CHENANGO COUNTY — The Chenango SPCA has implemented a new adoption special called "Love is in the Air," which reduces adoption fees by 50 percent and will run until March 31. Chenango SPCA Executive Director Annette Clarke said it's the SPCA's way of trying to counteract the dip in adoptions they usually see in the spring.
"Our adoptions had slowed down, and we needed something to boost them. So we did this adoption special," said Clarke. "In the spring you get this kind of tough time ... We find that people gravitate toward saving on the adoptions, and so we try to throw in specials."
Although the SPCA holds adoption specials throughout the year that are sponsored by other organizations, such as the Bissell Empty the Shelter Day, Clarke said the Love is in the Air special is not sponsored by an outside group.
"We’re the sponsors. It’s really more of a case that, when we do a special like this, it’s really to find as many animals homes as possible," she said. "We’re fuller then we normally are, and we want to get things moving along."
Currently, the SPCA has 90 cats and six dogs. While that's a far cry from the 180 cats and eight dogs residing at the shelter last summer, it's still a large amount of animals in need of homes. What's more, Clarke said the fall kitten season lasted longer than usual, and now the shelter is gearing up for another influx of cats from the spring kitten season.
"Spring and fall is when we get the most amount of animals in, and we just kind of got through kitten season," she explained. "The fall kitten season finally kind of came to an end, and now we’ll start again in another month. We’ll be back to kitten season again."
Adoption fees at the Chenango SPCA are $155 for dogs and $100 for cats. However, this can vary as the shelter offers discounts for seniors and military personnel, and fees are different depending on whether the animal is spayed or neutered, something the SPCA tries to do prior to adoption.
"We try, obviously, to get as many of them done prior to adoption as possible, and we do have a lot that have already been done. So you can restrict your looking to those that have already been spayed or neutered," Clarke explained. "If they haven’t, the adoption fee is a little less, but then you have to pay for spay and neuter."
Getting the animals fixed isn't always easy, though. According to Clarke, local veterinarians have had to contend with understaffing, and can be booked out over a month at a time.
"It still is hard to get an appointment," Clarke said. "Most people will tell you if they try to get an appointment to, say, have their animal neutered or spayed, that now they’re telling them not until April. It’s a good month and a half out a lot of times."
"Most of the area vets have gone kind of corporate, and so they have a pull for hiring vets from a wider pool, I think. But they’re still having trouble," she added. "This area is difficult to get veterinarians to come and practice here."
Despite the challenges, the Love is in the Air special seems to be helping. While it only began a week ago on February 16, Clarke said the shelter has seen an increase in the number of adoption appointments.
"It has helped. We’ve already seen an uptick in adoption appointments, so it’s working," she said. "So we’ll go until the end of March and then we’ll reassess. If we think that’s where we want to be, we’ll create something for the spring."
She also stressed that the shelter sees a large variety of animals, so anyone looking for a new companion can surely find a dog or cat that works for them.
"Come and adopt," Clarke said. "I'm always saying we have something here for everyone ... We have a lot of variety."
Currently, five of the six dogs at the Chenango SPCA are available for adoption. They include a hound mix, an akita mix, a retriever-lab mix, and two unspecified mixed breeds. 72 cats are listed on the SPCA website as adoptable, and they all range in size, age, color, and temperament.
Adoption forms are available on the Chenango SPCA website, chenangospca.org. The adoption process includes submitting an application, reference checks, and an appointment to visit with and select an animal.
"We want as many animals out the door as possible. That's what we’re in the business of, is adoption," Clarke said. "We're trying to find everybody a home, so whatever we can do to make that happen is what we do."
More information on the Chenango SPCA and their adoptable animals can be found at chenangospca.org, or on the Chenango SPCA Facebook page.