Survey to query animal shelters

With more than 100 animal shelters in the greater Capital Region, it’s difficult to know exactly wha

With more than 100 animal shelters in the greater Capital Region, it’s difficult to know exactly what services are offered at each one.

Without a central repository of such details, someone seeking a certain service that doesn’t exist in one county might be unaware of its being offered in another, and this can indicate shelters lack the efficiency to deliver the optimum services needed to care for the area’s animal population.

A new coalition of animal experts is aiming to change that by serving as a central repository for such information. The Humane Society of the Capital Region is now collecting data from various pet shelters so that it can compile a list of shelters throughout a 10-county region surrounding the capital.

“One humane organization acting alone cannot solve our problems, said Kathlene Thiel, the president of the newly-established society’s board. “It takes a community working together in proactive ways to enact real change and coordinate the efforts of all.”

The new humane society won’t have a physical location, nor will it handle animals. Rather the agency will serve as a sort of clearinghouse for collecting information about animal welfare in this community.

“With limited resources, declining charitable contributions, and cutbacks in government services, it is critical that all animal welfare organizations work together,” Thiel said.

The organization’s first order of business is to mail out a survey to the 105 shelters known to exist in the area. Mary Anne Kowalski, the society’s secretary, said the surveys will ask the shelters to describe the services they offer, what welfare needs are not being met, and what role they envision their organizations playing in a coordinated system.

The idea is to compile this information and then advocate for the region’s unmet needs. By taking a unified approach, Kowalski said there’s a greater likelihood of achieving successes, such as securing grant funding for various shelter endeavors.

“The regional approach is the only thing that makes sense for the area,” she said.

Also, the humane society is discussing another effort in January to help compile dog licensing information from various communities. The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has turned dog licensing over to local municipalities, meaning there’s no longer any centralized area to find where a lost dog will be brought when it is found in a given community.

“The creation of this organization comes at a critical time for Albany and other municipalities in this community,” said Samantha Mullen, the chairwoman of the New York Humane Association’s legislative committee. “By creating this community coalition, we will be better able to work together in a more efficient and effective manner.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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