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SQSPCA executive director trading places with shelter dog

February 27, 2021 — The staff of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) is preparing for a friendly takeover next week. On Wednesday, March 3, long-time shelter resident Max will be at the helm; Executive Director Stacie Haynes will be relegated to Max’s dog kennel for the day.

The purpose of this exercise is to drive home to the public what an extended stay means for shelter dogs, and the importance of rehoming animals as quickly as possible.

“March 3 marks Max’s 444th day here at our shelter,” explained Haynes. “Max has been living in a kennel for over a year, with no comfy couch, no home or human to call his own, and an ever-changing parade of complete strangers judging both him and his behavior. Before that, he was in a different shelter for about four months.”

Shelter staff and volunteers do their best to provide enrichment, affection and a sense of normalcy for dogs like Max but, in reality, these efforts are little solace during an extended stay.

“Max will not be truly happy until he finds his forever home,” Haynes said.

In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of shelter dogs in general and Max in particular, Haynes will switch places with the 5-year-old pit bull terrier mix next Wednesday. Max will preside over the shelter from the Executive Director’s office while Haynes spends 444 minutes in a concrete kennel.

According to Haynes, “Max will take care of business with the staff as I languish in his kennel by myself, with the occasional bathroom break and an enrichment toy or two, watching people and dogs pass me by throughout the day.”

Max will enjoy the comfort and relative quiet of the front office, while Haynes is forced to try to relax amid the overstimulating distractions of kennels being cleaned, feeding time, public viewing and a lot of dogs barking.

“My 444 minutes in a kennel is just a drop in the bucket compared to how long Max has had to wait to get out of a shelter and into a real home where he can truly relax and be himself,” Haynes continued. “Our hope is that by bringing attention to Max’s story — and the plight of shelter dogs in general — we can help him make his perfect match.”

“His guardian angel is out there somewhere,” she said.

Max is described by Haynes, shelter staff and SQSPCA volunteers as a terrific dog who enjoys bouncy balls, snuggling on the couch, long walks and swimming in the creek on hot summer days. 

How will Max do on his first Zoom conference? Stay tuned …

To learn more about Max, call 607-547-8111, extension 102.

SQSPCA announces new hotline to help at-risk animals

January 25, 2021 – Representatives of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) rescued a horse and two cats on Friday, January 22, but other animals on the Pittsfield property were not as fortunate. Upon arriving at the scene, shelter staff also found a pony, three rabbits and a chicken, all of which had dehydrated and frozen to death. 

Following a phone call to the Otsego County Animal Cruelty Task Force, SQSPCA officials investigated the tip before mobilizing to seize the surviving animals. Community volunteers transported and fostered the horse; the cats are now at the shelter. 

“Over and over again, we are witness to horrific scenes of animals that have suffered unnecessarily and died,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “We have seen this happen with domestic animals but more often, it is farm animals.” 

Haynes worked with local law enforcement officials to form the county’s Animal Cruelty Task Force – also known as PETS (Prevention, Education, Training and Systems) – in February of 2019. Several high-profile abuse cases prompted the partnership, including what Haynes described as an “unthinkable” situation resulting in 104 animals seized from a New Lisbon farm in the spring of 2018. 

“Over the last couple of years, the task force has worked hard to address cruelty and educate the public but, after this most recent case, we realize our approach thus far has been reactive rather than proactive,” Haynes said. 

“Today we are launching the ‘Here to Help Hotline,’ a new initiative of the task force intended to help prevent hardship from escalating to cruelty,” Haynes announced. 

Folks in need, no matter what type of animals they have or how many, are encouraged to reach out to this hotline at (607) 547-8111, extension 108. 

“It isn’t easy to ask for help. We understand this, but we also know we have many good people throughout the region who are willing to offer assistance when times are tough. If the shelter does not have the resources to help directly, we will reach out to our network of farm friends,” Haynes added. 

The “Here to Help Hotline” is a judgement-free zone, according to Haynes. Information obtained from those seeking help to keep their animals fed and safe will remain confidential and the service is free of charge. Those calling will be asked a series of questions to assess need and to determine the best course of action, including possible surrender of some animals. 

“SQSPCA staff continue to learn and adapt in order to meet the needs of our community,” Haynes explained. “Last March, we dropped our surrender fees which typically brought in about $10,000 in revenue for the shelter each year. During these especially difficult times, it is important that the surrender process to be as easy and accessible as possible.” 

“There will never be a fee to surrender an animal or for services provided through the ‘Here to Help Hotline.’ We can do these things because we know there are donors who will ensure we have the support we need to get the work done,” Haynes said. 

Those wishing to be a resource to the SQSPCA in farm-related matters – willing to provide necessary food, shelter and/or other resources to aid in the care of at-risk farm animals, including fostering – should call the shelter or e-mail to learn more. 


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 

SQSPCA cookie kit event promises holiday fun

November 27, 2020 – In order to stay connected to the community during this time of social distancing, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has announced a new event designed to bring families together in celebration of the holidays.

The SQSPCA Holiday Treats event features sugar cookie house decorating kits complete with sugar cookie sections to build a house (or animal shelter), cat, dog, and trees, plus frosting, colored sugar and sprinkles. The kits must be reserved by Monday, December 7 and will be ready for pick-up on Friday, December 11. SQSPCA mascots Sylvester and Max will hand deliver the pre-ordered kits car-side from 4-8 p.m. as visitors enjoy viewing the decorated shelter grounds.

“We really wanted to do something special this holiday season that would not only help create awareness of our adoptable animals but would also feature an activity that was fun and a little bit different for families,” explained SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

 “Max and Sylvester are looking forward to greeting people and providing information about their four-legged friends who are here at the shelter awaiting forever homes,” Haynes said.

This event is made possible in part by Vincent and Rebekah Hopkins, the husband and wife baking team of Freestyle Confections based in Worcester. The duo specializes in cookies, cakes, crumbles, muffins, whoopies, scones and more – all made from scratch, from home. A portion of the proceeds from the Holiday Treats event will be donated to the shelter.

Rebekah Hopkins and her family have a history of helping the SQSPCA as volunteers.

“We wanted to work with the SQSPCA again because we are huge animal lovers. We have actually fostered a dog through them, and my parents did as well,” recounted Hopkins. “Both dogs were adopted by wonderful forever families.”

Hopkins said COVID-19 was the impetus behind the cookie kits.

“People were at home and we were all looking for things to do. We just wanted to entertain people and put smiles on their faces,” she said. “The kits are a fun activity for families, and they will have yummy cookies to eat when they’re done decorating, with no baking and no dirty dishes.”

“We are proud to be friends of the SQSPCA, and to work with them on this project. The shelter gives so much to the community, and they’re saving animals’ lives every day,” Hopkins added.

Sugar cookie house decorating kits may be reserved by calling (607) 547-8111, extension 111. The shelter is located at 4841 State Highway 28, just south of the Village of Cooperstown. To view available animals or to donate, visit To schedule an appointment to adopt, call (607) 547-8111, extension 100.

Year-end donations will leverage additional funds for SQSPCA


November 30 – December 31 

NOVEMBER 23, 2020 – The 2020 Staffworks Fund Save A Life Campaign will be matching donations to the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) November 30 through December 31. 

This year, the Save A Life Campaign has 39 participating animal welfare organizations located in 17 counties in New York State and Pennsylvania. 

Campaign Match: 

FIRST $10,000 in donations = $10,000 match 

PLUS $1,000 for every additional $5,000 in donations 

PLUS $2,000 for reaching $100,000 in donations 


Since 2014, the Save A Life Campaign has raised more than $3.1 million for non-profit organizations caring for at-risk animals in our regional community, with donors contributing more than $2.1 million to secure matching funds from the Staffworks Fund. 

“As you plan your year-end giving, please keep in mind that gifts made during the Save A Life Campaign will help us raise as much as $30,000 more for the shelter,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. 

Anita Vitullo, founder of the Save A Life Campaign, stated, “COVID has significantly affected fundraising efforts for many organizations that provide direct care and support services for homeless and abused animals, spay/neuter programs, and pet food pantries. While they are devoted to helping underserved animals, they cannot provide crucial services without our donations. Funds raised and matched during this Campaign will sustain these organizations’ operations and programs through 2021.” 

“Thanks to Anita Vitullo and the Staffworks Fund, our December fundraising totals have more than doubled over the past two years. The Save A Life Campaign has provided a tremendous boost to the SQSPCA and has enabled us to help more animals annually. We’re hoping this trend will continue despite the global pandemic,” Haynes added. 

“We’re so thankful to have the continued support of Anita Vitullo. She has been an unparalleled advocate for at-risk animals in our region,” Haynes said. 

During this campaign, to increase the impact of your giving, visit or mail checks to SQSPCA, 4841 St. Hwy. 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Checks should be made out to SQSPCA with “Save A Life” in the memo. 


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 

About the Staffworks Fund 

Staffworks Inc. profits support the Staffworks Fund established in 2005 at The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties. The primary mission of the Staffworks Fund is supporting nonprofit organizations that care for at-risk animals in our communities. Staffworks assets at The Community Foundation have grown to $13 million. As of 2020, the Staffworks Fund has donated $2.15 million to organizations that save animal lives. For more information, visit 

SQSPCA to waive adoption fees in return for donation of pet food

Five Star Subaru sponsors ‘Howl’oween Pet Adoption Event’

October 14, 2020 – Adoption fees at the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) will be waived during a two-day adoption event on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 with a donation of cat, dog or kitten food.

Sponsored by Five Star Subaru and thanks to a grant made possible by the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Subaru, and the Subaru Loves Pets initiative, the special two-day “Howl’oween Pet Adoption Event” will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SQSPCA shelter, 4841 State Highway 28, Cooperstown. Adoptions will be by appointment only.

 “By necessity, in order to ensure proper COVID-19 social distancing for our visitors and staff, adopters will have to schedule an appointment for this year’s event,” explained SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “The number of people in the building at any one time will be limited and closely monitored, and masks will be required.”

“People looking to bring home a new dog or cat are encouraged to visit the shelter website and narrow down their choice prior to making an appointment to adopt. Appointments to meet available animals beforehand – and to adopt during the Howl’oween event – can be scheduled beginning Friday, October 23 by calling (607) 547-8111,” Haynes said.

Regular adoption fees, ranging from $100-$200, are being waived in hopes of clearing the shelter before the holiday rush. From November 1 through December 31 of last year the shelter took in 143 animals, Haynes explained.

The 2019 Howl’oween event resulted in new homes for 48 animals, with just two cats remaining in the adoption rooms and only eight dogs in the kennels at the end of the day.     

Prior to this event, animals will be spayed/neutered (unless delayed for health reasons), microchipped, tested for Heartworm/Lyme or FeLV/FIV, dewormed; and will receive flea treatment and basic grooming.

“All animals will be up-to-date on crucial vaccinations including rabies, distemper and FVRCP,” Haynes said.

“Bring us dog, cat and/or kitten food – dried, canned or a combination thereof – and you can leave with a new fur-ever friend, thanks to our sponsors and our conversational adoption procedure,” she added.                               

Tops on the shelter’s food “wish list” are dry kitten and cat food, canned dog food, meaty dog treats and canned cat pâté. Available dogs and cats can be viewed on the SQSPCA website at and on Facebook.

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 

SQSPCA announces ‘Fearful to Fearless’ dog socialization program

October 13, 2020 – With five frightened shepherd mixes newly arrived, and based on the success of its recent ‘Feral to Friendly’ initiative for unsocialized cats and kittens, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has announced a special volunteer opportunity.

The shelter’s new “Fearful to Fearless” program depends on assistance from the community to help turn extremely shy dogs into confident, loving pets through positive association and experiences.

“These dogs are terrified,” SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes explained. “Our Fearful to Fearless program will enable volunteers to come spend quality time with the dogs – sit outside their kennels, talk to them, maybe even read a book out loud – to help them overcome their fear of people.”

As the dogs become more accepting of the presence of humans, there are further strategies that can then be used by volunteers and staff to reduce their fear of handling, Haynes said.

The five dogs kicking off the SQSPCA Fearful to Fearless program are originally from Clayton County, Georgia. A rescue network that saves dogs from high-intake shelters and high-risk situations in both Georgia and Texas has paid for their transport as well as their shelter stay.

“We recognize that, unlike us, high-intake shelters – many of which are located in the south – are forced to euthanize animals due to space constraints,” explained Haynes. “When we have the opportunity to help, we will, because we are saving lives.”

According to Haynes, Bacon, Benedict, Omelette, Waffles and Nici arrived at the SQSPCA on October 2. All were strays and all are estimated to be around 2 years old. A sixth dog – Danish – was pregnant and went directly to a foster home upon her arrival several weeks earlier. She has since given birth to three puppies.

“Dog lovers interested in volunteering for the Fearful to Fearless program can call to sign up,” Haynes said. “In keeping with COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, some restrictions as to number of participants per time slot may apply.”

Those interested in learning more about the SQSPCA’s Fearful to Fearless program can call 607-547-8111, extension 111 to learn more and schedule a time to help out.

Susquehanna SPCA, partners launch PAWS program

October 6, 2020 – On Monday, September 21, animal welfare professionals gathered at the future site of the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) to launch a new education program designed to help consumers distinguish puppy mills from responsible breeders. 

The program, “PAWS Before You Pay,” encourages people who are planning to buy a puppy to do their research first and empowers them with the information and resources necessary to do so. PAWS stands for “Puppy Mill Awareness With Shelters.” 

SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes was joined at the recent PAWS press conference by Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, and Brian Shapiro, New York State Director with the Humane Society of the United States. Participating shelters include the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley, Delaware Valley Humane Society, Herkimer County Humane Society and Superheroes in Ripped Jeans. 

“Puppy mills are cruel and inhumane,” Haynes said following the press conference. “Our shelter receives complaint calls and inquiries all the time about several puppy mills currently operating in and around Otsego County. 

“Because these businesses are still legal, and because there is nothing we can do right now to stop them, the PAWS coalition believes it is vitally important that consumers have resources available to them to help determine whether they are dealing with a reputable breeder or a puppy mill,” Haynes said. 

Puppy mills are notorious for cramming dogs into filthy, overcrowded, stacked wire cages and for denying animals healthy food, clean water and basic veterinary care. Puppy mill puppies are known to develop serious health and behavioral problems that are very often expensive and difficult to treat. 

The PAWS launch comes during National Puppy Mill Awareness Month. Visit or another participating shelter’s website and click on the PAWS tab to gain access to general puppy mill information from the Humane Society of the United States, including a link to their “Horrible Hundred” problem puppy mills and puppy sellers. 

“For those interested in animal advocacy, the Humane Society is hosting a virtual ‘Puppy Mill Action Boot Camp’ on October 10, Haynes added. 

Boot Camp topics will include building coalitions, passing new laws, working with media, effective outreach, and the role of law enforcement in stopping puppy mills. The all-day online training event is free. 

Supporters of PAWS who would like to help spread the word are encouraged to donate at

 “Donors to the initiative will receive a ‘PAWS Before You Pay’ cling decal. Funds raised will assist in coalition efforts to educate the public about the importance of researching before buying a dog,” said Haynes. 

To learn more about the PAWS initiative, the Susquehanna SPCA and to view available animals, visit

To schedule an appointment to adopt, call (607) 547-8111.  




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Cooperstown, NY


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