Shelter: Hoarder, hurricane left dogs in need of homes

ContributedMonty, a dog surrendered in an Otsego County hoarding case, is one of several dogs in need of fostering or adoption at the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is in need of people to foster dogs displaced in Louisiana by Hurricane Ida and from an Otsego County hoarding case.

In a media release, shelter officials said they "unexpectedly" took in 14 dogs Wednesday, and another 10 are scheduled to arrive Saturday.

The dogs coming this weekend are from a partnership between the SQSPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Louisiana. The unexpected arrivals from an Otsego County hoarding case are mostly large-breed working dogs.

“In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, the New York State Animal Protection Federation put out a call for help to New York shelters with empty kennels,” SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes said. “Louisiana’s animal shelters and rescues, some of which still do not have working electricity or running water, are trying desperately to rebuild. We had 15 open kennels at the time, so we agreed to take 10 dogs.”

The hoarding case emerged after that, the release said.

“This morning (Wednesday) we responded to a situation of unintended neglect in which an Otsego County resident found themselves unable to maintain the necessary levels of care and medical attention for a growing number of dogs,” Haynes said.

The dogs are a mix of great Pyrenees, cane corso and Newfoundland of varying ages, she said. Most have not been spayed or neutered. They are being treated for worms and fleas, many are emaciated, and a couple have injuries.

"Although they have not been properly socialized, they are not aggressive to the best of our knowledge,” Haynes said.

Given that the dogs are large-breed working dogs, Haynes said it will be difficult to ask other local shelters to help, as many are already struggling with space issues or capacity for care of such big, energetic breeds.

“If you have ever thought about adopting or even fostering a working dog, now is the time,” Haynes said. “These dogs do not do well in a shelter environment — they need space, and a job to do. Our adoption counselors are standing by at 607-547-8111.”

Farms, country living and fenced-in yards would be ideal for the dogs. They cannot live in apartments, Haynes said.

Further from home, the release said, thousands are in crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, including many animal shelters and rescue facilities. Because of the Humane Society of Louisiana, the Best Friends nationwide network and a web-based application called Trello, the SQSPCA was able to select dogs to be transported north for rehoming.

“These are not hurricane dogs,” Haynes said. “These are dogs from shelters or rescues affected by the hurricane. As these dogs are moved out of Louisiana to places like the SQSPCA, space is freed up for animals displaced by the hurricane, whether as owner surrenders or for temporary boarding.”

Some of the dogs on their way to Cooperstown are from facilities in New Orleans that still don’t have power or water, Haynes said.

“We’re counting on local media, social media, and word of mouth to get these big working dogs out of our shelter and on to greener pastures, and to get the southern dogs into good homes as well," Haynes said. "There seems to be a shortage of adoptable dogs in Otsego County — our length of stay for dogs is currently just 19 days, so we don’t think we will have any problem rehoming any of them.” 

Haynes said the rescue of the working dogs shows the effectiveness of the SQSPCA’s “Here to Help Hotline” first implemented earlier this year.

“A local dog control officer, recognizing a situation that was not cruelty but rather someone desperately in need of help, reached out to us and staff mobilized immediately," she said. "It’s important that our donors understand the many public assistance programs that would simply not be possible without their continued support.”

For more information on available animals, or to donate, visit www.sqspca.org or call 607-547-8111. The shelter is at 5082-5088 State Route 28 in Index, south of the village of Cooperstown.

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