“Give Me Shelter” – The New SPCA Building

Sarah Clark, Senior Editor

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Founded in Cuba, NY over 100 years ago, the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has been serving the Allegany area community by rescuing and caring for animals, while trying to find them good homes. The SPCA is filled with kind-hearted people whose mission is to make an animal’s life as enjoyable as possible. The organization is funded solely by generous donations and grant money. In 2015, they began construction in cooperation with Kinley Corp on a new animal shelter designed by Clark Patterson Lee that is located in Belmont. They have built this shelter so far by donations made to the building fund. The organization is trying to build this new shelter without taking out any loans, and they have been able to do that so far, but they still are in need of $300,000 to finish the shelter.


I was able to get a tour of the new shelter and spoke to Lynda Pruski, who is the president of the board for the SPCA. Lynda has volunteered for the SPCA for about ten years. The SPCA rescued roughly 400 animals a year. There are three people on the SPCA’s full time staff, along with about eleven part-time workers. There are also dozens of people who volunteer to help out the shelter; however, there are always about ten main volunteers who keep returning to help. In order to volunteer, people must be 16 years old or younger people can come in with their parents.

The new shelter is pictured above.


The organization finds animals in need in a variety of different ways and most commonly animals are either abandoned, personally turned in, found from cruelty cases, strays, or lost and found cases. It has helped a large range of animals such as cats, dogs, birds, and rabbits, to animals such as pot belly pigs, rams and even a peacock.


The SPCA’s current animal shelter is located in Wellsville and is too small to serve Allegany County, as they run at ninety-eight percent capacity year-round. To begin with, their current shelter can only showcase eight dogs at a time and it can hold from 120 to 160 cats. If the SPCA is at full capacity and the shelter cannot house any more animals, they must turn away animals in need of housing since they are a no-kill shelter. If the animal is involved in a cruelty case and is in desperate need of a temporary home, often times the SPCA has to work with other larger shelters that have the room for new animals. A new shelter is needed so that more animals can be helped, the shelter can serve the county better, and so that younger generations can be more educated on animal population issues and other such topics. Their current shelter is only about 1,300 square feet and due to this only about 400 animals can be helped per year. Due to the shelter’s size, schools cannot have field trips to the SPCA because there is just no room.


The new shelter that is being built is located in Belmont because it is in the center of Allegany County. This allows more people from the county to visit the shelter because it is easier to get to. The new shelter will be able to showcase 30 dogs at a time and all together be able to house 40 dogs. It will be able to shelter about the same number of cats, but the cats will have a “play-area” to get their energy out instead of laying around all day in a cage. The shelter being much larger is a big deal because it will allow more volunteers to work with the animals on a regular basis. For example, a Pitbull mix Savior, was able to be adopted out of the SPCA because he was worked with at the old shelter. He was a very energetic dog who could not be adopted out by the elderly or families with children because he had an issue with jumping on people. After being worked with by a trainer, he no longer jumped on people and was able to be adopted out to a family with children. Since the new shelter will be much larger, this will open up more opportunities for animals to be worked with if they need it, and hopefully more will be able to be adopted out.


The entire shelter costs 2.7 million dollars, but only $300,000 is needed to finish the dog area and then all the funding issues are out of the way. The building itself is run on geothermal heat and this will allow the SPCA to not have to pay a heating bill and be more energy efficient. Its walls will also be structurally different from the old shelter, as they are made of styrofoam and then filled with concrete. This allows the SPCA to be more efficient on the spending for the walls of the new shelter. To combat the issue that some shelters have with odors because so many animals are living within close proximity to each other, there will be an air exchange system that automatically filters the air ten times an hour. This process will also allow for a healthier environment. In order to stray away from a prison feel, instead of chain link or steel bars, the new shelter will integrate in glass doors. This new shelter will allow more people to come in and volunteer their time due to where it is located. There will also be a larger opportunity for families to adopt more animals because the shelter will be larger, therefore the SPCA can shelter additional animals. Plus, the new shelter will have a income low cost spay and neuter clinic so that pet owners can get their animals fixed for a reasonable price. The shelter partners with Alfred State’s Vet-Tech Program and the students in this program will gain valuable experience in caring for animals. The hope for this spay/neuter program at the new shelter is that this will cut population down in the county and therefore less animals would be born into neglectful environments. In a survey taken by the Lynda Pruski, one of the most common answers as to why people did not spay or neuter their animals was that they could not afford it. With the new spay/neuter clinic, people in the surrounding area can get their animals fixed at a reasonable cost and cost should no longer be one of the main reasons why animals are not fixed. Since this new shelter will be more suited and better equipped to house animals, all the SPCA’s current animals will be moved to this shelter. The new shelter will hopefully be open in the spring of 2018.

Styrofoam wall the shelter is made out of.

Geothermal Room

The SPCA has helped thousands of animals over the years, but when asked about one of her favorite and most memorable animal success stories, Lynda Pruski brought up the story of Mooch. Mooch had been found in a trailer in Whitesville alongside his father, Ace. The animals were surrounded by trash and their own feces. When he was found, Mooch was only 36 pounds and four years old, when he was supposed to be around 60 pounds. He was starved to such an extent that he could not lift his head up and it was discovered that he would not have lived another 48 hours if he had not have been found. In fact, it was discovered that cans of food had been bitten into because the dogs were that desperate for food. With the help of the SPCA, Mooch has managed to recover and become healthier, while weighing about 67 pounds.

Mooch a little after he was initially found

Mooch at his current weight.

The SPCA also hosts adoption specials when they see fit. These specials happen mainly when the SPCA is at full capacity and needs to adopt out more animals. Previous adoption specials have been that of the Black Friday Deal and the Holiday Special which ended December 31st. The Black Friday Deal was when the adoption fee for any animal that had black on them was waived. The Holiday Special that was run was when animals over one year of age could be adopted for free because the application fee was waived and then any other younger animals were 50% off. Coming up in February for Valentine’s Day, they are hosting a special called “Looking for Love.” The SPCA will be waiving the adoption fee on animals if an approved application is present.


In order to finish the new shelter, the SPCA is in need of assistance. Monetary donations would help fund the project until it is finished; however, the organization is always grateful for other items as well. They have an updated wish list on their Facebook page for items that they are currently in need of, and items such as cat and dog treats, wood pellets, blankets, towels, animal toys, and laundry detergent are always helpful. Once the new shelter is opened, volunteers seeking to help the organization are also very appreciated. The SPCA also needs people to take dogs out for walks, wash windows, and much more. So many of us have pets at home that love us unconditionally and are a part of our family. These animals want a chance to be part of a family as well, but they need our help. Animals ask so little of us, helping provide them with shelter and care is the least we can do.




Anstey, Evan. “Allegany County SPCA Sees ‘One of the Worst’ Starvation Cases during Dog Rescue.” Wivb.com, WIVB,
27 Sept. 2016, wivb.com/2016/09/27/allegany-county-spca-sees-one-of-the-worst-starvation-cases-during-dog-rescue/.
SPCA Serving Allegany County, 30 Jan. 2018, www.spcaallegany.org/.
Photos of Mooch by Lynda Pruski.
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