AMSTERDAM -- The Montgomery County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Tuesday moved $500,000 closer to its goal of building a $3.2 million, 12,000-square-foot animal shelter in Amsterdam.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced $4.5 million has been awarded to 13 animal shelters across the state through the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund.
The money is earmarked for construction, renovation and expansion projects at animal shelters, helping to promote the health of animals and promote animal adoption.
MCSPCA President Jan Zumbolo said the grant is an important step toward building the new facility, which the organization plans to construct on a 22-acre site between Route 5S and Cleveland Avenue.
"We've been in contracts for the building for two years," Zumbolo said. "We have the floor plans. With this and more donations, we will be able to start building this in August."
Maureen Rossi, treasurer for the MCSPCA, said the $500,000 state grant brings total fundraising for the new shelter to $1.1 million. She said crossing the $1 million mark should help convince other donors to contribute to a major capital campaign push, set to start immediately.
"Our next step is to roll out our capital campaign, which is our largest outreach for funding for the building," Rossi said. "We'd like to have as much [money] on hand as possible before we start, so there's no holdup in building.
"It's very likely that we will borrow some of the money, but we would not borrow the full amount that we have left to raise right now."
Zumbolo said the new shelter has received all of its Planning Board approvals.
"We are going to have a veterinarian on staff, so we're going to have a surgical unit, which means all of our shelter animals can be cared for on-site by the vet, and we will, at the same time, offer low-cost spay/neuter clinics for dogs and cats," she said.
According to the New York State Animal Protection Federation, more than 150,000 animals are brought to non-profit and municipality-run shelters and humane societies every year. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund, which supports those operations.
"This continued funding will better equip facilities across the state to provide for the animals in their care, promote the health of both pets and people, and help to encourage adoptions," Cuomo said, in a prepared statement.
Zumbolo said the new MCSPCA will not have cat kennels. Rather, it will include a new "community room" for cats.
"Each community room can house about 10 cats, and we'll probably have five or six," she said. "This is so they will be more social, and veterinarians will be able to go right in and see them.
For dogs, the new shelter will have 48 new kennels.
"We'll have kennels for dogs up for adoption," she said. "We'll have kennels for dogs that have to have a five-day hold, if they were found as a stray, (and) kennels for dogs when they come in, if they have to be quarantined and then put in recovery."
MCSPCA officials anticipate that the new shelter, once built, will typically operate at about 75 to 80 percent capacity, but they plan to keep their current facility, off of Route 5S on SPCA road, to handle any overflow, should the new facility fill up.
"That could come into play, if we were dealing with neglect and cruelty investigations or [animal] hoarding situations," she said.
The MCSPCA website, www.mc-spca.com, includes a donation tab, as well a detailed floor plan for the new shelter.