Julie Morris, VP, ASPCA National Shelter Outreach
One of the best parts of my job is visiting animal shelters across the country. I have visited hundreds of them over the years, from the largest urban municipal facilities to the smallest private shelters serving rural communities.
One of my favorite shelters is the Chenango County SPCA (CCSPCA) in rural Norwich, NY. It’s a cheerful, upbeat shelter with a great community reputation. The ASPCA considers it a model facility, and we routinely encourage other small shelters to view its building and operations.
In August 1999, however, the shelter learned that the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) had decided to change the intersection in front of the facility and widen the road. To the shock of shelter management, they are being evicted from their own facility on their own property! Worse yet, they have less than one year to vacate the premises. The CCSPCA’s board of directors is now negotiating the land issue and trying to secure a better timetable, but in the meantime, the shelter needs your help.
AN ADMIRABLE GROWTH CURVE
The CCSPCA worked hard to get where it is today. In 1981, it lacked a director, was in total disrepair and had a terrible reputation in the north central New York community. Animals in the shelter were sick and dying. Dogs were tied on short chains to dilapidated, substandard doghouses, and parts of the shelter were unheated. The shelter started to turn around in 1982 when Roz Scheuerman, a longtime volunteer, was hired as executive director. Under Scheuerman’s direction, the shelter achieved a phenomenal level of growth and success. Her education and publicity efforts garnered a great deal of community support and inspired businesses to donate products and services for a much-needed renovation and expansion.
In 1985, my favorite part of the shelter was built- the cat colony. It holds a maximum of 15 cats who remain in the colony until adopted. The room’s design encourages visitors to interact with the cats, which leads to more adoptions.
In 1992, an isolation room and indoor kennels with heated floors-a real plus during the area’s cold winters-headed the list of improvements. Finally, the shelter was painted, a new roof was added, and new plumbing, wiring and lighting were installed. Its reputation skyrocketed, and it soon reached an adoption rate of 75 percent. Scheuerman retired in 1998, and shelter director Ann Dell continues the tradition of leadership. Old programs, such as providing humane education classes for area schools, continue, and new services, such as conducting cruelty investigations, have been implemented. And on December 1, 1999, Edi Brand Revoir joined the CCSPCA as the new executive director.
The CCSPCA has purchased a building, which will be renovated for administrative offices, about two miles away from the current facility. A new shelter will be built on the same grounds. But there is still much to be done, and additional money is needed to fund this project. The SPCA will receive some funds from the DOT, though not enough to build a new shelter from the ground up. Because the current shelter was built piecemeal, over a long period of time and with many donated materials, it will be hard to replace.
For those committed to animal welfare, there are few causes that lead so directly to good results. The ASPCA requests your support in helping this fine shelter rebuild. Donations, large or small, will be gratefully accepted by the Chenango County SPCA at 5557 County Road 32, Norwich, NY 13815. Donations should be marked “new facility.” You will receive acknowledgment and much satisfaction from knowing you have helped one of the nicest shelters in the country make a fresh start.
I can’t wait to see what the new cat colony looks like!
Julie Morris is vice president of ASPCA National Shelter Outreach.
© 2000 ASPCA
ASPCA Animal Watch – Spring 2000
424 East 92nd St.
New York, NY 10128-6804