ALBANY — A pair of local animal shelters will receive an infusion of state funding as part of the fourth round of grants issued from the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday that 17 not-for-profit animal shelters throughout the state would receive a total of $5 million in grant funding to support construction, renovation and expansion projects that will bolster animal care.
As part of the fourth round of funding in the program, the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady will receive $492,563 to increase the facility’s capacity for dog housing and the Mohawk & Hudson Humane Society will receive $500,000 for a new veterinary suite.
“We’re very grateful for it and it’s a unique program,” Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady Executive Director Joe Lisella said of the grant funding. “I worked in California for nine years and there was nothing like this there. It’s amazing that the state is making these kinds of investments in their animal shelters. So we’re very excited about it.”
Lisella said the site’s dog housing has not been expanded since the shelter was built in 1993.
“It was designed to get as many dogs into as small an area as possible,” he said. “So each of the original kennels are only four feet by four feet and they all share common drains. The air is basically circulated in one large room that is very loud, as you can imagine with many dogs. This will enable us to really bring our dog housing up to a state-of-the-art level as good as any in the country.”
Lisella said the shelter hopes to complete the renovations in the first half of 2023 and noted the shelter is currently raising funds to pay for the remainder of the project that the grant money won’t cover.
“This project will probably take four to five months because the work we’re doing is very extensive,” Lisella said.
Mohawk & Hudson Humane Society CEO Ashley Jeffrey Bouck said the state grant funding is crucial for the organization.
“It’s extremely critical because there are not many funding sources for animals,” she said. “So we’re very excited that we were awarded this grant. It will give us the ability to create an environment at the Humane Society where animals can be brought in safely and keep them healthy. It will reduce disease transmission and give the animals a safe, stress-free environment so that we can make them more adoptable.”
Bouck said the state funding will also allow the site to make significant upgrades to its veterinary medical suite.
“This will enhance our veterinary suite that we have,” she said. “We’re the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) for Albany and Rensselaer counties, which means that we’re charged with investigating animal cruelty. We’ve had a significant increase in animal cruelty cases and our intake of dogs. So we want to make sure that our veterinary suite does its best to keep our animals healthy and be able to care for the animals who are in our care.”
Bouck said the shelter is allowed to apply for the state funding each year, but the grant proposal must be for a unique project each year.
“This is the largest grant that we have received from any agency,” she noted.
New York is the first state in the nation to fund capital projects for animal shelters, with a fifth round of funding for the program slated for 2023.
“New York’s Companion Animal Capital Fund makes a true difference for shelters and humane societies across the state, helping them to make critical upgrades that ultimately mean better care for our dogs and cats as they await their forever homes,” Hochul declared in a statement. “I was proud to include funding for this program in my Executive Budget this year – the first time in history – and my administration will continue supporting the great organizations that work to keep sheltered dogs and cats safe.”