INDEX – 36 dogs and 15 cats moved to their new home in the new Susquehanna SPCA headquarters just a mile north of the former building in Hyde Park on Thursday July 15.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Saturday, July 17, with speeches from SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes, Senator Peter Oberacker, Reps Chris Tague and John Salka, and State Agriculture and Market Commissioner Richard Ball .
“We are just about to reach the final parts and everything is coming together,” said Haynes on the Thursday before the official opening. “This is a dream come true.”
The 11,000 square meter shelter was built in just under two years, according to Haynes. The $ 6.2 million facility was funded by several thousand dollars from more than 125 donors and the sale of the previous property to Finger Lakes-based Montezuma Winery.
The adoption center of Anita, named after the founder and president of Staffworks, Anita A. Vitullo, has 20 kennels for adoption floors, two communal cat rooms with outside “Catio” extensions, a glazed “feature room” with good visibility from Main entrance and lobby, and a state-of-the-art surgical suite, all separated by “Corridors of Care” and “Corridors of Hope”.
The layout is designed to make animal care more comfortable and efficient for the shelter’s staff, volunteers, and furry residents, Haynes said. Cleaning, maintenance and feed preparation rooms are located next to the kennel and kennel rooms and allow easy passage of feed, water, medication and waste.
“Research tells us that the fewer animals there are to choose from, the greater the chance they will be adopted,” said Haynes. “The building was purposely designed to be more efficient so the animals can get to the adoption floor more quickly. We may not host the same number of animals at once, but over time we know we will serve more animals. ”
The space includes private adoption counseling rooms, another important step in improving the adoption process, says Haynes.
“We don’t do paper applications,” she said. “We love to bring people in and talk to them face-to-face to help them find their next best friend.”
The heating, ventilation, and air cooling system isolates airflow to every single room and kennel in the shelter, said Haynes, which is designed to keep each animal’s odors in its own space.
“The smell of another animal can be a very annoying, very stressful factor in a shelter environment,” said Haynes. “We try to make the animals as comfortable as possible.”
Visitors and potential adopters are invited to socialize with shelter dogs in a grassy enclosure in front of Seaver’s Park, named in honor of Otsego County’s “beloved Golden Retriever,” Martha Yager.
“When people come to adopt a dog, many of them think the best way to get to know the dog is to take them for a walk,” said Haynes. “But we find that they are still overwrought and sometimes stressed when they are on a leash. The best way to meet a shelter dog is when he’s relaxed, so this is a place where that can happen. ”
The common room has a conference and storage space that will be available to the public, Haynes said. “The community built this shelter and we want the community to feel welcome to use it.”
The shelter’s common room and endowment fund are dedicated in honor of Louis Busch Hager, the late President Emeritus of the Susquehanna SPCA board of directors who oversaw the purchase and construction of the former site that was inaugurated 34 years before the new location, Haynes said .
The animal room of the new shelter has its own separate entrance, which is isolated from the traffic and noise of the rest of the building to allow for a “calm and understanding environment,” said Haynes.
“When someone is here to drop off their pet, they don’t necessarily want to be there for all of the happy adoptions,” she said. “We want to give them the space to be open and honest. In the end, that helps us to help them and their animals the most. ”
The cutting of the ribbon also celebrates the opening of the SQSPCA thrift store’s new home, New Leash On Life, which is adjacent to the new animal shelter. The proceeds from the sale of the donated items go to the shelter and the care of the animals.
visit sqspca.org for more informations.