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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 www.sqspca.org 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 https://sqspca.org/support/make-a-donation/

 “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 www.sqspca.org

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

SQSPCA offers special ‘study buddy’ discounts by appointment

August 31, 2020 – Due to an influx of adoptable felines of all ages, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) is offering 20 percent off all adoptions from Tuesday, September 1 through Wednesday, September 30. 

According to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, the shelter is now at capacity for cats and kittens and has a waiting list for new arrivals, prompting the “Back-to-School Adoption Sale,” while a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Otsego County has necessitated the return to appointment-only adoptions. 

“Here at the SQSPCA, we like to find the silver lining to every situation,” said Haynes. “Given that most area school districts are going virtual for the first five weeks of the fall semester animal lovers have a unique opportunity to spend that time helping a new pet adjust to unfamiliar surroundings. 

“At the same time, pets can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and boost peoples’ mood,” Haynes added. 

Research shows that companion animals can ease loneliness, reduce stress, provide emotional support, add laughter and levity, and give people structure and purpose, she said. 

“This is a difficult time for everyone, and the shelter can be equally stressful for cats and dogs as they await their ‘furever’ homes. Why not bring a new study buddy home to snuggle up with while watching virtual algebra lessons?” Haynes asked. 

Adoption fees at the SQSPCA include: spay/neuter; microchip; rabies/distemper/bordetella vaccinations and heartworm/Lyme testing (dogs, age appropriate); rabies/distemper vaccinations and Feline Leukemia/FIV testing (cats, age appropriate); fecal testing; deworming; flea treatment; and basic grooming.  

Available kittens and cats range from two months to 14 years, from calico to tortoiseshell to tabby. Available dogs include mastiff, coonhound and pointer mixes. 

“Whether you are looking for a study buddy for your son or daughter this fall or would simply like a companion for yourself, we can help you make the perfect match,” Haynes said. 

To learn more about the Susquehanna SPCA and to view available animals, visit www.sqspca.org. To schedule an appointment to adopt, call (607) 547-8111.  

In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. The SQSPCA is a privately funded, state inspected animal shelter practicing “no-kill” philosophies. Private donations, grants, fundraising and the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop are the shelter’s only source of income. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org 

SQSPCA exceeds challenge, pays it forward

August 6, 2020 – Once again, the Susquehanna SPCA has met – and surpassed – a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge in support of its SHELTER US Campaign.

On May 14, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) announced a $100,000 anonymous capital campaign challenge just as the building of its multi-million-dollar campus was getting underway. Through August 1, every new donation or pledge to the SHELTER US Campaign would be matched, up to $100,000, for a target of $200,000 toward the campaign goal.

Twelve weeks later, the total raised via the challenge is just over $123,000, bringing the shelter $223,000 closer to the project’s roughly $5 million price tag.

“Thanks to the generosity of this anonymous donor – and to an incredibly supportive community that continues to amaze us – we are now only about $600,000 from the $5 million mark,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

In celebration of this milestone, the shelter is giving back to the community with reduced adoption fees from Friday, August 7 through Friday, August 14.

“Because we exceeded the challenge match by $23,000, all adoption fees for the next week will be reduced by $23,” Haynes announced. “This is our small way of saying thanks to everyone who looks to the SQSPCA for essential services as well as for the tremendous vote of confidence we have been shown by our donors and volunteers as we finalize plans for the new campus.”

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 – will move the shelter and thrift store facilities 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta.

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.

Haynes reminded that 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 still available from $5,000 to $100,000,” she said.

To request a SHELTER US information packet, call Haynes at (607) 547-8111, extension 101. To learn more about the Susquehanna SPCA, to view available animals, or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

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 

Reconfigured golf event will aid homeless, abandoned animals

August 10, 2020 – The fifth annual Par for Paws Golf Tournament to benefit the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has been restructured this year due to COVID-19.

In order to meet current social distancing restrictions, 2020’s event at the Otsego Golf Club will instead be an SQSPCA Golf Weekend beginning on Friday, September 25 and extending through Sunday, September 27.

“Given the shelter’s dependence on fund raising despite the continuing concerns regarding COVID-19, we are revamping our one-day tournament into a weekend event stretching over several days,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.

“Anyone teeing off at the Otsego Golf Club during our Golf Weekend can take part simply by mentioning they are golfing in support of the SQSPCA. The $40 per-person admission charge will cover greens fees for 18 holes, use of a cart, a thank-you gift, and a hot dog at the end of play,” Haynes explained.

In addition, a percentage of each fee will be donated back to the shelter, Haynes said.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the SQSPCA Golf Weekend, all of which include signage at the event. According to Haynes, sponsorships start at $300 for a Hole Sponsor, followed by Cart Sponsors at $1,000. The Scorecard Sponsor ($2,500) and event underwriter ($5,000) will receive player registrations as well, as part of their sponsorship packages.

Located on the shores of Otsego Lake just nine miles from Cooperstown, the Otsego Golf Club is one of America’s oldest and most beautiful courses.

“This event is ideal for people who love golf, love animals, and who appreciate the history and picturesque greens of the Otsego Golf Club,” Haynes added.

Profits from the SQSPCA Golf Weekend will provide much-needed funds to help the SQSPCA fulfill its mission of caring for homeless and abandoned dogs and cats from across the region. These animals are vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and treated for illness or malnutrition as necessary before they are adopted out to a loving new home.

Registration for players as well as sponsors is currently underway.

Golfers should call the Otsego Golf Club at (607) 547-9290 to register a tee time. The SQSPCA Golf Weekend must be mentioned in order to secure the $40 per-person fee, and payment is cash only.

If your business or organization is interested in supporting this event as a sponsor, please e-mail [email protected] or call (607) 547-8111, extension 101.

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In operation since 1917, the Susquehanna SPCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to caring for homeless, surrendered, and seized companion animals and finding them loving, forever homes. The SQSPCA is a privately funded, state inspected animal shelter practicing “no-kill” philosophies. Private donations, grants, fundraising and the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop are the shelter’s only source of income. For more information or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org

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