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.