Fundraiser aids area shelters

Sarah Eames | The Daily StarTerra Butler, founder of Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans, holds Cassiopeia, a 6-week-old Newfoundland-pit bull mix puppy, in an upstairs room of the shelter’s Winney Hill Road complex Monday, Nov. 30.

With about $20,000 in debt stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Oneonta-based animal rescue Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans is eligible for some financial relief through the Staffworks Save-a-Life fundraiser.

From Nov. 30 until Dec. 31, Staffworks will match up to $100,000 in donations to the Oneonta shelter, as well as the Susquehanna SPCA in Hyde Park, the Delaware Valley Humane Society in Sidney and the Chenango SPCA in Norwich.

“This is the first year we’ve partnered with Staffworks, so this is really exciting for us,” said Super Heroes founder Terra Butler.

In addition to general operating expenses, funds are needed to purchase the Winney Hill Road facility the shelter has been renting since its founding in 2017, Butler said.

“Right now, we’re paying more in rent each month than we would on a mortgage,” she said, estimating the building’s list price at $271,000. “It’s just not sustainable.”

Once purchased, the building will need to undergo extensive renovations “to allow us to better serve the animals in our care,” Butler said.

Renovation plans entail expanding the fenced-in outdoor space, enclosing the outdoor kennels to give resident dogs more space and more privacy, and purchasing about $20,000 in cages for the cats, Butler said. A surgery suite is in the works upstairs, which would allow the shelter to provide its own low-cost spay and neuter clinic.

Since its founding, the shelter has coordinated the spay and neuter of about 60 cats a month at a clinic in the Hudson Valley, which involves transporting the cats more than two hours each way in a box truck.

The Hudson Valley clinic stopped scheduling procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic, Butler said, “so we haven’t really been able to spay and neuter in about a year.”

Falling behind on spay and neuter services locally means an uptick in the number of animals in need of homes, Butler said, putting a strain on the shelter’s already limited resources.

“We kind of go above and beyond with the medical cases,” Butler said, financing dental work, exploratory surgery and other costly procedures that might deter potential adopters.

“These animals have to have these procedures done, and that money has to come from somewhere,” she said.

The shelter receives much of its income from fundraisers regularly hosted at local establishments like Roots Brewing Company that were unable to proceed due to a statewide ban on large gatherings, Butler said. A summer fundraiser at Ommegang Brewery was expected to bring in around $3,000 before it, too, was called off because of the pandemic.

The Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans Thrift Store on Main Street, another major source of income, was closed for several months through the spring and summer.

“This is our first year operating in the red,” Butler said. “The pandemic is hitting us pretty hard, but throughout, we have still done our best to provide for the community.”

Renovation plans also include a classroom space for seminars on dog behavior and care for kittens and feral cats, which are typically held at the Huntington Memorial Library and Southside Mall throughout the year, Butler said.

“By offering free education for the community, we’re to try to reduce the number of animals coming into the shelter,” she said.

Further plans for a dog playroom and another cat room “will help us take care of these animals more efficiently and provide better care, which will, in turn, increase the amount of animals we get through the door,” Butler said.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

To Donate

Donations can be made online or by check made out to the shelter. Cash donations are not eligible for matching.

Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans

superheroesirj.org/donate

697 Winney Hill Road, Oneonta NY 13820

Susquehanna SPCA

sqspca.org, 4841 NY-28, Cooperstown, NY 13326

Delaware Valley Humane Society

dvhsny.org, 101 E. Main St., Sidney, NY 13838

Chenango SPCA

chenangospca.org, 6160 County Road 32, Norwich, NY 13815

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