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The recent case of a town of Root breeding kennel accused of leaving dogs outside without adequate shelter in the bitter cold may serve as a reminder for pet owners: Pets require special care in the cold.
“It’s pretty much common sense; if it’s too cold for you to be outside, then it’s too cold for a pet to be outside,” said Renee Earl, Gloversville Regional Animal Shelter board member.
Last week, state police charged Herbert Weich, owner of the Flat Creek Border Collie breeding kennel, with violating the state Agriculture & Markets Law. Police said Weich was keeping his dogs outside without adequate food, water or shelter. Weich agreed to surrender 41 of his 66 dogs to the Montgomery County SPCA while he builds doghouses for the animals.
Earl said the Gloversville shelter, which currently houses six dogs, takes steps to ensure their safety and comfort in the winter.
“We make sure that the temperature inside of the building is warm enough,” Earl said. “We provide the dogs with plenty of warm blankets and we have thick, heavy mats that are on the concrete so that the dogs aren’t lying directly on the cold, hard ground.”
The shelter also provides the dogs with plenty of fresh water, feeds them routinely and gives them each a muti-vitamin every day, Earl said.
She said that when the temperature drops below zero, the shelter lets the dogs out only for a short time and then brings them back inside.
“Depending on the breed of the dog, we’ll take preventative measures when letting them outside,” she said. “If it’s a small breed with little fur, we’ll put a coat on it to try to help it deal with the elements. Unfortunately, our shelter does not have the funds to buy booties for all of the dogs, but for the general public, there are boots that you can buy for dogs, and even socks can help them from stepping on the ice and the cold snow.”
Shelter board member Gabrielle Rulison said she thinks people need to be more sensible when it comes to a dog’s health in the winter.
“I don’t judge anyone,” Rulison said, “but some people get in over their heads when it comes to pet ownership. In the winter, it’s especially a problem because you’ve got cats and dogs in the elements. That’s a big issue with pet dealers and puppy mills; the pets are usually never taken care of properly in the winter. The laws need to be changed.”
On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law proposed by Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, authorizing municipal governments to enact more stringent laws for regulating and licensing pet dealers.
Any new local law must be at least as stringent as the state law and must not result in the banning of the sale of dogs and cats raised in a safe and healthy manner. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will continue to enforce existing state laws pertaining to animal care by pet dealers.
Lisa Marie, an assistant at the Amsterdam Animal Hospital, said she doesn’t think dogs should be outside at all when the weather is below freezing.
“In freezing temperatures, dogs should not be outside,” Marie said. “You can still take them for walks, but when it’s anything below 32 degrees, they shouldn’t be outside unless they have adequate shelter that they can go into that will keep them warm, but even then, they shouldn’t be out too long.”
Marie said adequate shelter consists of insulated housing that contains enough water and food if the dog will be there for a long period.
“There are certain dogs that are meant to be outside in the winter like huskies, malamutes and Bernese mountain dogs because they’re outdoor dogs, but they shouldn’t be left outside in the elements in below zero temperatures for extended periods,” Marie said. “Even though they’re made for the weather, it doesn’t mean they should be left out in it.”
Marie said frostbite is an issue dogs in the winter.
“First-degree frostbites can be easy to miss,” she said. “Any extremity can become frost bitten: an ear, a paw, a nose, the tail, the belly. When the dog is first affected, the area will be hard and warm to the touch when it comes in from being outside. Then the skin will change to a gray color and become scaly.”
She said third-degree frostbite, which is the most serious form, will turn a dog’s skin dark, even black, after several days.
To ward off frostbite, Marie said booties can be worn.
She also offered some other advice to dog and cat owners in the winter.
“Make sure you dry your pet off when they come in from outside so they don’t stay chilled,” she said. “Clean the pads of their paws out after you take them for a walk so that they don’t have salt in their pads because that erodes and burns their paws. Make walks short. Don’t leave dogs or cats in a cold car. Cats are just as susceptible to the cold as dogs, and they are not meant to be outside in the winter at all. And just be aware of the weather so that your pet doesn’t suffer.”
Earl said animal pet care in the winter all comes down to common sense and decision making.
“If you don’t want to be outside in the freezing temperatures, neither does your animal,” Earl said. “So, don’t leave your pet outside any longer than you would want to be out there.”
Veterinarians say the smaller the animal, the higher risk of freezing to death. In dogs and cats, shivering and lethargy are the first two signs of trouble.
“The smaller you are, the more body surface you have, and the quicker you will lose body heat,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, immediate past president of the Illinois-based American Veterinary Medical Association.
Many animals will become comfortable if they’re moving but get cold when they slow down, said Dr. Brian Collins of the animal clinic at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca. “They may refuse to walk because their feet are so cold,” he said.
JOHNSTOWN – After more than a decade of planning and gathering donations, the Regional Animal Shelter will begin clearing land over the weekend at the shelter’s future site on Maple Avenue Extension, shelter officials said.
The shelter would include approximately 30 cat cages, 50 to 70 dog kennels and five acres of land for larger animals such as horses and other farm animals, officials said.
“There really isn’t a rescue around that can take in farm animals that have been abused or neglected, so it is our ultimate goal to have a facility for that,” said Renee Earl, an officer with the Regional Animal Shelter. “It has been a long time coming, and finally we can take the step to show people what all of their donations have gone toward. It is so exciting.”
For the past two years, the group has been operating a shelter in Gloversville under an agreement with the city. Shelter volunteers look after dogs as long as they aren’t sick or dangerous, but the current shelter doesn’t have the capacity to house cats. The new building would have space for cats.
Construction at the Maple Avenue site will begin after the contractor examines the land after winter, according to a news release.
The shelter hired contractor Bruce Reed to begin clearing the land at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Earl said the cost to clear the land will be $2,000 to $4,000, which primarily will be the cost of fuel for the equipment. She said the size and cost of the new facility still has to be determined based on the amount of money available. She said group wants to raise $250,000 before starting construction.
Earl said the group has raised about $20,000 so far. She said the group will apply for grants to get it closer to the goal.
“The $250,000 is what we needed to just get the building started,” Earl said. “Obviously, there is going to be several different wings to the new facility, so that is just to get us started with a main office and kennel area. We are looking closer to the $500,000 mark for what we really are going to need.”
The group has not yet set a completion date for the new shelter.
The group’s current shelter in Gloversville operates daily with the help of 12 volunteers. The operation costs the group about $1,000 per month to feed, shelter and meet the needs of the animals at the shelter. The cost doesn’t include veterinary services, Earl said.
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.
The current building was constructed by the city after the city received a $20,000 donation. The Regional Animal Shelter has been running it.
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 rents the building to the group for $1 per year.
The new facility will allow the group to expand its efforts to serve Fulton, Hamilton and Montgomery counties, Earl said.
Officials said the annex on West Fulton Street will remain open during the construction of the new building and will serve as an extension of the new facility and be used as a medical isolation location.
Both the annex and new shelter will be maintained by the Regional Animal Shelter, but once the new shelter is open, the group will seek more volunteers, Earl said.
BROADALBIN – Tie-dye, peace signs and plenty of dogs could be seen on Saturday at the Regional Animal Shelter’s second annual “Woofstock” at Robin’s Nest.
Robin Markert, president of the group, hosted the event at her restaurant to support the group’s plans to build a shelter facility. Many of those attending the event were people who have adopted dogs through the shelter organization. They were invited to bring their pets with them Saturday.
Markert said being reunited with past shelter dogs was an emotional experience. “Our very first dog from the shelter, Reggie, was here,” she said. “We named him after the Regional Animal Shelter. Seeing him again made me cry.” Regional Animal Shelter board member Rene Earl said she, too, saw many of the dogs she used to take care of in the shelter. “Seeing the adopted dogs is emotional, but it’s great to see how they’re doing with their families,” she said. “We’re glad to see them go to a good home, but you do get attached.”
Markert said the group was hoping to raise $3,000 to $5,000 at Saturday’s event. For several years, the group has been raising money to build a shelter on a 26-acre plot it owns on Maple Avenue in the town of Johnstown. The shelter group also runs a small animal facility at 117 W. Fulton St., which opened its doors last March. The facility was created under a public-private partnership involving a four-year lease agreement with the city, which was drawn up by the Common Council in 2011. The agreement lets the shelter lease kennel space to Gloversville for $1, and the city rents the building to the shelter for $1 per year. The facility includes eight kennels for dogs, and it has an enclosed outdoor space. Markert said construction on the Maple Avenue shelter is expected to begin soon. Casey Croucher can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.