Shelter group marks first year running Gloversville annex

May 19, 2013 By JASON SUBIK, The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE – Duke, a two-and-a-half-year-old pit-bull mix, was found abandoned, partially blinded in one eye from abuse in October 2012. Today, he is looking forward to being adopted by a family, and the Regional Animal Shelter believes he soon will be. We’re about 99.9 percent sure,” Regional Animal Shelter board member Renee Earl said. Earl was the master of ceremonies at Saturday’s celebration of the first anniversary of the shelter’s annex building at 117 West Fulton Street in Gloversville on Saturday.

The shelter is a public-private partnership between the not-for-profit Regional Animal Shelter and the city of Gloversville. The shelter pays the city $1 a year in rent to use the 16-by-36-foot building just south of the Gloversville transit building, near the Rail Trail, and the city saves money by not paying fees to store homeless dogs at a veterinarian’s office.

Renee Earl, a board member of the Regional Animal Shelter, shakes hands with Duke the dog on Saturday at the Regional Animal Shelter's annex building on West Fulton Street in Gloversville. The Leader-Herald/Jason Subik
Renee Earl, a board member of the Regional Animal Shelter, shakes hands with Duke the dog on Saturday at the Regional Animal Shelter’s annex building on West Fulton Street in Gloversville. The Leader-Herald/Jason Subik

Earl said since the group began operating the annex building, it has housed 134 dogs, 71 of which have been adopted, 54 of which were lost dogs that the shelter helped reunite with their families and 11 dogs, like Duke, are still looking to be adopted. Some of the remaining dogs are “seniors,” older dogs that are difficult to find homes for.

“Everyone wants a puppy; nobody wants an adult dog,” she said. “Duke isn’t a special-needs dog, but he is what we would call a little more difficult to place, just because somebody might not want a dog who’s partially blind in one eye … It doesn’t [stop] him from having a normal life, he just can’t see out of one eye. His abuse hasn’t prevented him from being a wonderful dog. He’s very loving and wonderful with children. It just has made it more difficult for him to find the perfect home.”

The Regional Animal Shelter uses Internet media such its Facebook page, which can be found by searching for “Regional Animal Shelter” on facebook.com, and websites like petfinder.com, youtube.com and its own website, regionalanimalshelter.org, to promote dog adoptions. The organization also uses its Internet presence to promote low-cost spay and neuter programs as well as rabies clinics. “In one short year, we have gained over 1,380 – and it is literally going up every day – likes on our Facebook page,” Earl told supporters of the shelter Saturday.

Choking back tears, she thanked the shelter’s volunteers, many of whom have adopted dogs themselves. “Without you, none of this would be possible.” Gloversville resident Bobbi Joe Haverly created a Youtube video featuring pictures of all of the dogs served by the no-kill shelter. She and her children volunteer at the shelter, helping to walk and feed the dogs.

“I started doing it to provide an example for my children, but really I do it for selfish reasons,” she said. “It makes me feel good.” The annex building is entirely staffed by volunteers, and its expenses, which can include $700 per month for heat in the winter and large amounts of dog food, are paid for with donations or donated directly. The Regional Animal Shelter is still in the process of raising $250,000 for its planned facility on 26 acres on Maple Avenue in Johnstown.

The plan for the proposed shelter includes dog kennels and a cat room with radiant-heat floors and accommodations for other large animals. The organization encourages individuals interested in donating to call the shelter annex at 725-5956 or visit its website.

Animal shelter group plans fundraising events

February 20, 2013 By LEVI PASCHER, The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN – The Regional Animal Shelter organization is attempting to reach its goal of raising $250,000 to build a larger shelter in the town while it continues to operate a small facility for animals in Gloversville. Upcoming fundraisers for the group include a comedy night Thursday and a bowling event next month.

The animal shelter group has been seeking grants in support of its mission to reduce the local stray-animal population, and it has been participating in spay and neuter programs and promoting education, training and public awareness.

“Things are going wonderfully,” board member Renee Earl said. “In the short time we have been open [in Gloversville], which was the middle of May last year, we have managed to get pretty much all of the dogs adopted or re-united with their families. That right there speaks toward the success.”

The shelter has eight kennels for dogs with an outdoor enclosed space that is fenced in and includes a storage shed. The 16-by-36-foot building had been vacant and unused for years on city property south of the Transit Building off West Fulton Street. In an arrangement with the city, the Regional Animal Shelter group finished the shelter and runs it for the city.

The shelter was able to get started because former city Councilwoman Cynthia Morey secured a $20,000 anonymous donation in 2007 to start the project, which at first was intended to be used by the city animal control officer. The city built the structure with the donation and about $10,000 worth of labor provided by the Department of Public Works. The city and the shelter group have a four-year lease agreement under which the group leases kennel space to the city for $1 per year and the city rent the building to the group for $1 per year.

The shelter operates daily with the help of 12 regular volunteers. It pays about $1,000 per month to feed, shelter and meet the needs of the animals at the shelter, Earl said. That doesn’t include veterinary services. The shelter group continues to raise money for its future shelter on 26 acres it owns on Maple Avenue in Johnstown.

Earl would not say how much the shelter group has raised toward its $250,000 goal, but she said it has continued to make steady progress since the effort began in 2002. Last year, the Gloversville Common Council set the fee to recover a lost dog at $10 for the first incident, $20 for the second and $30 for the third. The money from the fee goes toward feeding and caring for the dog while it is at the shelter. Previously, the city paid fees to house each stray dog at a contracted veterinarian’s office.

Now, shelter volunteers look after dogs as long as they aren’t sick or dangerous. The shelter does not yet have the capacity to house cats, but Earl said when the larger shelter is built, it will include a cat area.

“We are going to have an entire area for cats, but right now we just don’t have the room,” Earl said. However, she said the shelter will help find homes for cats with courtesy postings on Facebook and Petfinder. The new facility will allow the shelter to serve Fulton, Hamilton and Montgomery counties, Earl said.

The Regional Animal Shelter has partnered with Camp Bow Wow to conduct the Bow Wow Comedy Night on Thursday at the Comedy Works, 500 Northern Blvd., Albany. The event will feature stand-up comedian Kevin Downey Jr., prize raffles, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the show will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $30 per person, and $20 from each ticket will support the shelter organization of the purchaser’s choice.

Thursday’s event is expected to raise $5,000 in total, but the amount each shelter and rescue organization raises will be based on ticket sales.

The local shelter became involved with the comedy event after the Camp Bow Wow organizer Samuel Dearth met Earl at the Bow Wow Buddies Run/Walk in October. The two decided a comedy event would be a terrific fundraiser for Regional Animal Shelter to get involved in, Dearth said.

“Funding is critical to cover medical bills, transportation expenses, supplies, and food for rescued animals,” Dearth said. “An equally daunting challenge is the lack of manpower and experience to host fun and engaging fundraising events. The comedy series is designed to supplement fundraising efforts for Capital Region animal shelters and rescue groups.”

The shelter will continue its fundraising efforts with a Strikes for Strays bowling event March 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at Arterial Lanes. The cost of $15 per person will include three games and shoe rental.

On March 16, the shelter will participate in the Sacandaga Sun Holistic and Animal Wellness Expo at the River Front Center in Amsterdam from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Regional Animal Shelter’s Facebook page or its website, at www.regionalanimalshelter.org. Levi Pascher can be reached by email at gloversville@leaderherald.com.

Four-legged friends focus of fundraiser

September 9, 2012 By JOHN BORGOLINI, The Leader Herald


BROADALBIN – For their birthdays, children often want the latest popular toy, but Faith McCoy showed up at The Robin’s Nest on her eighth birthday Saturday with gifts for others – donations of pet-care supplies she collected from friends.

Faith McCoy wanted her friends to give her donations for Woofstock instead of presents for her eighth birthday Saturday. The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini
Faith McCoy wanted her friends to give her donations for Woofstock instead of presents for her eighth birthday Saturday. The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini

Because McCoy loves animals, she brought the presents to Woofstock, a fundraiser to benefit the Regional Animal Shelter’s animal facility at 117 W. Fulton St. in Gloversville. Dozens of people attended and made donations for the 12-animal shelter, which now has 11 dogs and one cat as residents.

Woofstock featured performances by local bands including Cleen Street, Rocky Graziano, Roger “True” Guzman, Two Out of Three, Johnny Martini and Skyler’s Dream Team, all of whom donated their time and talents.

Renee Earl of the Regional Animal Shelter said it was a great way to support the shelter. “What do people enjoy? Music, having fun, food – what’s a better way to support the animal shelter than that?” Earl said.

Earl was pleased with the number of musicians who agreed to do the benefit show. She expected to be met with excuses from the bands, as shesaid many organizations have fundraisers and are often looking for free entertainment. “The ones who have offered their assistance have been absolutely wonderful, more than accommodating, and more than helping us out with whatever we needed,” she said.

Robin Markert, owner of The Robin’s Nest and president of the Regional Animal Shelter, said the event was to raise awareness of the shelter’s efforts. Members of the shelter have been working for years to raise money to build a new shelter that would have 150 kennels and an operating room to assist injured animals. As plans for that project continue, the shelter organization has started to operate the Gloversville animal facility on behalf of the city.

Markert said the most important thing about the event was for people to learn about pets. “Any pet eats, loves and need a home,” she said, noting animals are not expendable. “You get out of your pet what you put into it,” she said. Markert went on to explain that the shelter volunteers take a lot of time to care for the animals by playing with them, bathing them and even reading the animals bed-time stories.

And Earl said she wanted people to come to this event and realize that animals in shelters are just like any others. “I want them to realize that shelter dogs are just as good or even better than any other dog, and that the dogs at the shelter deserve loving homes,” she said. “They’re even more appreciative than the dogs you buy at the pet store.”

Animal shelter opens in city

May 18, 2012 By AMANDA WHISTLE, The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE – A paw-print-patterned ribbon severed by oversized scissors fell to the ground in front of the Regional Animal Shelter’s city annex Thursday, officially opening the shelter’s doors to the public. Officials say the project is an example of a public-private partnership in which politicians and local organizations worked together toward a common goal. The shelter includes eight kennels for dogs with outdoor enclosed space.

Robin Wentworth, left speaks during the Regional Animal Shelter ribbon-cutting ceremony in Gloversville on 5/17. The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
Robin Wentworth, left speaks during the Regional Animal Shelter ribbon-cutting ceremony in Gloversville on 5/17. The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Curtains sewn by 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth adorn the windows in puppy and kitten patterns. The property is fenced in and includes a storage shed. It’s far from the boarded-up shell of a 16-by-36-foot building that sat vacant and unused for years on the city property south of the Transit Building. In an arrangement with the city, the Regional Animal Shelter finished the shelter and will run it for the city. On Thursday, state Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, cut the ribbon and called the shelter “an expression of the caring heart of Gloversville.” “You came together and created this beautiful facility,” Butler said.

Former Councilwoman Cynthia Morey was instrumental in securing a $20,000 anonymous donation in 2007 to start the project. The city used the funding to build the structure along with about $10,000 worth of labor by the Department of Public Works. For years, it sat vacant and unused, until last spring, when 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio and Councilman-at-Large James Robinson approached the Regional Animal Shelter.

The Regional Animal Shelter Board member Peg Galpin speaks at the podium during the Regional Animal Shelter Annex ribbon-cutting ceremony in Gloversville on 5/17. The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
The Regional Animal Shelter Board member Peg Galpin speaks at the podium during the Regional Animal Shelter Annex ribbon-cutting ceremony in Gloversville on 5/17. The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Regional Animal Shelter continues to raise money to open a $250,000 shelter on 26 acres on Maple Avenue in Johnstown. “It’s all for the animals, and that’s the way it should be,” Regional Animal Shelter President Robin Markert said. Under a four-year lease agreement approved by the Common Council in 2011, the Regional Animal Shelter will provide shelter services to the city. The group will lease kennel space to the city for $1 and the city will rent the building to the group for $1 per year. Completing the shelter would have cost city taxpayers tens of thousands.

Instead, it was completed with a year’s worth of volunteer work that culminated in the ceremony Thursday.

“This annex to the Regional Animal Shelter, that is coming down the road, is a glaring and very brilliant example of what can happen when a relatively small group of people decide they’re going to do something,” Morey said.? Anadio said the shelter is saving city taxpayers money in other ways. Previously, the city paid fees to house each stray dog at the contracted veterinarian’s office. Now, shelter volunteers look after the animals as long as they aren’t sick or dangerous. The shelter does not yet have the capacity to house cats, but Markert says the group hopes to soon.

Animal Control Officer Richard Schuyler said when he picks up a dog, the first step is to attempt to find the owner. If the animal doesn’t require veterinarian care, it will now go to the shelter. The city now contracts with Dr. Mark Will of Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital for veterinarian care. Anadio said the city is still working through setting redemption fees. Hours of operation are not set for the shelter yet. “There were a number of people who brought this to where it is today,” Wentworth said. Electrician and former 3rd Ward Councilman Don Ambrosino and his friend Randy Bailey of Rotterdam volunteered their time to finish the electrical work. Mike Darling, a contractor, donated his services.

Goderie’s Tree Farm donated a young maple tree and planted it in the fenced-in yard around the shelter building. “I’m so happy to see so many people turn out today, and boy, we really need it,” said shelter board member Peg Galpin. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Regional Animal Shelter’s Facebook page.

Group Helping Shelter

June 2, 2011 By AMANDA WHISTLE, The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE-Thanks to a public-private partnership blooming between the city and the board of the Regional Animal Shelter, the city’s unfinished animal holding facility may be completed.

Officials have set a target date of completion for July 1, in time to have an open house during Railfest. An anonymous $20,000 donation in May 2007 along with a $10,000 match by city taxpayers paid for construction of the structure, which now remains a 16-by-36-foot unfinished shell south of the Gloversville Transit Building.

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The boarded up property on West Fulton Street.

In July 2010, city officials said another $10,000 to $15,000 was needed to complete plumbing, heating and other necessities for the building, where the city could bring animals picked up by the dog-control officer. Regional Animal Shelter President Debby Hupkes said 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio contacted the shelter group. From there, Anadio and Councilman-at-Large James Robinson attended a board meeting to talk about the idea of the Regional Animal Shelter and the city working together to finish the building.

The group’s board decided to help finish the shelter and then run it. The group is gathering donations to finish the project and may cover leftover costs. “It’s a public-private partnership and it’s a win-win for the city of Gloversville and our shelter,” Hupkes said. The board was formed about nine years ago.

The group purchased 26 acres on Maple Avenue in Johnstown to build a $250,000 shelter. Hupkes said the group will continue with its fundraising and building the new shelter while possibly using the Gloversville location as an “interim” site untilthe new shelter is built and an “annex” after the new shelter is built.

The group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the Johnstown Town Hall. Hupkes said anyone who would like to get involved can call her at 773-7275. “I think this is a big win for the city,” said Anadio, who spearheaded the effort. “We’re still in the process of working out a contract and figuring out how it will function, but I don’t see this as a loss for the city.”

She said part of the agreement will be working out how staffing and by whom the utilities are paid as well as ownership. Anadio said Robinson and 3rd Ward Councilman Don Ambrosino, both electricians, have offered their services at no charge.

She said she also knows a plumber who will help and has already been able to get some other items donated. Hupkes said attorney Ron Schur donated his services to draw up the contract.

Amanda Whistle covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com.

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