For love of animals and community

The SPCA of Westchester has been going through growing pains of late.

This altruistic organization, one of the oldest humane societies in our country, has been located on the same 3-acre site at 590 N. State St. in Briarcliff Manor since its inception in 1883. The no-kill shelter cares for more than 4,000 animals each year.

However, it has been operating in buildings that date from the 1960s. For decades, the shelter has concentrated its resources directly on animal care, leaving less for the upkeep of the deteriorating site.

The dedicated staff and more than 400 volunteers work 365 days a year to keep the operation and facilities going. Undeniably, they have done so much with so little for so many for far too long.

The time has come for them to create a new home, a haven for all the animals that pass through their doors. For the past few years, they have been dreaming, planning and fundraising for a new state-of-the-art animal care campus.

Architects have drawn up plans for a beautiful, efficient new 27,000-square- foot facility (within the current footprint) that will be a warm, welcoming place for both two- and four-legged visitors. A new SPCA will provide for modern, comfortable habitats for the dogs and cats, indoor meet-and-greet areas for potential adopters, a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, training and humane education centers and much more, as outlined below:

Some of the plans include:

• Nearly double the space in usable square footage, thereby significantly increasing the number of animals that can be rescued;

• 77 indoor dog habitats for increased comfort, as most dogs are currently kept outside;

• Outdoor day pens for dogs’ enrichment and exercise;

• Space for 97 cats and kittens with 4-story “kitty condos” and a kitten nursery;

• Five cage-free “cattery” areas to replicate home-like environments;

• Six meet-and-greet rooms for the public to interact with dogs and cats, to promote bonding and adoption;

• “Cat and Dog-of-the-Day” areas to spotlight special pets up for adoption;

• Special room for exotic animals;

• Increased holding and communal areas for humane law enforcement animal seizures;

• A veterinary hospital with two exam rooms, a modern surgical suite, X-ray room for treating injured animals and a comfortable waiting room to make pets feel at ease;

• Increased isolation areas to help pets heal faster;

• A grooming room;

• A large multipurpose room to allow for indoor dog playgroups and training classes;

• A special space for meetings, workshops, education and training sessions;

• Classrooms for visiting school children participating in humane education presentations; and

• Dedicated indoor space for the popular Camp Critter children’s day camp.

With a new building, the SPCA will be able to do more for the community — not just for the animals that get saved and adopted there.

To date, the SPCA has raised more than $8 million, through the generous support of friends in Westchester County and beyond with its Animal Resource Restore Rebuild Capital Campaign.

However, in order to break ground on construction, an additional $1.1 million dollars is needed. 

We don’t need to tell you that the SPCA is carrying on not only the work of animals but of two great humanitarians. It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.” And Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

For more, visit spca914.org.

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