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susquehanna spca

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11

Noir Double Feature & Discussion

With Local Author Libby Cudmore

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FILM SOCIETY – 7 – 11 p.m. Cooperstown film society presents Noir double feature ‘The Big Clock’ (1948) & ‘An Act of Violence’ (1949) with special guest Libby Cudmore, author ‘The Big Rewind’ & journalist, joining us for dark discussion of black & white crime. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/FilmSocCoop/

OUR Stacie Haynes Among Top 10 U.S. Animal Defenders

OUR Stacie Haynes

Among Top 10 U.S.

Animal Defenders

Animal Legal Defense Fund Singles

Out Local Director For List Of Best

Stacie Haynes

HARTWICK SEMINARY – Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna Animal Shelter executive director, has been named one of America’s Top 10 Animal Defenders by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in San Francisco for serving on “the front lines of enforcing animal protection laws.”

These animal protection heroes will be honored this week, National Justice for Animals Week.

Here’s is the citation: “Stacie Haynes serves as the executive director of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA). In February 2019, Stacie worked with her local district attorney and county sheriff to form the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force.

‘Tortured’ Dogs  Find Foster Home

‘Tortured’ Dogs 

Find Foster Home

As Probe Continues In Franklin,

Susquehanna SPCA Took In 6

Jenilee Metch, Oneonta, hugs Sweetie, left, and Snickers, two of the dogs seized last week who she agreed to foster. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

HARTWICK SEMINARY – What a difference a few days makes.

“All six dogs are doing great,” said Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director. “We’ve named them all after candy, because they’re all so sweet.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Haynes, alongside Karen Matson,  Broome County Humane Society executive director, were called the Delaware Valley Humane Society shelter in Sidney, where Director Erin Insinga, Delaware Valley Humane Society director had taken 17 pit bulls and two German shepherds from a home in Franklin.

“I have never seen animals in such conditions of pain, torture and neglect,” said Insinga. “These dogs were stacked like pieces of furniture in a dark room, their cages were soaked through with vomit, urine and feces.”

“Based on what we saw and what our veterinarians said in their exams, we believe these animals were the victims of dog fighting,” said Haynes.

A Delaware County sheriff’s investigation is underway. The owner, who has not yet been named, did surrender the dogs to the Sidney shelter, allowing treatment to begin.

Because of the limited space there, Haynes took six dogs back to the Susquehanna shelter. “It was really something, seeing three shelters come together to help On of Tuesday, Feb. 11, Jenilee Metch picked up two, Snickers and Sweetie, to foster at her Oneonta home; the four others are recuperating at the shelter.

One, Maple, had a staple in her nose. “At some point, her nose was ripped off,” she said. “They stapled it back on, and then the skin started to grow around the staple.”

The dogs were emaciated upon their arrival, but Haynes said they’ve been fed at regular intervals and are fattening up. “As far as we could tell, all of their health issues were related to the conditions they were kept in,” she said. “Those can heal, and we haven’t seen any lasting health issues.”

Also, their loving personalities are starting to emerge. “Sweetie and Snickers are a year old – we call them puppies – and they want to play,” she said. “And even though some of them are stand-offish, they’re starting to get comfortable when humans approach them.”

“These dogs have suffered so much, but they are so forgiving,” said Insinga. “When you touch them, their tails start wagging. All they want to do is have that human contact.”

Volunteers and staff have been active in taking them out for walks and socializing with them, but Haynes said there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“When you come in the room, they look at you like, is this person going to be my friend or hurt me?” said Haynes. “When we first got them and brought them here, their tails were tucked, they didn’t want to come out of their crates. Even now, we can get them on the leash, but they’re not entirely comfortable.”

And although many people believe pit bulls are dangerous animals, Haynes has seen nothing of the sort. “They’re very athletic, smart and loyal, they love their humans,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean they can go to just any home. “These dogs are too traumatized to be in a crate,” she said. “They need to be with someone who is retired or works from home, someone who can spend a lot of time with them.”

And as soon as word got out that the dogs were at the shelter, Haynes said the requests started coming in. “We had phone calls, emails, messages on Facebook, people coming in,” she said. “We’re working with a behavior specialist to advise us of the best kind of homes for each of them.”

 

 

 

By LIBBY CUDMORE

 

HARTWICK SEMINARY

 

What a difference a few days makes.

“All six dogs are doing great,” said Stacie Haynes, Susquehanna SPCA executive director. “We’ve named them all after candy, because they’re all so sweet.”

Tuesday, Feb. 11,

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Haynes, alongside Karen Matson,  Broome County Humane Society executive director, were called the Delaware Valley Humane Society shelter in Sidney, where Director Erin Insinga, Delaware Valley Humane Society director had taken 17 pit bulls and two German shepherds from a home in Franklin.

“I have never seen animals in such conditions of pain, torture and neglect,” said Insinga. “These dogs were stacked like pieces of furniture in a dark room, their cages were soaked through with vomit, urine and feces.”

“Based on what we saw and what our veterinarians said in their exams, we believe these animals were the victims of dog fighting,” said Haynes.

A Delaware County sheriff’s investigation is underway. The owner, who has not yet been named, did surrender the dogs to the Sidney shelter, allowing treatment to begin.

Because of the limited space there, Haynes took six dogs back to the Susquehanna shelter. “It was really something, seeing three shelters come together to help out with this horrific case,” she said.

Maple, for example, had a staple in her nose. “At some point, her nose was ripped off,” she said. “They stapled it back on, and then the skin started to grow around the staple.”

The dogs were emaciated upon their arrival, but Haynes said they’ve been fed at regular intervals and are fattening up. “As far as we could tell, all of their health issues were related to the conditions they were kept in,” she said. “Those can heal, and we haven’t seen any lasting health issues.”

Also, their loving personalities are starting to emerge. “Sweetie and Snickers are a year old – we call them puppies – and they want to play,” she said. “And even though some of them are stand-offish, they’re starting to get comfortable when humans approach them.”

“These dogs have suffered so much, but they are so forgiving,” said Insinga. “When you touch them, their tails start wagging. All they want to do is have that human contact.”

Volunteers and staff have been active in taking them out for walks and socializing with them, but Haynes said there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“When you come in the room, they look at you like, is this person going to be my friend or hurt me?” said Haynes. “When we first got them and brought them here, their tails were tucked, they didn’t want to come out of their crates. Even now, we can get them on the leash, but they’re not entirely comfortable.”

And although many people believe pit bulls are dangerous animals, Haynes has seen nothing of the sort. “They’re very athletic, smart and loyal, they love their humans,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean they can go to just any home. “These dogs are too traumatized to be in a crate,” she said. “They need to be with someone who is retired or works from home, someone who can spend a lot of time with them.”

And as soon as word got out that the dogs were at the shelter, Haynes said the requests started coming in. “We had phone calls, emails, messages on Facebook, people coming in,” she said. “We’re working with a behavior specialist to advise us of the best kind of homes for each of them.”

19 DOGS RESCUED IN FRANKLIN

Dog Fighting Suspected

19 DOGS SAVED

FROM ‘TORTURE’

IN FRANKLIN

Just 24 hours after being rescued from horrific conditions in Franklin, a young pit bull is happy to get some affection from Stacie Haynes, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA. (Libby Cudmore/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

One rescued dog had a staple in her nose that was allegedly left in so long, the skin began to grow around it.

SIDNEY – Erin Insinga, shelter director, Delaware Valley Humane Society, described the scene of a rescue in Franklin as “like something out of a horror film.”

“I have never seen animals in such conditions of pain, torture and neglect,” she said through tears. “These dogs were stacked like pieces of furniture in a dark room.”

Cages were soaked with vomit, urine and feces. 19 dogs – 17 pit bulls and two German shepherds, ranging from 9 weeks to six years old – were emaciated, dehydrated and covered with wounds old and new.

“Based on what we saw and what our veterinarians said in their exams, we believe these animals were the victims of dog fighting,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2020
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for THURSDAY, JANUARY 30

Glass Art Exhibit

‘Catching Light’ Reception

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EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Explore exhibit “Catching Light: 3 Glass Artists,” featuring works by Erik Halvorson, Fred Tschida and David Wilson who each use different tools to create lively works of glass and light. Includes artist talk 6, refreshments, live music by SUNY Oneonta Jazz ensemble. On show thru 3/20. Martin-Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-2445 or visit suny.oneonta.edu/art-department/art-galleries

Shelter Raises $236K, Benefactor Adds $30K

$3.3M Raised To $5m+ Goal

Shelter Raises $236K,

Benefactor Adds $30K

Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo, left, presents Stacie Haynes, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA, with a check for more than $95,000 at the end of the Staffworks “Save a Life” campaign. With Haynes are Becca Daley, SSPCA communications coordinator and Alicia Dicks, director of the Community Foundation.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Stacie Haynes couldn’t believe the size of the check Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo handed her.

“I just about fell out of my chair,” the Susquehanna SPCA executive director said. “Last year we got $95,000 and I was nervous that we wouldn’t beat that!”

The Save-a-Life campaign offers shelters a matching donation of up to $10,000, and this year, Vitullo added some extra incentives – an extra $10,000 for every $100,000 raised, with a maximum of $20,000.

In all, the animal shelter raised $236,420, making it eligible to receive a total $30,000.

“People care so much and they really stepped up,” she said. “We had three ways people could donate; to the Emergency Medical Fund we set up after we got Zoe, the Save-a-Life fund and our Capital Campaign.”

In thanks for everything that Vitullo has done for the shelter, Haynes announced the Welcome & Adoption Center will be named for the Staffworks founder.

“Anita alone has helped us leverage an incredible amount of money,” said Haynes.

Last December, Vitullo offered a $10,000 matching grant, which spurred $75,000 in donations, and at the awards presentation in January 2019, she gave an additional $10,000 “high performers” grant to the shelter.

Vitullo’s generosity continued. In April, she announced the “Shelter Us” campaign, which would match contributions up to $250,000, adding $500,000 to the coffers. “These sorts of financial contributions make a huge difference,” Haynes said.

Although the SQSPCA’s original goal was $2 million, additions to the planned project have pushed the fundraising goal to $5 million, of which they now have $3.3 million.

“We’ve had a lot of support, and we’re so grateful,” said Haynes. “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.”

Additionally, changes to the design and location of the shelter have added costs. “We changed the location of the shelter and decided to build a new thrift store,” she said. “And we’re adding a community room.”

The community room was inspired by both necessity and generosity. “We’ve had kids who, for their birthdays, instead of presents, ask people to donate to the shelter,” she said. “And they want to have their parties here or just sit and visit with the animals, and we don’t have a space.”

Similarly, staff meetings and trainings are held in the lobby of the cramped former motorcycle shop.

“We want people to be able to come here and for us to be able to show our appreciation,” she said.

Haynes anticipates a March groundbreaking for the new shelter, and is in conversations with several people and organizations about possible campaigns. But she also encourages anyone who wants to donate to feel free to come by the shelter and drop off a donation in person.

“We love it when people come and bring donations directly to us,” she said. “That way we can show them the behind-the-scenes of the shelter so that when we build the new one, they’ll be able to see the difference their contribution made.”

“It’s a lot of work,” said Haynes. “But a lot of people have helped get us here.”

SQSPCA Awarded $266K In Annual ‘Save-A-Life’ Campaign

SQSPCA Awarded $266K At

Annual ‘Save-A-Life’ Campaign

Staffworks founder Anita Vitullo, center, presents Stacie Haynes, left, executive director of the Susquehanna SPCA, with a check for more than $266,000, raised through Staffworks annual Save-A-Life campaign, at an awards ceremony held in Utica this afternoon. At left is Alexis Izzo, SQSPCA communications director. Vituallo pledged to match the first $10,000 a shelter raised, with an additional $10,000 for every additional $100,000 raised, up to $20,000. In all, the SQSPCA received $30,000 from Staffworks, raising $236,000 from donors.
SEE FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S
HOMETOWN ONEONTA & THE FREEMAN’S JOURNAL
Basile To Seek Raises, Aid For Animal Shelter

NEW FACES AT 197 MAIN ST.

Basile To Seek Raises,

Aid For Animal Shelter

Editor’s Note: This profile is the first of three on newly elected Otsego County representatives who will take office Jan. 1.

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Newly elected county Rep. Jill Basile, D-Oneonta, is also a member of the Susquehanna SPCA board. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Jill Basile saw her future as her father, Bruce, lay in a hospital bed.

“During that time I watched a lot of news,” she said. “I decided that I didn’t want to be the person who complained behind the scenes anymore. I wanted to do something.”

Her father passed away in April 2017, but his inspiration resulted in Basile’s election Nov. 5 to the Otsego County Board from District 14, which stretches south from the colleges to I-88.  She succeeds Liz Shannon, who is stepping down.

“I figured this was my time to help the community that I grew up in. I missed the sense of helpfulness in my life,” she said. “I think people look at the large picture, but they don’t realize how much local politics affect their lives directly, and that’s why I’m here.”

A native of Oneonta, she received a bachelor’s in financial services from SUNY Cobleskill and joined Hartwick College, first as a residential director, then assistant director of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs.

With a master’s degree in student affairs administration from SUNY Binghamton, she joined Opportunities for Otsego’s Violence Intervention Program as a victim advocate.

“I decided on the county board because of my experience with the county,” she said.

For Basile, it quickly became clear that part of her political career would also involve animals. She began volunteering for the Susquehanna SPCA after she adopted her dog there in 2015 and became a board member in 2017.

“I have loved animals my whole life and after spotting Sasha and adopting her from the shelter, I wanted to give back,” she said.

As a board member of the SQSPCA, one of her first goals is to help her local furry friends. “It’s surprising to me that the shelter provides a service to the county by caring for animal victims and they are not compensated,” she said.

The SQSPCA recently spearheaded an iniative to get more funding for animal cruelty cases in Otsego County.

“The sheriff’s department now has $10,000 in the budget for animal cruelty. That’s a step forward for us,” said Basile. “As a board, it’s been something we’ve been passionate about.”

During her campaign, “that was one of my main talking points. People really connected with me on that.”

Yet another mission for Basile is establishing a better protocol for pay raises for Otsego County employees.

Last year, the county board adopted a competitive scale for its manager, but the new rep said, “statistically, Otsego County’s pay rate is lower than neighboring counties. I’d like to see the county come up with a process or policy for providing raises for employees that would allow county board representatives to prepare for the future.”

Additionally, Basile, who now works from home as an academic adviser to SUNY Delhi’s Nursing Program, wants monthly board meetings at a different time, “when people can attend – 10 a.m. is not accessible for most working people.”

With her first county board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 2, Jill Basile is ready to put things in motion.  “I think people look at the large picture, but they don’t realize how much local politics affect their lives directly, and that’s why I’m here.”

NEXT WEEK: Rick Brockway, R-District 3, representing Laurens and Otego.

Debate Renewed On Funding Animal Shelter

Debate Renewed On

Funding Animal Shelter

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

INDEX – It all began with a helpful conversation, and erupted while the SQSPCA was doing what it does best: saving Zoe, who chewed off her leg to stop the pain of a tumor.

The spark: one word, “unilateral.” The issue: Is Otsego County funding the shelter to minimum standards?

Richard Sternberg, a Susquehanna SPCA supporter, Cooperstown village trustee, retired surgeon and MIT graduate, stopped by the animal shelter on Route 28 for a conversation with SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

Sternberg’s “a master mathematician,” said Haynes. “He helped me calculate the actual cost.”

Applying “cost accounting” to the shelter’s expenses, Sternberg determined some $70,000 of the shelter’s $719,499.01 budget in 2018 had been spent responding to requests for assistance from county government, primarily from sheriff’s department and through calls fielded by 911.

By determining what’s spent where, cost accounting helps managers operate companies or organizations more efficiently.

“I never had these numbers,” said Haynes. “I could not believe how much it was.”

Sternberg shared his findings with the county Board of Representatives Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the public hearing on its $120 million proposed budget for 2020, and said the SQSPCA planned to “unilaterally” impose a fee schedule as of Jan. 1.

Haynes praised Sternberg’s efforts to help the shelter, as did board chair Gaylord Dillingham. But, he said, “It came across as somewhat adversarial.” Haynes is the SQSPCA’s contact with the county board, and will continue to be, he said.

Sternberg didn’t return a call or a text placed to get his perspective.

Before the cost-accounting exercise, Haynes said she assessed the sheriff’s department a $40 flat fee.

But, she added, the county board has put $5,000 a year for the past few years in the sheriff’s budget for shelter services. Now, with Sternberg’s financial data, she can assess the true costs.

In an interview, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., who serves with Haynes on PETS, the county’s recently formed animal-welfare task force, said he met with her in recent days, and accepts “she has not charged us in cases where she probably should have.”

Moving forward, he said, he expects the SQSPCA will present an itemized bill reflecting the true costs of its services. The sheriff’s department will then pay the bills until the $5,000 runs out, then will ask the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee for an additional, non-budgeted “emergency” allocation.

The total amount, averaging the last three years, could be as low as $40,000 a year, said Haynes. The $70,000 reflected two big 2018 cases – 103 animals found deserted on a Garrattsville farm in April, and 56 Lhasa Apsos surrendered by a Milford woman in November – as well as a heightened public awareness of the shelter’s services that resulted.

“The welfare of animals is both our priorities,” said Devlin.

County Board chair David Bliss, R-Cooperstown, agreed “the board wants to take care of its responsibilities,” but he said there are complications.

For one, the state Comptroller’s Office frowns on using the “emergency” definition repeatedly for the same expense over the course of a budget year.

And if the county board decides it needs to contract services to handle abused or abandoned animals that are seized – or dangerous ones – it would have to go out to bid, and other shelters or veterinarians might win the contract.

In some instances, said Bliss, a former longtime Town of Middlefield supervisor, towns, which are required to appoint animal control officers, might set up less-costly temporary shelters of their own.

(Bliss said an article in last week’s newspaper on the budget hearing misreported his intent: He didn’t decline to talk to Sternberg, but offered to meet with him after the hearing to discuss the issue.)

For her part, Haynes said the SQSPCA, which is on track to raise more than $3 million in its “Shelter Us” capital campaign for a state-of-the-art animal shelter in Index, needs more operating revenue to cover the services it provides day-to-day.

Delaware County allocates $88,000 a year to help support its two shelters, and Schoharie allocates $75,000, she said. The SQSPCA has been asking this county board for $40,000.

In her effort to obtain funding, Haynes said, she’s been directed to four different county board committees, so jurisdiction is unclear. “The county always says, ‘This is a town issue’,” she continued. “This is not a town issue.”

There are two related provisions in the state’s Agricultural & Markets Law, the governing statute, she said.

Article 26 prohibits town animal control officers from handling cruelty cases. Article 7 requires police departments to do so; sometimes, state police or local police departments respond, but mostly it’s the county Sheriff’s Department or referrals directly to the shelter from the county’s 911 Center.

“County 911 will call me, after hours: ‘We have a deputy at x location, and we need to seize two dogs and three cats.’ The staff comes in on overtime. There’s mileage to round them up,” Haynes said. “We bring them back to the shelter, and we hold them” until the legal process involving seized animals runs its course.

Still, Haynes and her staff love animals, and that puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to hard-nose bargaining.

“We have a moral obligation to do what we do,” said Haynes. “We’re never going to stop doing what we’re doing.”

Unilaterally, SSPCA Planning Fees

Unilaterally, SSPCA Planning Fees

Richard Sternberg, who said he was speaking on behalf of the SSPCA Board of Driectors, 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/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special To AllOTSEGO.com

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.

Sometimes, the county Sheriff’s Department drops off dogs; in that case, the Sheriff’s Department would be charged, Sternberg said. If 911 makes the placement, 911 would be charged. Some towns have contracted with the Shelter; but those that haven’t would be charged according to the same schedule if local dog control officers ask for help. In places like the Village of Cooperstown, which has its own police force, it would be charged if its officers drop off a dog or asked for the shelter’s services.

Sternberg reported the Shelter’s operating budget – not including construction costs – amounted to $719,499.01 in 2018, and said about 10 percent of usage comes from the county, meaning – if this approach stands – county government could expect to be charged $70,000 next year.

At the end of Sternberg’s presentation, county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, told Sternberg the public hearing was just for the budget as it stands, and since no money is now in the budget, the issue could not be discussed in that forum.

County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., who was in the audience, said he believes the Shelter deserves some county support. However, he said he’s unsure if the unilateral fee schedule is enforceable.

During his presentation, Sternberg mentioned a meeting with a county board committee last Friday.

There, he said later, retiring county Rep. Kathy Clark, R-Otego, when presented with the SSPCA ultimatum, asked that a detailed list of donors’ names in the current Shelter Us fund drive and the amount donated should be supplied to the county before any decision is made.

SQSPCA Reports: Zoe’s Surgery Successful

Susquehanna SPCA Reports

Zoe’s Surgery Successful

Zoe has successfully come out of surgery, Stacie Haynes, executive director, SQSPCA, reported. (Photo courtesy New York State Police)

COOPERSTOWN – Zoe, the dog rescued from Exeter with a missing leg, has safely come through a surgery to remove a benign mass and amputate what remained of her leg.

“She keeps shocking everyone with how strong she can be,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA. “We cannot thank you all enough for the love and support you have shown this truly incredible dog.”

Surgeons at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Hospital were able to fully remove the non-cancerous mass and successful amputate her leg. Zoe is still under sedation, and Haynes cautioned that the next 24 hours were critical, and vets would be watching her for a risk of bleeding.

“If we can get through the next 24 hours, things are looking good,” she said.

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