From the Susquehanna SPCA:
It’s quite literally raining cats and dogs at the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SQSPCA).
For several months, the shelter has been chipping away at a triple digit surrender waiting list for cats. Now shelter staff face a perfect storm in the making, having taken in 14 dogs unexpectedly today, with another 10 dogs set to arrive on Saturday.
The dogs coming this weekend are thanks to a partnership between the SQSPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Louisiana. The unexpected arrivals – from an Otsego County hoarding case – are mostly large breed working dogs.
SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes reflected on the events leading up to today.
“In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, the New York State Animal Protection Federation put out a call for help to New York shelters with empty kennels,” Haynes said. “Louisiana’s animal shelters and rescues, some of which still do not have working electricity or running water, are trying desperately to rebuild. We had 15 open kennels at the time, so we agreed to take 10 dogs.”
Then, the unthinkable.
“This morning we responded to a situation of unintended neglect in which an Otsego County resident found themselves unable to maintain the necessary levels of care and medical attention for a growing number of dogs,” Haynes explained.
“These dogs are a mix of Great Pyrenees, Cane Corso and Newfoundland of varying ages. Most have not been spayed or neutered. They are currently being treated for worms and fleas, many are emaciated, and a couple have injuries. Although they have not been properly socialized, they are not aggressive to the best of our knowledge,” Haynes added.
Given that these are large breed working dogs, Haynes said it will be difficult to ask other local shelters to help, as many are already struggling with space issues or capacity for care of such big, energetic breeds.
“If you have ever thought about adopting or even fostering a working dog, now is the time,” Haynes emphasized. “These dogs do not do well in a shelter environment – they need space, and a job to do. Our adoption counselors are standing by at 607-547-8111, extension 102 or extension 107.”
Farms, country living and fenced-in yards would be ideal for these dogs. They cannot live in apartments, Haynes said.
Further from home, thousands are in crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, including many animal shelters and rescue facilities. Thanks to the Humane Society of Louisiana, the Best Friends nationwide network and a web-based application called Trello, the SQSPCA was able to select dogs to be transported north for rehoming.
“These are not hurricane dogs,” Haynes clarified. “These are dogs from shelters or rescues affected by the hurricane. As these dogs are moved out of Louisiana to places like the SQSPCA, space is freed up for animals displaced by the hurricane, whether as owner surrenders or for temporary boarding.”
Some of the dogs on their way to Cooperstown – Simone, Big Emma and Igor – are from facilities in New Orleans that still don’t have power or water, Haynes said.
In spite of everything, Haynes remains both excited and optimistic.
“We’re counting on local media, social media, and word of mouth to get these big working dogs out of our shelter and on to greener pastures, and to get the southern dogs into good homes as well. There seems to be a shortage of adoptable dogs in Otsego County – our length of stay for dogs is currently just 19 days, so we don’t think we will have any problem rehoming any of them,” she said.
Haynes added that the transfer of ownership of the working dogs to the shelter is a nod to the effectiveness and importance of the SQSPCA’s “Here to Help Hotline” first implemented earlier this year.
“A local dog control officer, recognizing a situation that was not cruelty but rather someone desperately in need of help, reached out to us and staff mobilized immediately. It’s important that our donors understand the many public assistance programs that would simply not be possible without their continued support,” Haynes said.
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 on available animals, or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org or call 607-547-8111. The shelter is located at 5082-5088 State Highway 28 just south of the Village of Cooperstown.
PHOTOS: Adoptable working dogs Arthur and Monty.