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Tompkins County SPCA


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Tompkins County SPCA • 1640 Hanshaw Rd. • Ithaca, NY 14850 • 607.257.1822
email: info@spcaonline.com

In 2001/2002, Tompkins County SPCA became the FIRST no-kill community in U.S. History under the direction of Nathan Winograd.

From the website:
"The Tompkins County SPCA was incorporated in February 1902 in an effort to prosecute individual cases of cruelty. In 1904, the organization acquired sheltering facilities and took over as pound master for some of the municipalities within the county. For much of its history, the SPCA has employed humane officers to investigate individual cases of cruelty, as well as providing impound, sheltering and adoption of unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals.

In 1999, the SPCA Board of Directors resolved to become a "no kill" shelter, while maintaining its animal control contracts with local municipalities. Currently, the SPCA has contracts for animal control with all townships, the City of Ithaca, the local Health Department, and the County for stray dog control, stray cat control, suspected rabid animal quarantine, cruelty enforcement, and the enforcement of local and state statutes regarding dogs.

After reducing the death rate over 50% in a single year, the SPCA finished 2001 saving 100% of healthy dogs and cats for the first time in its 100 year history, and an important first step toward realizing its No Kill vision. In 2002, the SPCA further saved 100% of healthy and treatable dogs and cats--the first county in the nation to do so--and has maintained that standard ever since. Animal People, a prominent national journal on animal issues, ranked Tompkins County the safest community for companion animals in the United States.

In Spring of 2004, the SPCA opened the Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, a sheltering facility that provides dogs and cats with comfortable, healthy, home-like settings. The Adoption Center also has a surgery suite, dog walking trails, as well as training and play spaces. Registered as the nation's first "green" animal shelter (U.S. Green Building Council) for its environmentally minded, sustainable design, the facility is "good for people, good for animals, and good for the planet."

The Tompkins County SPCA is run by an Executive Director, paid staff, and over 165 volunteers. It is governed by a Board of Directors. "
Feral Cat TNR Program
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High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
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Rescue Groups
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Foster Care
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Comprehensive Adoption Programs
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Pet Retention
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Medical and Behavior Programs
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Public Relations/Community Involvement
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Volunteers
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Proactive Redemptions
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A Compassionate Director
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1. Feral Cat TNR Program

Many communities are embracing Trap, Neuter, Release programs (TNR) to improve animal welfare, reduce death rates, and meet obligations to public welfare.


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2. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter

Low cost, high volume spay/neuter will quickly lead to fewer animals entering the shelter system, allowing more resources to be allocated toward saving lives.


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3. Rescue Groups

An adoption or transfer to a rescue group frees up scarce cage and kennel space, reduces expenses for feeding, cleaning, killing, and improves a community's rate of lifesaving. In an environment of millions of dogs and cats killed in shelters annually, rare is the circumstance in which a rescue group should be denied an animal.


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4. Foster Care

Volunteer foster care is crucial to No Kill. Without it, saving lives is compromised. It is a low cost, and often no cost, way of increasing a shelter's capacity, improving public relations, increasing a shelter's public image, rehabilitating sick and injured or behaviorally challenged animals, and saving lives.


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5. Comprehensive Adoption Programs

Adoptions are vital to an agency's lifesaving mission. The quantity and quality of shelter adoptions is in shelter management's hands, making lifesaving a direct function of shelter policies and practice. In fact, studies show people get their animals from shelters only 20% of the time. If shelters better promoted their animals and had adoption programs responsive to the needs of the community, including public access hours for working people, offsite adoptions, adoption incentives, and effective marketing, they could increase the number of homes available and replace killing with adoptions. Contrary to conventional wisdom, shelters can adopt their way out of killing.


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6. Pet Retention

While some of the reasons animals are surrendered to shelters are unavoidable, others can be prevented-but only if shelters are willing to work with people to help them solve their problems. Saving animals requires communities to develop innovative strategies for keeping people and their companion animals together. And the more a community sees its shelters as a place to turn for advice and assistance, the easier this job will be.


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7. Medical and Behavior Programs

In order to meet its commitment to a lifesaving guarantee for all savable animals, shelters need to keep animals happy and healthy and keep animals moving through the system. To do this, shelters must put in place comprehensive vaccination, handling, cleaning, socialization, and care policies before animals get sick and rehabilitative efforts for those who come in sick, injured, unweaned, or traumatized.


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8. Public Relations/Community Involvement

Increasing adoptions, maximizing donations, recruiting volunteers and partnering with community agencies comes down to one thing: increasing the shelter's exposure. And that means consistent marketing and public relations. Public relations and marketing are the foundation of all a shelter's activities and their success. To do all these things well, the shelter must be in the public eye.


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9. Volunteers

Volunteers are a dedicated "army of compassion" and the backbone of a successful No Kill effort. There is never enough staff, never enough dollars to hire more staff, and always more needs than paid human resources. That is where volunteers come in and make the difference between success and failure and, for the animals, life and death.


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10. Proactive Redemptions

One of the most overlooked areas for reducing killing in animal control shelters are lost animal reclaims. Sadly, besides having pet owners fill out a lost pet report, very little effort is made in this area of shelter operations. This is unfortunate because doing so-primarily shifting from passive to a more proactive approach-has proven to have a significant impact on lifesaving and allow shelters to return a large percentage of lost animals to their families.


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11. A Compassionate Director

The final element of the No Kill equation is the most important of all, without which all other elements are thwarted-a hard working, compassionate animal control or shelter director not content to regurgitate tired cliches or hide behind the myth of "too many animals, not enough homes." Unfortunately, this one is also oftentimes the hardest one to demand and find.


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