A new clinic and upgraded facilities will allow the Animal Protective Foundation to nearly double the size of its spay/neuter program and extend its services to low-income dog owners.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded the Glenville shelter a $454,970 grant that will allow it to increase its surgical capacity and help address pet overpopulation. Officials from both the shelter and the ASPCA gathered Wednesday at the Maple Avenue site for a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the new clinic, set to open this summer.
“The Animal Protective Foundation is humbled by this extraordinarily generous gift from the ASPCA, and the confidence that it conveys in our work,” said APF Executive Director Michael Daugherty in a news release. “With this grant of more than $450,000, we are much closer to fully funding this clinic, which will enable us to help many more animals and have a much greater impact on the serious pet overpopulation crisis in our Capital Region communities.”
The new, 2,000-square-foot clinic will have space for two surgical suites, a surgery preparation and recovery room, a reception center and office space. The current clinic is about 400 square feet, and has only enough space for surgeries on shelter cats and dogs and domesticated cats in the community. Spokeswoman Marguerite Pearson said the APF has always wanted to offer surgeries to dog owners in the community, but just hasn’t had the space.
“First of all, there’s just a lot more cats out there,” she said. “It’s a greater problem in the community than stray dogs. Fortunately, cats are smaller so we can hold more of them. We can just put them in carriers as opposed to putting dogs in wall cages, and we can only fit a couple of those in the surgery room.”
The APF spays and neuters about 1,000 shelter animals each year, with another 2,500 to 3,000 procedures done on domesticated cats. With more room to perform surgeries on domesticated dogs, as well as regular surgeries, the shelter expects its overall surgery count to jump to more than 6,000 a year.
Saratoga Springs firm SD Atelier Architecture LLC designed the new clinic, which will be built at the northern end of the Maple Avenue building and connected to the existing structure by a walkway. The contractor is Eastern Building and Restoration Inc. of Albany.
In addition, an existing garage at the site will be expanded to make room for more cats and an expanded laundry area. The garage acts as a cat isolation room, and will get an upgraded air exchange system that helps cats with upper respiratory infections.
“It was never fully equipped with what it needs in terms of air exchange or the size it needs to be,” said Pearson. “So this is going to be a truly well-equipped, well-ventilated area for our cats.”
The APF has offered low-cost spay and neuter services since 1996, when it began performing surgeries out of a suite. Several years later, it added a mobile component to the program, with veterinarians using a bus to go directly into poor, at-risk areas of the community and perform these operations. After three years, the bus was popular but not financially sustainable so in 2006, APF went back to doing surgeries just out of the shelter, and has since performed more than 15,000 low-cost spays and neuters.
“Spay/neuter is an issue that not many people think about, but the ASPCA recognizes it as the most effective way to prevent unplanned litters and a key step in keeping animals out of shelters,” said Michael Barrett, vice president of grants management for the ASPCA, in a news release. “Through grants, we are able to help organizations like APF continue their work to reduce the number of homeless animals in their communities through spay/neuter. These critical programs ultimately help pet owners provide the best care for their animals.”