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SQSPCA groundbreaking is this Saturday

Shelter to unveil plans for site, building

This Saturday, August 24, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA) will host a public celebration at 5088 State Highway 28, Cooperstown marking the groundbreaking of the future site of its planned animal shelter and adjoining campus.

The Staffworks Fund at the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties will serve as Presenting Sponsor for the event, which will introduce for the first time to the public renderings of the proposed site plan, floor plan, and building exterior.

“We are so proud to share details of this project and the benefits it will bring to our region,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. “It’s going to be a gorgeous campus purposely built to save and rehome hundreds of animals per year, while in keeping with the surrounding countryside.”

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will kick off at noon with a groundbreaking ceremony and run until 2 p.m. Cookies and punch will be served, and the event will feature the following “pet-centered” activities:

  • “Alumni” Photo Portrait Booth sponsored by Hughson & Benson Associates
  • SQSPCA Mascot Photo Booth sponsored by Kevin’s Royal Automotive of Owego and Cooperstown
  • SQSPCA Hugging Booth sponsored by Royal Chrysler-Hyundai of Oneonta

Cooperstown artist May-Britt Joyce will also be on hand, accepting limited orders for special pet portraits. Proceeds will benefit the shelter.

“Folks will recognize May-Britt’s engaging portraiture style from our groundbreaking posters and invitations,” said Haynes. “Her ability to capture the essence of beloved pets like Barkus and Sandy will have people lining up for likenesses of their own dogs and cats.”

“We are incredibly honored to have May-Britt be part of this event,” she added.

All those attending the groundbreaking are encouraged to bring their own leashed pets to participate in the activities.  The SQSPCA will also have a number of adoptable dogs and cats in attendance to stand in as needed for photographs and hugs.

“We invite animal lovers, shelter supporters and volunteers from across the region to join us with their pets for an afternoon of fun as we celebrate this momentous occasion,” Haynes said. “If you’re not familiar with our work, this is also a great time to come learn about our organization and see us in action.”

Other sponsors include: NYCM Insurance (Public Reception Sponsor); NBT Bank (Hard Hat Sponsor); Northern Eagle Beverages, Inc. and Cooperstown Brewing Company (Brunch Sponsors); AllOtsego/The Freeman’s Journal/Hometown Oneonta (Media Sponsors); Morris Garage (Dog Watering Station Sponsor); and Bruce Hall Corp., Matthew Sohns and Mary-Margaret Robbins, Michael Stein Fundraising Counsel, and L.M. Townsend Catering (Participating Sponsors).

This project – initiated with a $500,000 New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund Grant through the Department of Agriculture and Markets and buoyed by a recent matching grant from the Staffworks Fund – will move the shelter 1.2 miles north of the current location on State Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta to a new, state-of-the-art building and surrounding campus including the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop.

The SQSPCA Board of Directors, SHELTER US Capital Campaign Committee and staff have been raising funds since last fall in support of the new facilities, which 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.

“The new shelter and all the improved amenities are much needed and very exciting, but they come at a considerable price tag,” Haynes said. “We hope people will consider making a multi-year pledge to the campaign. Now is a perfect time to do so, as all new gifts and pledges made through October 1 – up to a total of $250,000 – are being doubled by the Staffworks Fund Matching Challenge Grant.”

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 complete the project. 

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. 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

In 2005, Anita A. Vitullo established the Staffworks Fund at the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties.  The sole mission of the Staffworks Fund is supporting nonprofit organizations that care for at-risk animals. Today, Staffworks has assets of more than $13,000,000 at The Community Foundation. One hundred percent of Staffworks Inc. profits provide the financial support for the Staffworks Fund. Staffworks Inc. was founded by Vitullo in 1997 and has nine offices serving central New York State.


5082-5088 State Highway 28
5082-5088 State Highway 28
Cooperstown, NY
Cooperstown, NY

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