Shelter to reorganize as SPCA

From left, Regional Animal Shelter Treasurer Sky Zajd, adoptable dog Theo, state Sen. James Tedisco, shelter Board of Directors President Renee Earl, volunteer Beth Elmendorf Geleta and Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino at Stump City Bewery in Gloversville on June 8 where it was announced that the Regional Animal Shelter will reorganize to become the Fulton County Regional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Additionally, Stump City launched their Regional Red Wheat Ale in support of the shelterÕs reorganization with $2 from every Regional Ale sold directly benefitting the shelter. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Regional Animal Shelter has announced that it will be reincorporating this year to become the Fulton County Regional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Regional Animal Shelter Board of Directors President Renee Earl explained on Wednesday that reorganizing the shelter as an SPCA will allow the shelter to assist local law enforcement investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty and abuse in Fulton County.

“The organization is not going to change, but becoming an SPCA will allow us to assist law enforcement with investigations of animal cruelty. As a regional animal shelter, we have zero authority to do so,” Earl explained.

Earl said over the coming months the Regional Animal Shelter will register as an SPCA through the state Division of Criminal Justice, a process that may take up to a year during which time the organization will be referred to both as the Regional Animal Shelter and as the Fulton County Regional SPCA.

Once registration is complete, Earl said under state Agriculture and Market Law, the shelter will be able to send interested volunteers for training to become certified peace officers capable of assisting animal cruelty investigations.

“We’re not looking to replace law enforcement, we’re just looking to aid, support and assist,” Earl said. “Our current law enforcement is stretched so thin as it is, and they do a marvelous job already, but having an extra set of hands to assist them is only going to help with these types of cases.”

Additionally, under state law, peace officers are authorized to seize dogs that are believed to be abandoned or in imminent danger and to prevent acts of cruelty to animals, including animal fighting or unhealthy conditions of any kind.

“This is not a decision that we entered into lightly. There is a great need for this type of resource in our area and we fully understand what a huge responsibility this is. We are up for the challenge and promise to keep doing what we do best,” Earl said. “It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s definitely going to be a work in progress, but I feel that we have the commitment of our volunteers and the support of the community to make it happen.”

Founded in 2002, the Regional Animal Shelter is a registered not-for-profit organization funded entirely through donations and operated by 40 volunteers. While the shelter’s day-to-day operations will remain unchanged following reincorporation, Earl said becoming an SPCA will open additional grant funding opportunities that the shelter plans to seek out.

Earl said applications seeking possible grant funds for construction of a new shelter facility will be the highest priority after reincorporation to replace the current facility located at 117 W. Fulton St.

The small facility has just eight kennels limiting the shelter to taking in and caring for only stray, abandoned or abused dogs from within the city until they are reunited with their families or adopted. The shelter is currently only able to assist cats when foster homes are available.

“Eventually, when we are able to get a new facility, then we can of course assist more animals by taking in surrenders or working with other municipalities. But, until that new building happens those aspects are not going to be different,” Earl said.

“I think the long-term goal for any shelter, especially ours, is most importantly to assist any animal in need, but also through education and support to hopefully to end homelessness and over population specifically in Fulton County,” she added. “We will continue to actively promote owner education, training and public awareness and we won’t stop until our services are no longer needed.”

To learn more about the Fulton County Regional SPCA visit regionalanimalshelter.org or contact the shelter by phone at (518) 725-5956.

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