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SQSPCA adds animal cruelty information, reporting tool to website

May 20, 2020 – Otsego County citizens who suspect animal cruelty or neglect can now go to the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) website to learn more about what to look for and to report suspected cruelty online.

As part of the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, or PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the SQSPCA has created website resources specific to recognizing and reporting animal cruelty and neglect, including a “Report Cruelty” button at the top right of the website home page.

“It is important to note that while the SQSPCA is not law enforcement and, as such, cannot take action on its own, we are fortunate to have very supportive policing agencies in our communities. When our staff believe a report should be taken seriously, local law enforcement will, too,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

“Folks must also understand that, in some instances, action will not be not immediate. There may be cases where there is not currently enough evidence of suspected cruelty to take action but for which evidence may be building,” cautioned Haynes.

In addition to the new reporting tool, the SQSPCA website also includes information and links to news articles on PETS, ways to recognize the physical and environmental signs of animal cruelty, and steps to take if you witness or suspect animal cruelty.

“If you would like to remain anonymous to those suspected of animal cruelty, we can arrange that,” Haynes said. “However, in order for the report to be taken seriously, we do need your name and contact information to share with law enforcement.”

The goal of PETS, formed in February of 2019, is to prevent and combat animal cruelty in Otsego County through education and empowerment of law enforcement and the general public. Task force members intend to accomplish this by putting together training for law enforcement, networking with other animal protection agencies, and establishing a standardized system of reporting suspected animal cruelty.

“The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the community that animal cruelty is a crime,” reiterated Sheriff Richard J. Devlin. “The State of New York has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals. However, animal abuse and cruelty continue to occur in Otsego County and throughout New York State.

“The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, will do whatever we can to assist our citizens with animal related problems. Furthermore, we seek to protect animals from the neglect and abuse inflicted upon them in violation of current laws. We continue these efforts through education, mediation, investigation and enforcement working toward a healthy community where quality of life matters,” Devlin said.

Those suspecting animal cruelty or neglect can visit sqspca.org or call (607) 547-8111 and follow the prompts.

PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems), the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, is a collaboration of the Susquehanna SPCA, the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, Leatherstocking Veterinary Group, and Oneonta Veterinary Hospital. 

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

Challenge grant announced as SQSPCA walls are about to go up

May 14, 2020 – It’s full steam ahead as the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) announces a $100,000 challenge grant in support of its multi-million-dollar SHELTER US Campaign. The announcement comes as work on the new campus moves from site preparation to the shelter building itself.   

“To have an anonymous donor offer us a challenge grant of this magnitude at such a crucial time for our project is truly amazing,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “We understand folks are looking for ways to economize and tighten their budgets given these uncertain times. Here is an opportunity to maximize support of our efforts by having your contribution doubled.”

From now through August 1, every new donation or pledge to the SHELTER US Campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000, for a total of $200,000 toward the campaign goal.

“Those who can give $5 are now actually helping to contribute $10. A donation of $5,000 becomes $10,000, and so on. This is truly an incredible opportunity,” Haynes explained.

With $1.5 million of the $5 million goal still to be secured, the SQSPCA is optimistic.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been a good demonstration of how essential our shelter really is. In a time of fear and uncertainty, we have risen to the challenge and actually increased our positive impact on behalf of animals in need,” Haynes went on to say.

Normal shelter operations – accepting surrendered, stray, and seized animals and adopting them into loving homes – have continued without interruption during the global pandemic. At the same time, the SQSPCA has added new services in order to meet the growing needs of the community. These include a 24/7 pet food pantry, a temporary emergency boarding program for essential workers or those succumbing to illness, and free weekly rabies vaccination clinics in partnership with the Otsego County Department of Health.

“We are also partnering with the United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties to mobilize volunteer assistance for those who need help caring for their pets. These efforts will keep people and pets together as they navigate troubled times,” said Haynes. “Additionally, we had six animals arrive at the shelter yesterday that were relinquished due to death or illness from overcrowded New York City shelters, a transfer arranged through the New York State Animal Protection Federation.”

The shelter also tapped into its Emergency Medical Fund to save the life of a mother dog and her seven puppies recently, and rescued and rehomed five goats earlier this week.

Shelter officials project that these and other mission-based efforts will be both more effective and more efficient in the new location. The SQSPCA will move from its current site, located in a flood zone, to a new campus that will include a state-of-the-art shelter designed to increase the health and safety of animals, visitors, staff, and volunteers. The new facility conforms to guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and will allow the shelter to follow industry best practices, Haynes said.

“This project is special because when donors visit the new shelter, they will see as well as feel the tangible difference they have made. We present a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to leave a legacy as part of the SHELTER US project through naming opportunities, which are available from $5,000-$100,000,” she added.

To request an information packet, call Haynes at (607) 547-8111, extension 101.

The SHELTER US Capital Campaign Committee, chaired by Cooperstown resident and former Susquehanna SPCA Board member Anne Keith, will continue to work with the SQSPCA Board of Directors and staff to secure the funds necessary to reach the $5 million target. 

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

SQSPCA helps dog with life-threatening infection

May 11, 2020 – Now happy and healthy in her forever home, Zoe the German Shepard has been instrumental in the Susquehanna SPCA’s ability to save the life of another dog in crisis.

On April 15, Cabela – a Labrador retriever mix owned by Donna Robinson of Worcester – was rushed to Heritage Veterinary Clinic for emergency spay surgery. Cabela had been nursing seven 3-week-old puppies when she began showing signs of illness including shaking, loss of appetite and refusal to nurse the pups.

Robinson reached out to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes for assistance. Haynes had met the Robinson family only days earlier while dropping off dog food, part of a new Pet Food Pantry service introduced by the shelter to help pet owners in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In order to have Cabela treated by the shelter, the Robinsons surrendered their dog with the intention of adopting her back. SQSPCA staff picked up mom and puppies and, at Heritage, Cabela was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening infection in the uterus.

“Cabela spent the night at Heritage after her emergency surgery, and the puppies went home with SQSPCA Shelter Manager Sara Haddad, a licensed veterinary technician, who fed them a mixture of formula and puppy food every few hours,” said Haynes.

The next day, Cabela returned to Worcester with antibiotics, pain medication and her babies. The puppies were not allowed to nurse, so the Robinsons continued the improvised feeding regimen. Though all seven puppies were thriving, Cabela’s condition did not improve. Several days later, she was returned to the shelter for further medical attention.

“She had gotten very thin, was vomiting and was not eating, and very likely had developed a stomach ulcer from the pain medication,” explained Haddad.  “We gave her fluids, anti-vomiting medication, injectable antibiotics, and an antacid to coat the stomach while feeding her a very bland diet including chicken, rice, and baby food.

“Cabela remained in my care for several days until we began to see positive results. When she had regained her appetite and was able to resume oral antibiotics, we sent her home again with a different prescription,” Haddad said.

Back at the SQSPCA on Monday, May 11 for a checkup, Cabela had put on 10 pounds and was acting like a different dog entirely, according to Haddad. All seven puppies – four males and three females – are happy, healthy, and on the way to their forever homes. Cabela and one of her pups will remain with the Robinsons, who are delighted to have their family pet restored to good health.

“This emergency care for Cabela is an example of what we can do with our new Emergency Medical Fund. Zoe was the impetus for that fund, created specifically to help animals in crisis. You could say that Zoe has paid it forward to Cabela,” Haynes added.

“While we do not currently operate a clinic for animals not owned by the shelter, we do work hard to find different ways to help animals in need. This case is certainly special and was only possible thanks to the generosity of people in our community who care,” she said.

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

SQSPCA project gets go-head from Empire State Development

Animal shelter construction deemed essential by NYS agencies

COOPERSTOWN, NY – As of Saturday, April 18, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has received the green light to begin construction on its long-awaited animal shelter and campus. Grateful to be deemed an essential service during the COVID-19 crisis and amid concerns over possible flooding, shelter officials are relieved that their capital project is also considered by the state to be essential.

“We are encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s recent statement that construction will be one of the first industries to resume operations. We understand that while our project is has been fast-tracked as we face dangerous conditions at our current location, we recognize all construction to be essential and know that folks across the board are eager to get back to work,” said SQSPCA Stacie Haynes.

Haynes met with New York State Agriculture and Markets Veterinarian David Smith on the morning of April 18 to make the case that the shelter’s project should be approved as soon as possible. Site work at the new location was set to begin on April 1 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, which prompted suspension by New York State of all businesses and construction not deemed to be essential.

Among the most pressing issues discussed was the current shelter’s location in a flood zone.

“Flooding is typical in our leach fields, dog yards, outdoor kennels and isolation building,” Haynes wrote in a letter addressed to NYS Ag and Markets. “The leach field was flooded in October 2019 and left us without sanitary water for a week. A previous flood left the shelter with a giardia infestation.”

“As recently as yesterday, we had to evacuate our isolation building because water was creeping up from the front yard dangerously close to enter the building,” said Haynes on Tuesday, April 28. “Because of past experience, we know we can take no chances – our flooding is usually the result of flash flood conditions.”

Other problem areas for the current shelter include: inadequate septic system and plumbing; deterioration of the buildings both inside and out; drainage malfunctions; deficient heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems; broken latches and chain link on kennel doors; and poor surgical/medical intake areas, among others.

“Given we are an essential service and are currently facing so many health and safety risks to our staff, our animals and the public, it is imperative that our project, too, is deemed essential,” Haynes concluded in her letter.

Haynes received the official go-ahead from the state just hours after her meeting with Smith, which included a consultation with construction professionals.

In an e-mail, Smith thanked Haynes for showing him why a timely start for the SQSPCA’s construction project is needed.

“The Department of Agriculture and Markets has previously received word from Empire State Development (ESD) that it has determined that construction in support of already designated essential industries has been deemed to also be essential,” Smith added.

The SHELTER US project – kick started by a $500,000 New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant through the Department of Agriculture and Markets with strong support from Senator James L. Seward (R-Milford) – will move the SQSPCA and thrift store facilities 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta. Workers broke ground in August, with an original target date of summer 2020 for the move.

Sen. Seward said, “The Susquehanna SPCA is staffed by wonderful, caring individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.  As the SQSPCA contends with new challenges related to the Coronavirus, and persistent flooding issues, I am thrilled that construction is moving forward immediately.

“Along with providing a vital service, this project will help get construction workers back on the job at a time when a boost is truly needed.  I was extremely pleased to advocate on behalf of the Susquehanna SPCA during the grant application process and am thrilled that their well-deserving project is about to become a reality,” Seward added.

The new facilities will improve the daily lives of sheltered dogs and cats by better conforming to guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Upgraded features will include two entrances separating incoming animals from visitors and animals leaving for their new homes, a sterile surgery suite with safe recovery area, a fresh air ventilation system to benefit visitors as well as animals under shelter care, and parking that is more convenient. 

To date, the SQSPCA has just over $1 million yet to raise to meet the project’s $5 million pricetag.

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org 

Cider Run format continues to evolve to encourage participation, social distancing

Cyber event extends participation dates; adds tracking app and race ‘swag’ option

April 21, 2020 – To further encourage participation, organizers have opted to extend 2020 Cider Run event registration and walk/run dates from Saturday, April 25 through Saturday, May 2.

In keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) had announced last month that the format of its popular annual road run had been changed to a virtual event this year only, to ensure social distancing while offering a welcome social diversion.

“The 2020 Cider Run is moving from the Fly Creek Cider Mill to your favorite outdoor (or indoor) running spot,” SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes said during a live Facebook announcement. “Cider Run participants can run, walk, skip, or jog wherever they like. Around the house, in the woods, through the neighborhood, on the treadmill — anything goes!”

This week, the Cider Run Planning Committee has made additional adjustments to the event format in order to facilitate increased remote participation by allowing runners and walkers more flexibility.

“Because we want to make the Cider Run as convenient as possible for folks, we are following the model of fellow successful races and extending the virtual run for a full week,” Haynes explained. “You only have to walk or run once for us, but now you can select a day that works best for you between April 25 and May 2 to do so.”

According to Haynes, registration for the virtual run will still take place on itsyourrace.com.

Now, participants can download the ITS YOUR RACE mobile app and registration fees have been further reduced, giving participants the option to purchase commemorative #RunnersStayStrong race T-shirts, bibs and wrist bands.

“The ITS YOUR RACE app will give you the ability to track and upload your time,” Haynes added. “With this app, you do not need a bib.”

Virtual run participants are invited to share videos and photos of their experience throughout the day on the Cider Run Facebook page, Haynes added. The Cider Run Planning Committee will be monitoring the online activity and on Monday, May 4 winners in various categories will be announced.

Haynes continues to put out a call for serious competitors to remain part of this year’s virtual Cider Run.

“We hope the diehard runners will still participate with us,” Haynes said. “Our shelter needs your support now more than ever and we hope this event gives everyone — the serious athlete as well as the family of five — something to look forward to during this stressful and uncertain time.

“It can be as serious or as silly as you want it to be,” she said.

In addition to helping care for the homeless dogs and cats housed at the shelter, profits from this year’s event will also go in part toward adoption sponsorships. For every 50 Virtual Cider Run participants the adoption fee will be waived for one dog or cat, helping to move the animals into their new home faster, Haynes said.

To register for the eighth annual Cider Run, visit https://theciderrun.itsyourrace.com/register/. The cost is now $15 for adults and $5 for children.

Haynes thanks 2020 Virtual Cider Run sponsors for their continued support of the event. This year’s sponsors are: Ashley McGraw Architects, D.P.C.; Benson Agency Real Estate, LLC; Brandow’s Feed N Seed Inc.; Community Bank, NA; Crossroad Morgans/Ilene Goulette; Feil Collision Works LLC; Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard; Heritage Veterinary Clinic; Home Town Hauling & Recycling; Kelley M. Eckmair; Morris Garage; Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP; Noah’s World; Paraco Gas Corp.; Sportsfield Specialties, Inc.; Staffworks; Three Hour Farm; Upstate Companies I, LLC; and Valley Veterinary Associates.

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

SQSPCA offering free weekly rabies clinics on first come, first served basis

COOPERSTOWN – In conjunction with the Otsego County Department of Health, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) will be holding free weekly rabies vaccination clinics on-site for the foreseeable future.

According to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, the shelter will schedule 10 appointments for pet dogs, cats and ferrets on Wednesday afternoons from 1-6 p.m. and 6 appointments on Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. Scheduling will be done in 30-minute increments to allow for proper social distancing.

Registration for five consecutive Wednesdays and Thursdays (April 22-23, April 29-30, May 6-7, May 13-14 and May 20-21) will begin on Monday, April 20 at 10 a.m. by calling (607) 547-8111, extension 108. Appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis until all available slots have been filled. There is a limit of 15 pets per person.

“We are so proud to partner with Otsego County to help continue this critical community program,” said SQSPCA Executive Director. “As an essential service with emergency protocols currently in place, we are confident we can keep folks safe from one disease (COVID-19) while working to prevent another (rabies).”

The SQSPCA requirements for pet owners will follow Otsego County guidelines:

  • Previous rabies vaccination certificate must be presented to receive a three-year booster (NO exceptions).
  • Dogs must be on a leash and under proper control.
  • Cats and ferrets should be in a pillow case or carrying case.

According to the Otsego County Department of Health, the vaccine being used gives one-year protection for domestic dogs and cats receiving their first vaccination and three-year protection for domestic dogs and cats receiving a booster.

“Compulsory vaccination is required for all dogs and cats in Otsego County. The incidence of confirmed positive rabies cases in wild animals continues, the most recent of which being a rabid skunk in the Town of Hartwick,” said Heidi Bond, Otsego County Director of Public Health.

“Every dog and cat three months of age or older is required to be vaccinated, even pet dogs and cats that stay inside, and domesticated ferrets require vaccination each year,” Bond explained.

New York State law requires all dogs to be licensed. A license will not be issued for a time period extending beyond the date of the dog’s rabies certificate. It is also New York State law that any unvaccinated pet exposed to a rabid or suspected rabid animal be euthanized or quarantined for six months at the owner’s expense, and that any unvaccinated pet that bites be confined for 10 days at a facility at the owner’s expense.

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In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

Cider Run adopts virtual format amid Coronavirus concerns

Haynes: ‘Anyone can participate, anywhere’

March 18, 2020 — In keeping with current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2020 Cider Run is moving from the Fly Creek Cider Mill to your favorite outdoor (or indoor) running spot!

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) is changing the format of its popular annual road run on Saturday, April 25 to a virtual event this year only, to ensure social distancing while offering a welcome social diversion.

“Cider Run participants can run, walk, skip, or jog wherever they like,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “Around the house, in the woods, through the neighborhood, on the treadmill — anything goes!”

Haynes made the official announcement Wednesday live on the Cider Run Facebook page, prompted by the uncertainty of how the Coronavirus might affect gatherings and sporting events moving forward.

“Registration for the virtual run will still take place on itsyourrace.com,” Haynes said. “The fee schedule remains the same, but since some of the perks are not practical given this year’s virtual format, we are offering 30 percent off for runners who enter the code “VirtualRunFun.”

Virtual run participants are invited to share videos and photos of their experience throughout the day on the Cider Run Facebook page, Haynes added. The Cider Run committee will be monitoring the activity and on Monday, April 27 winners in various categories will be announced.

“These categories are still being developed, based on the unique virtual aspects of this year’s events,” said Haynes. “In addition to who runs the farthest, there will be prizes for things like most scenic route, who runs or walks with the most dogs, best musical accompaniment during the race, etc. Fun, interactive things like that.”

Haynes also put out a call for serious competitors registering prior to the virtual run announcement to remain part of this year’s event.

“We hope the diehard runners will still participate with us,” Haynes said. “Our shelter needs your support now more than ever and we hope this event gives everyone — the serious athlete as well as the family of five — something to look forward to during this stressful and uncertain time.

“It can be as serious or as silly as you want it to be,” she said.

Those registering prior to Wednesday’s announcement will receive a special thank-you gift from the SQSPCA, where proceeds from the Virtual Cider Run will be put to good use.

In addition to helping care for the homeless dogs and cats housed at the shelter, profits from this year’s event will also go in part toward adoption sponsorships. For every 50 Virtual Cider Run participants the adoption fee will be waived for one dog or cat, helping to move the animals into their new home faster, Haynes said.

To register for the eighth annual Cider Run, visit https://theciderrun.itsyourrace.com/register/. The cost before applying the discount code is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

Haynes ended by giving thanks to the 2020 Virtual Cider Run sponsors: Staffworks; Ashley McGraw Architects, D.P.C.; Benson Agency Real Estate, LLC; Brandow’s Feed N Seed Inc.; Community Bank, NA; Crossroad Morgans/Ilene Goulette; Feil Collision Works LLC; Heritage Veterinary Clinic; Home Town Hauling & Recycling; Kelley M. Eckmair; Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP; Noah’s World; Sportsfield Specialties, Inc.; Three Hour Farm; and Valley Veterinary Associates.

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501c3 charitable organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

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