter Us campaign,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director.

The campaign will help build the SQSPCA’s new shelter, which will have a groundbreaking ceremony at the new site at noon on Saturday, Aug. 24.  (The acronym was changed from SSPCA to avoid confusion with four other SPCAs.)

Tweedie Construction, Walton, began the demolition on the first of the two houses on the site on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and within three hours, the abandoned house was in rubble.

“That site will serve as parking for the groundbreaking,” said Haynes. “We’ll take down the second house afterwards.”

Haynes debuted the plans in front of a packed house at the Town of Otsego Planning board the evening of the demolition.

“The SPCA isn’t just a volunteer organization, it’s a professional one,” said Randy Velez, Cooperstown. “There’s a professional level that needs to be maintained and the county depends on it.”

“I love the SPCA and the animals here and it needs to have a new building,” said Phoebe Needle, 9, the granddaughter of SQSPCA board chair and board member respectively, Gaylord and Nicole Dillingham.

The board approved the site plan and the special use permit.

“We want to build the best shelter we can build,” said Haynes. “This property has a safe location, better parking, and our volunteers won’t be walking dogs alongside Route 28.”

Consultant Barbara Carr has been assisting them in designing the shelter. “We’re so fortunate to have her at this critical time because she has helped build shelters,” said Haynes. “She can tell us what we have some wiggle room on and what we absolutely cannot cut.”

At the groundbreaking, visitors will finally have a chance to see full renderings of the proposed project, including a floor plan and artist rendering.

The ceremony will also include photographs with the shelter’s new mascots. “Everybody likes animals, but some people are more cat people or dog people,” she said. “So we found costumes for both!”

Visitors are also encouraged to bring shelter “alumni” – or any pet – for the photo booth. No furry friend for the booth? The shelter will have animals available to adopt, this month at half-price.

The new project goal has been raised from $2 million to  $3 million, which will cover the costs of acquiring the new site, as well as demolition, work costs and constructing a building for the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop.

Anita Vitullo, New Hartford, Staffworks’ CEO, pledged to match donations up to $250,000 through October first, and the initial funding of $500,000 came through the state Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant through the Department of Agriculture & Markets.

The new shelter will allow them to expand their capacity for intake, care and adoptions. The shelter is currently struggling with an influx of kittens

Earlier this week, Haynes said, three kittens and a mother were trapped behind the Mirabito on Oneida Street in Oneonta. “A woman called us and said that she was from out of town and was leaving, but that she couldn’t sleep knowing that kittens were starving back there.”

Additionally, on Tuesday afternoon, two mother cats and two kittens were brought in suffering from severe flea infestations. “We have waiting list of 50 cats,” she said. “And that’s why we’re doing our ‘Study Buddy’ adoption program.”

The “Study Buddy” adoptions will go through the end of August and cut adoption fees for cats and kittens in half.


And with the groundbreaking planned, Hayes anticipates that they will be in the new space by next summer.

“One way or another,” she said. “We will be in our new building within a year.”


SSPCA’s PETS Team Rescues Cat ‘Birdie’, Speared Through Eye


Rescues Cat ‘Birdie’,

Speared Through Eye

Staffer Showed How Trained Personnel
Can Respond In Emergency, Director Says
Recuperating “Birdie” purrs for its benefactor, PETS team member Allison Hungerford.

MARYLAND – Birdie the cat, stuck to a bird feeder with a wire piercing its eye, was rescued June 13 by the county’s new animal cruelty task force, PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the SSPCA announced today.

It was feared the cat would have to be put down but, with care and treatment at the Hartwick Seminary shelter, it now seems Birdie will be fine.

“We are proud to work with first responders who care about animals, and on this day that was certainly the case,” said Stacie Haynes, SSPCA executive director.

Two Pigs Seized From Pittsfield Farm

Neglected Pigs Seized

From Pittsfield Farm

Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA, feeds the two five month old pigs seized last night from a farm in Pittsfield. According to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., a neighbor heard noises coming from a barn on County Highway 18 in Pittsfield and, upon inspection, found two dead pigs. Further inspection located the two living pigs without food, hay or water, and the neighbors reported it to the Sheriff’s Department. The investigation into animal cruelty is ongoing. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO,com)
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