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Animal clinic faces move

Photos by Kevin Conlon/contributing photographer

Kaaren Pierce, a volunteer at CNY SNAP spay and neuter clinic on Central Avenue in Cortland, comforts Ainsley, a 2-year-old stray cat that is recovering from leg surgery. When the cat arrived at the clinic, it was believed to have a sprain, but a veterinatian determined it had a tumor, which was removed last week. The cat will soon be available for adoption.

CORTLAND — Unless a volunteer spay-and-neuter clinic can find a new home by the end of the year, people looking to adopt pets can expect to pay more, and the Cortland SPCA will have more work.

CNY SNAP, which runs trap-and-release programs and provides low-cost spay and neuter services for up to 3,000 animals a year at its Central Avenue location must find a new place by Jan. 1. A month into its search, it hasn’t had any luck, CNY SNAP Executive Director Janice Hinman said Monday.

Hinman said the spay/neuter operation shares space in a building with Economy Paving. Owner Steve Compagni last month told her they had to be out by Jan. 1 because he wants to expand operations in the building. Compagni did not return a phone call for comment.

CNY SNAP has to find a new location by Jan. 1 or else it will be forced to close, Hinman said.

Hinman said Compagni gave the organization ample time to find a new location, but she has not found a suitable site yet. The current facility is 2,000 square feet, the organization needs space for shelving and pet crates, she said.

Searching for space and planning the move while conducting the once-weekly spay clinics — about 35 cats on Monday — is a lot of work for the volunteer-led organization.

Hinman gets state grants for her operation and has a contract with Shelter Outreach Services, an Ithaca-based nonprofit that provides the procedures.

Leslie Appel, executive director of Shelter Outreach Services, said CNY SNAP is a “long-standing, dedicated, hard working partner” that she hopes to continue working with in the future.

“We are hopeful that CNY SNAP can find another building/ location in Cortland County to continue our important joint work for animals in the area,” Appel wrote.

Hinman said CNY SNAP gets animals from as far as Syracuse and Binghamton.

Without the service in Cortland, said Hinman, “there would be 3,000 animals a year, dogs and cats, that wouldn’t be getting done.”

CNY SNAP holds spay/neuter clinics on Mondays and one Saturday a month, Hinman said. Standard vaccinations can also be provided.

Caren Snyder, a volunteer at CNY SNAP spay and neuter clinic, attends to a 12-week-old kitten after the animal was spayed Monday.

The clinic primarily serves low-income pet owners, animal shelters and dog rescue organizations.

CNY SNAP has neutered or spayed about 38,000 animals in the past 15 years, Hinman said, including pets for Country Acres Pet Services, in Scott.

The shelter places 250 to 300 dogs a year, said Country Acres owner Lindsay Andersen, and charges a $150 adoption fee that will likely go up if the shelter must turn to a private veterinarian.

“We maybe have a couple of possibilities but it’s not as cost effective,” she said. “We would have to reach out to local vets and possibly try to come up with an effective plan.”

Sandy Snyder, director of operations for the Cortland Community Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said CNY SNAP greatly offsets the workload for the SPCA between the neuter clinics and the trap, neuter and release programs that help control feral cat populations.

“It takes some of the pressure off the shelter, her doing all this,” Snyder said. Without it, Snyder said, the shelter would definitely feel the impact in the form of more stray animals and animals in need of neutering.

The SPCA can only do so much with its funds and space, Snyder said; it cannot take over services provided for animals from Binghamton and Syracuse.

“I greatly appreciate her work and what she does in the community and would be very, very sad to lose that,” Snyder said.

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