SPCA to break ground on new facility


The Susquehanna SPCA will host a public groundbreaking celebration for its new site Saturday at 5088 State Route 28 in Index.

The free event will start at noon and last until 2 p.m., said Stacie Haynes, SQSPCA executive director. There will be cookies and punch and an SQSPCA “alumni” photo portrait booth for animals who have been adopted from the shelter, an SQSPCA mascot photo booth, and a “hugging booth” featuring SQSPCA animals, according to an SQSPCA media release.

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, according to the release. In February 2018, the shelter received $500,000 in state funds to upgrade its facilities, and a matching grant from the Staffworks Fund in April. Haynes said the SQSPCA aims to have the project finished by June. People can donate to the campaign at Saturday’s event and view renderings of the building’s proposed design. All new gifts and pledges made through Oct. 1 — up to a total of $250,000 — will be doubled by the Staffworks Fund Matching Challenge Grant, according to the release.

The new facilities will better conform to guidelines established by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, Haynes said. Formerly an old motorcycle repair shop, the current shelter doesn’t have adequate ventilation, and due to limited space, its surgery suite is also used for intake, grooming and overflow for shelter cats. Because of that, disinfecting the surgery suite takes extra time, which could be better put toward providing enrichment for the animals, Haynes said. The upgrades come at a hefty price tag, but are much needed, she said.

“Its kind of a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the reason we’re doing this project,” Haynes said. “We have one shot to do it so we’re going to make sure we do it right. It’s really going to be a fabulous place for animals to live.”

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 and parking that will be more convenient for visitors, according to the release.

SQSPCA’s new location, including the New Leash on Life Thrift Shop, will be 1.2 miles north of the shelter’s current location on state Route 28 between Cooperstown and Oneonta. Originally, SQSPCA planned to build behind its facility, but plans were scrapped after environmental tests revealed it wouldn’t be feasible to construct more buildings on the site, Haynes said. It was vital that the shelter stayed near its current location, between Cooperstown and Oneonta and close to Chenango and Schoharie counties, she said.

The SQSPCA is grateful for donations and thanks contributors for their support, Haynes said.

“When it’s finished, they’re going to be so proud to be involved,” she said. “We’re delighted to get new friends and supporters.”

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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