Saratoga County

Saratoga County shelter for cats may lose its home

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter may lose its storefront satellite location at the Clifton Park Ce

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter may lose its storefront satellite location at the Clifton Park Center, where it’s had cats and kittens available for adoption for more than two years.

Mall management has told shelter officials to start looking for alternatives, though there’s no deadline for leaving the spot near Boscov’s department store.

The shelter is an arm of county government, not a private, nonprofit organization, as is the case in Schenectady and most other counties. It has been allowed to occupy the space rent-free — and even utility-free — since September 2009 by DCG Development Co., the owner of the mall.

The mall just off Northway Exit 9 has been undergoing a multiyear transformation. When management first offered space for pet adoptions, the mall had quite a few vacant storefronts and needed the foot traffic animal lovers would bring — and the county needed the extra space, too, because of overcrowding at the former animal shelter in Milton.

Called the animal shelter annex, the mall space has been staffed by volunteers and open during limited hours. But even with limited hours, it was responsible for about 700 cat adoptions a year, said animal shelter Director Dan Butler.

At any given time, he said about 20 cats are there. Dogs are less suited to that kind of adoption environment than cats, Butler said, so they’ve never been brought there.

Clifton Park Center has recently opening a new cinema complex and has added a Hilton hotel and an upscale restaurant. That’s leading to more paying tenants wanting to lease space in the mall.

“Because of the success it has had, there is a great deal of interest from national tenants,” said Clifton Park town Supervisor Phil Barrett.

The county animal shelter overcrowding problem was also virtually eliminated with the opening in 2010 of a spacious new shelter near the site of the old one in Milton.

The initial agreement between the mall and the county was for only one year — and Butler said county officials have always known the arrangement would eventually end as the mall was redeveloped.

Butler expressed gratitude to DCG Development for giving the shelter free space for so long. “They’ve been very good to us,” he said.

It’s possible the shelter could have another spot in the mall, he said, or that it would be allowed to host temporary adoption clinics at Clifton Park Center, as it does on weekends at Wilton Mall and in other locations.

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