By early afternoon today, 11 dogs and cats had been adopted from the Susquehanna SPCA’s shelter in Hartwick Seminary, part of a two-day waiver of adoption fees enabled by the second annual “Howl’oween” Pet Adoption Event.” A $5,000 grant, from ASPCA and Five Star, is allowing the waiver of the usual $100-200 adoption fee, according to SQSPCA’s Darla Youngs. This year, because of COVID-19, reservations are required (call 547-8111), and it’s hoped that 25 animals will be adopted by Saturday evening. Last year, with no social distancing, “we were mobbed,” said Youngs, and 48 were adopted in allotted two days. In top photo, Cooperstown’s Brian Bennett says hi to Rosebud, one of the cats up for adoption. Inset, right, the SQSPCA’s Clark Oliver says hi to Twizzler, a rare Blue Tick Coon Hound/pit bull combination, one of his favorites. The idea of “Howl’oween” is to reduce the shelter’s census, usually about 80 animals, before the Christmas season. It’s busy time of year: Last year, the shelter took in 143 animals between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
TRUNK OR TREAT – 4 p.m. Decorate your cars and bring the kids for fun activities from building a spider, pumpkin carving, make a ghost, and of course collecting candy. All stations are sanitized, 6 feet apart. The Railroad Inn, 28 Railroad Ave., Cooperstown.
HORROR AT MUSEUM – 6 p.m. Enjoy evening of spooky stories from students, faculty, & staff. Will feature readings and performances of original, classic tales of horror and the macabre. Presented by Yager Museum of Art & Culture, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/yagermuseum/ for info.
COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Join panel on Zoom to for ‘Cooperstown Reflects on Racism and Healthcare’ discussion with Reggie Knight, Spine Care Institute; Dr. Subashini Daniel, Attending Surgeon, Cardiac Surgery; Dr. Jim Dalton, Director of Medical Education, Bassett Healthcare; Vince Solomon, Psychiatric Social Worker; and Candice Shannon, Social Psychologist/Sociologist. Presented by Cooperstown Village Library. Visit fovl.eventbrite.com to register.
WORD THURSDAY – 7 – 9 p.m. Open mic followed featuring poets recently published in ‘Seeing Things: An Anthology of Poetry’ by presentation by Robert Bensen and Pam Strother. Donations welcome. Zoom conversation presented by Bright Hills Press & Literary Center, Treadwell. 607-829-5055 or visit www.facebook.com/brighthp/
WRITERS SALON – 7:30 p.m. Virtual writers salon by CANO hosted on Zoom. Features author Alice Lichenstein, and an open mic session. Presented by Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/CANOneonta for info.
WORD THURSDAY – 7 p.m. Tune in for reading of award winning book ‘The Ruined Walled Castle Garden’ with author Mary Gilliband of Ithaca. Evening will begin with open-mic featuring 5 poets. Presented by Bright Hill Press & Literary Center. Visit www.facebook.com/brighthp/ for info.
DIGITAL HELP – 6:45 – 7:45 p.m. Call for aid with your little technical issues with phones, computers, more. Also get help with digital collection services Hoopla & Libby. Huntington Memorial Library. 607-386-1465 or visit hmloneonta.org/calendar/
FUN PADDLE – 1 – 4 p.m. Take in the sights, sounds on beautiful creek, learn about plants, animals, history of this diverse region with Otsego County Conservation Association. Bring your own (cleaned, drained, & treated) canoe or kayak or reserve one of OCCA’s. Bring water, a snack, & sunscreen. Free, registration required. Butternut Creek. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/occa-calendar/
PAR FOR PAWS – Come play to benefit homeless, abandoned animals. Golf tournament has been reconfigured this year due to Covid-19. Come play all weekend, just mention that you are playing to support the Susquehana SPCA. Admission, $40/person. Otsego Golf Club, 144 Pro Shop Dr., Springfield Center. 607-547-9290 or visit sqspca.org
COOPERSTOWN – Brian Shapiro, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, has a strict warning for anyone who might be thinking about buying from a puppy mill.
“Underneath the cuteness, there is cruelty,” he said.
Shapiro was on hand for the Susquehanna SPCA’s announcement of the PAWS – Puppy Mill Awareness With Shelters – initiative, which seeks to educate people about the harm that puppy mills do to animals and consumers.
“Right here in Otsego County and throughout this region, we have active puppy mills,” said Stacie Haynes, SQSPCA executive director. “Puppy mills that operate their business in a cruel and inhumane way. Puppy mills that have already been shut down and continue to operate. Puppy mills that put on a façade with unsuspecting consumers who believe they are buying from a responsible dealer.”
She is aware of four operating in the county. “We have plenty of responsible breeders,” she said, “And we stand with them in this fight.”
A puppy mill, as Shapiro defined it, was any breeding operation “where an animal is treated like a widget coming off a machine.”
“These are dogs that languish in sub-par conditions,” he said. “A puppy mill is only there to make money.”
“I get calls from people all the time who got a puppy from ‘X’ and now their animal is sick with parvo,” a gastro-intestinal disease, said Libby Post, executive director of the state Animal Protection Federation.
“They can pay thousands of dollars in cash, but parvo is deadly in puppies, so that isn’t a guarantee. They may have to put the animal to sleep, which is heartbreaking.”
The major goal of PAWS, Haynes said, is educating the public on how to determine if someone is a reputable breeder or a puppy mill.
“A responsible breeder will encourage you to visit and see where the puppy was born and raised,” she said. “Responsible breeders will not keep dogs in crowded spaces or cages. The dogs will be in clean, roomy, comfortable areas.”
The SQSPCA – as well as the Delaware Valley Humane Society, the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley, the Catskill Humane Society and Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans – will all have PAWS resources on their websites to assist the public in making the right choice.
“Shelters should be a resource even if you’re not getting a dog from us,” she said. “You can call us up and say that you found a breeder, and we can give you those questions to ask so that you know you’re not buying from a puppy mill.”
In addition to education, PAWS will work with policymakers to strengthen Ag and Markets law and get more funding for inspectors to help shut puppy mills down.
“When people run for office, the question they should be asked is, ‘how do you feel about these issues?’” said Post. “It’s a bipartisan issue, and we need every elected official to know that people will not vote for them if they don’t care about companion animals.”
Greg Forester, a resident of Herkimer County, expressed worry that Amish puppy mills, which he said used “brokers” to sell their puppies, would skirt the laws.
“We don’t have cause to go into the barns, but I’ve found them suspended in cages,” he said.
“When Pennsylvania shut down puppy mills, the Amish moved them up here,” said Post.
“We support changes to the law,” said Shapiro. “At the end of the day, there are no brokers if people aren’t buying from a puppy mill. There is no reason, in 2020, to support a puppy mill.”
VIRTUAL TOUR – 2 p.m. Zoom meeting featuring walk through of exhibit ‘Pete Souza: Two Presidents, One Photographer’ with photographer Kevin Gray featuring in-depth discussion and Q&A session. Free, registration required. Suggested donation $5. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
COOPERSTOWN REFLECTS – 7 p.m. Join panel on Zoom to for ‘Cooperstown Reflects on Racism: History, Demographics, and Current Issues’ discussion with representatives from Oneonta NAACP, Cooperstown Graduate Program, Say Their Names exhibit, & Opportunities for Otsego. Presented by Cooperstown Village Library. Visit fovl.eventbrite.com to register.
COVID-19 TESTING – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Otsego County residents are invited for free rapid testing for Covid-19. Find out quick, help stop the spread. Pre-registration required. Foothills Performing Arts Center, 22 Market St., Oneonta. 607-547-4279.