October 23, 2021

SPCA closes to public, adapts operations during virus outbreak

Keeping things on a tight leash

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

Blue, in front, and Duke, being held by Kelly Brown of the Cortland Community Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, catch a few minutes of sunshine Monday. Brown and Kathi Maxson, left, get the Great Danes out daily for a bit of exercise.

Blue and Duke trot out from the back door at the Cortland Community Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It’s a warm, sunny day and they seem to appreciate it shining on their faces.

“These guys spend quite a bit of time out here on nicer days,” said Kathi Maxson, an SPCA employee.

They’re outside daily, which helps ease the current situation given they’re almost the size of ponies.

The dogs, which have been at the shelter on McLean Road in Cortlandville since March 4, are only two of about 20 to 25 animals at the shelter.

Because of coronavirus, the SPCA has had to change how it operates and looks after the animals. The facility is no longer open to the public, according to the facility’s website. However, people can still fill out adoption applications and be seen by appointment.

The SPCA has also halted the spay and neuter program.

“This will lead to an increase in puppies and kittens in the county and at the SPCA,” said Sandy Snyder, the director of operations.

Regular veterinary exams are also being done on a limited basis, she said. “The local veterinarians have been amazing in helping meet our needs with the animals brought into the SPCA.”

The SPCA had to lay off two people and cut the hours of other employees. Snyder said she also foresees a shortage of certain supplies, including toilet paper, paper towels, 13-gallon garbage bags, bleach and laundry soap.

The SPCA Chief Law Enforcement Officer Bill Carr said he’s also expecting shortages in gloves and hand sanitizer.

“I have enough gloves and hand sanitizer for about a month,” he said. “It would be nice to have a little bit more on hand.”

After that, the items would need to be purchased, but funds are also limited, Snyder said.

However, Carr said enforcement operations are still going on, including responding to dog control complaints, reports of injured or ill animals and investigating complaints of neglected or abused animals.