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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 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.  

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 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 

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

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 

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.


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

Susquehanna SPCA opens doors to dogs facing euthanasia, torture

August 1, 2020 – With kennels standing empty due to the COVID-19 slowdown, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) has answered the call of animal advocacy groups from both the United States and Lebanon to assist in the rescuing and rehoming of dogs in distress. 

According to SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, intakes at the shelter have been down over the past several months due to the “New York State on PAUSE” directive, while adoptions have increased. 

“At the height of the PAUSE, our shelter saw a 10 percent jump in adoptions. Intakes dropped 16 percent during the same time period compared to last year,” Haynes said. 

The national trends have been similar. 

“I reached out to see if we could help with any overflow problems or wait lists area shelters might have, but they were all experiencing the same phenomenon – very few dogs,” she added. 

Gordon County, Georgia 

On July 15, local dog advocate Kim Condon reached out to the SQSPCA in hopes the shelter would have space to help save Boomer and Wagner, both scheduled for euthanasia the next day. The dogs were being held at the Gordon County Animal Control Shelter in Georgia. 

“The Gordon County Animal Control Shelter is in a sad and unfortunate position. Unlike us, they do not have the luxury to not euthanize due to space constraints,” explained Haynes. “Being overwhelmed with dogs, and because Boomer and Wagner had been at their shelter the longest, they had no choice.” 

Condon reached out just in time. 

With the SQSPCA’s commitment, she and a dedicated rescue network were able to pull Boomer and Wagner out of the shelter. After a seven-day hold in a Georgia boarding facility, the dogs were transported to the SQSPCA where they are now available for adoption. 

“Boomer is a 3-year-old American pit bull terrier mix. Wagner is an Australian cattle dog, also around 3 years old,” said Haynes. “Both are very friendly.” 

The cost to secure and transport Boomer and Wagner was paid for entirely by the rescue network, which saves dogs from Texas as well as Georgia. 

Condon said dog overpopulation in the South is prevalent due to lack of spaying and neutering. 

“Many people simply do not realize the thousands of dogs killed each day,” Condon explained. “These dogs are often as sweet as can be – beautiful animals with little to no chance of avoiding being killed. 

“I became involved in rescue because of my love and absolute respect for animals,” Condon said. “My focus has been dog rescue for the past few years. I work with an amazing network of volunteers throughout the country to gain exposure through social media because so many dogs are killed without ever being seen by anyone outside the facility … given no chance. There are rescues who step up time after time to save as many dogs as they can.” 

The challenges, according to Condon, are a limited number of rescue organizations and lack of funding. 

“It is so important for more people to become involved in helping. Everyone can do something. Sharing posts on social media, pledging an amount for a dog in need so a rescue can help, fostering, volunteering at shelters, and adopting are some ways to save lives. Stacie at the Susquehanna SPCA goes above and beyond to save dogs. She did not skip a beat when I reached out to her, desperately trying to help Wagner and Boomer. They were on the kill list and most definitely would have been euthanized.” 

Beirut, Lebanon 

On the other side of the world, economic collapse and a culture of canine cruelty, neglect, and violence is prompting the arrival of 13 dogs to the SQSPCA early next week. 

Animals Lebanon is a nonprofit group that improves the welfare of animals through comprehensive national animal protection and welfare legislation. They provide nationwide public assistance for companion animals while rescuing and improving the conditions of captive endangered wildlife. 

“We first partnered with Animals Lebanon in the winter of 2019, when LVT Sara Haddad and I traveled overseas – all expenses paid by Animals Lebanon – to bring traumatized dogs home to Otsego County,” Haynes recalled. 

Dogs have a zero percent chance of being adopted in Lebanon. Not because of their health or behavior, but because they are not accepted into homes, Haynes explained. Dogs in Lebanon are beaten, shot and poisoned. The advent of COVID-19 and misinformation about transmittal of the virus from dogs and cats to humans have made conditions even worse. 

“We still have 15 empty kennels, even after waiving our surrender fees for the past several months. These dogs are suffering horribly, and the circumstances are right for us to take them in and find them loving homes,” Haynes said. 

The SQSPCA is receiving inquiries by telephone and e-mail every day for dogs, but cannot meet the growing demand as people search for companions in this difficult time, she added. 

Once again, all expenses associated with transporting dogs from Lebanon to Cooperstown have been paid with no cost to the SQSPCA, this time by Linda Nealon, a volunteer that helps animals in crisis. 

“I feel tremendous empathy for the dogs arriving from Animals Lebanon. These dogs were rescued after being shot, dragged behind a truck and then hit by another car, and dumped onto the streets by families unable to care for their family pets anymore,” recounted Nealon. 

With the Lebanese pound being devalued to almost nothing, people are starving and unable to feed their families let alone their pets, so the circumstances there are dire, Nealon said. 

“Animals Lebanon is a safety net, rescuing as many animals as they can and providing veterinary care. Their foster families are full and no adoptions are taking place in Lebanon due to the civil unrest and poverty,” Nealon continued. 

“Thankfully Stacie Haynes and the Susquehanna SPCA have stepped up to take in 13 dogs being flown to New York this Monday. They will travel with volunteer John Tarraf by plane for 25 hours in cargo and, upon landing, will be driven straight to the gates of the SQSPCA where they will be welcomed, fed, and watered after their long journey. I am hopeful every one of these pups will find a loving and wonderful forever home,” she said. 

The Delaware Valley Humane Society, also experiencing a shortage of dogs in recent months, will partner with the SQSPCA in sheltering and adopting out the Lebanon rescues. 

“Our Doors Are Open” 

If your cat or dog must be rehomed, the SQSPCA remains ready to help. 

“Because of the financial uncertainty prompted by COVID-19, our surrender fees are temporarily waived,” Haynes reiterated. “We understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a pet. My staff and I are committed to caring for and rehoming all surrendered animals. 

“And sometimes – when the need is urgent and conditions are right – we will answer a call for help from beyond the borders of Otsego County, confident that people will open their hearts and their homes to animals in danger or distress.” 

To learn more about the Susquehanna SPCA, to view available animals, or to donate, visit

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.

SQSPCA, County partner to continue clinics in spite of pandemic

Dr. Bret Meckel administers a rabies vaccine to SQSPCA alumnus Roscoe while owner Regan Hayes looks on.

July 17, 2020 – When Otsego County was forced to cancel its annual free rabies vaccination clinics in April due to the “New York State on PAUSE” directive, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) stepped up with a solution.

By scheduling appointments and conducting the clinics via a rear entrance to the shelter building, the SQSPCA would address social distancing concerns. The requirement of face masks or face coverings and thorough disinfection between appointments would protect visitors and staff from COVID-19 and stop the spread of germs.

Working closely with the Otsego County Department of Health, the SQSPCA began rabies vaccination clinics on-site on Wednesday, April 22. Since that time, almost 400 cats and dogs have been immunized.

“Otsego County is providing the vaccines and the tags,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “The shelter is providing the service.”

In addition to shelter staff dedicated to the effort, several local veterinarians have stepped up to donate their time to the cause.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have caring veterinarians in our area,” Haynes said. “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.”

“It’s a pleasure and honor to work at the shelter,” added Dr. Huntsman, who subcontracts with the SQSPCA for regular veterinary services in addition to her volunteer work at the clinics. “It’s important and meaningful work, getting these animals off to a good start and, in many cases, on the road to recovery. 

“The rabies clinics are another opportunity to serve,” Huntsman said. “Getting animals current on their rabies vaccine is critical to their safety and to public health.  I’ve been glad to pitch in!”

The program is expected to continue at the shelter for the foreseeable future. Vaccination appointments for pet dogs, cats and ferrets are being scheduled on alternating Wednesday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. by calling (607) 547-8111, extension 108. Appointments are required and are on a first come, first served basis. There is a limit of 15 pets per person.

“We are so very happy to be in a position at this time to step up to help the county. We believe they are working hard to do the best they can for the people of this county and we want to be part of it,” Haynes said.

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 bat in Oneonta,” 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


5082-5088 State Highway 28
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Cooperstown, NY
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