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SQSPCA reaches $5 million SHELTER US campaign goal

Ribbon cutting at new site set for Saturday, July 17 

May 10, 2021 – Following an organizational rebranding, the launch of its SHELTER US capital campaign, and just under three years of intensive fund-raising, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has reached its $5 million campaign goal and is poised to move into a brand-new shelter building next month. 

“Our vision is becoming a reality,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. 

The SQSPCA’s multi-million-dollar campus is possible thanks to a hugely successful capital campaign led by Haynes, the SQSPCA Board of Directors and the SHELTER US Capital Campaign Committee chaired by Anne Keith. 

“Foundation grants, matching challenges and a tremendous outpouring of private donations allowed us to reach what seemed like an insurmountable goal,” Haynes said. “We are incredibly thankful for the business, community and foundation support we receive, not only for this project but for the shelter’s general operating expenses as well.” 

The SHELTER US project – buoyed by a $500,000 New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant through the Department of Agriculture and Markets – is relocating the shelter and thrift store facilities 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta.  

“To accommodate this move – including property purchase, demolition, asbestos abatement, site preparation, and upgraded equipment – the price tag to design and construct a new, state-of-the-art animal shelter, thrift store and campus is coming in at right around $5 million,” according to Haynes. 

“Thanks to the assistance of an incredible group of volunteers, including Rotary Club of Cooperstown members, the contents of the thrift store have already been moved to the new retail location,” Haynes said. “We anticipate we can begin relocating the animal shelter in just a few weeks.” 

The New Leash on Life Thrift Shop will conduct sales online via Facebook until the store is ready to reopen. The shelter transition will continue through the month of June as staff settles into the state-of-the-art facility and adjusts to the cutting-edge equipment. Interior finishes, site work and landscaping is ongoing. 

“The official ribbon cutting ceremony and open house at the new location are set for Saturday, July 17. Please save the date,” Haynes urged. 

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 convenient parking. 

“The new shelter and all the improved amenities are much needed and are very exciting, but they come at a considerable price tag,” Haynes said. “Our ability to meet and surpass the capital campaign goal represents a tremendous vote of confidence from the community in our abilities for which we are extremely grateful. 

“We’re more than ready for any challenges that lie ahead,” she added.  

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  

Shelter announces partnership with sports center, breweries

Susquehanna SPCA unveils plans for June fund-raising event 

April 14, 2021 – The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) and the Clark Sports Center are teaming up with three local breweries to offer a new charity run this year to benefit the shelter. 

On Saturday, June 19, the “Fetching Brews Run/Walk” will feature a 10K run beginning and ending at Brewery Ommegang and a 5K run/walk from Brewery Ommegang to the Cooperstown Brewing Company. A .5K kid-friendly warmup event – “Fetching Fun” – is a run/walk from Brewery Ommegang to Red Shed Brewery. 

“We could not be more excited about this collaboration,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “Clark Sports Center personnel are assisting with online registration, timing, traffic management, and water stations, and shuttle service will be available for 5K participants back to Ommegang.” 

The breweries will greet runners and walkers with a free beverage (beer offered for those over 21 years of age). 10K and 5K participants will receive a brewery glass as they finish and a free T-shirt if registered before June 1; .5K registrants will get an official Fetching Fun Frisbee.  

“At the suggestion of our brewery partners, the top three confirmed finishers in each race category will have an animal adoption sponsored in their honor in addition to receiving a selection of age-appropriate beverages,” Haynes said. 

The Fetching Fun Run/Walk will start at 8:30 a.m. and will feature a Pet Parade with prizes in 10 categories. Registration for the Fun Run/Walk is free if warming up for the main event and for those 12 and under, and $10 for participants 13 and up. The 10K and 5K events begin at 9 a.m. Registration fees are $30 (13 and up) and $10 (12 and under.) 

“This would have been the 10-year anniversary of the Cider Run, which has been a reliable source of income for us. When it was announced that the Fly Creek Cider Mill had closed, we were worried about how we would fill that gap in our annual fund-raising schedule,” Haynes explained.  

“We were absolutely thrilled when the Clark Sports Center reached out and suggested we resurrect the former Brewery to Brewery Run. This metamorphosis of the Cider Run into Fetching Brews is the result,” she added.  

Runners and walkers can preregister now for Fetching Brews and Fetching Fun at by searching “Fetching Brews.”  Those interested in sponsoring the event should call (607) 547-8111, extension 111 for details.

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 thrift store readies for move to new location

Temporary hold on donations announced

March 29, 2021 – As of this Friday, April 2 at 4 p.m., the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop will temporarily stop taking donations in preparation for its upcoming move.

The thrift store, a local mainstay for more than 40 years, is a primary source of revenue for the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA). Both the animal shelter and thrift store facilities will relocate soon to a brand new campus just 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Highway 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta.

“April 2nd will be the last day folks can drop off donations for the thrift shop until the new retail space opens,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “This will give staff time to get established in the new location and make sure things are running smoothly.”

“We will make another announcement as soon as we know when we can start receiving donations at the new store,” Haynes said.

In the meantime, the thrift store will remain open for a few more weeks and Thrift Store Manager Sara Lucas will continue to sell merchandise online via the New Leash on Life Facebook page and on Facebook Marketplace before, during, and after the move.

According to Lucas, the transition is bittersweet but much anticipated.

“We are so appreciative of our loyal donors and shoppers, and we’ll miss you all, but we absolutely can’t wait to see everyone again at the new store,” Lucas said.

For more information on donating to the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop, call (607) 547-9462 or e-mail

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

Free rabies clinics change to monthly schedule at SQSPCA

March 26, 2021 – In conjunction with the Otsego County Department of Health, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) will continue to hold free rabies vaccination clinics on-site through the end of the year.

According to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, the shelter is scheduling vaccination appointments one Monday each month beginning in April for pet dogs, cats and ferrets. Individual appointments allow for proper social distancing, Haynes said.

The monthly schedule is as follows but may be subject to change:

  • Monday, April 12: 4-7 p.m.
  • Monday, May 17: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, June 14: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, July 12: 4-7 p.m.
  • Monday, August 16: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, September 13: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, October 4: 4-7 p.m.
  • Monday, November 15: 2-5 p.m.
  • Monday, December 13: 2-5 p.m.

Haynes praised Otsego County, local veterinarians and shelter staff for making the free rabies clinics possible.

“Otsego County is providing the vaccines and the tags,” said Haynes. “The shelter is providing the service and several local veterinarians continue to step up to donate their time to the cause.”

Dr. Julie Huntsman, Dr. Bret Meckel, and Dr. Jenny Lukovsky all worked free of charge at the clinics during the peak of the pandemic in New York State to administer the rabies vaccinations and they will continue to assist for the foreseeable future, Haynes added.

Registration for the free rabies vaccination clinics is currently underway by calling (607) 547-8111, extension 111. Appointments are on a first come, first served basis. There is a limit of 15 pets per person.

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,” 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.


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 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.




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