The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Tompkins County gives many stray, homeless or abused animals a second lease on life. Animals that are taken in are microchipped, spayed/neutered and given veterinary care. The SPCA opened a satellite adoption center in The Shops at Ithaca Mall in order to provide visibility about its services and the animals waiting for a “furever” home.
Libby Myers, an Adoption Counselor at the SPCA Annex, said the mall location allows for passersby to learn more about the SPCA and look at the animals available for adoption. The location houses cats of all ages and other pets like guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and rodents.
“We usually keep between 10 to 15 cats here,” Myers said. “Dogs are kept in the main location.”
According to the SPCA Annex website, the satellite adoption center was opened in May of 2009 with the goal of increasing cat and kitten adoptions. More than 1,500 cats, kittens and other small pets have been adopted from the Annex since it opened.
“The Annex is just a better way to showcase the animals that we currently have for adoption in a more public way,” Myers said. “A lot of people don’t know where our main location is. [The Annex] is in a mall so everyone sees us and people feel inclined to wander in and see the cats.”
The SPCA relies on the help of volunteers. Employees of the SPCA must be 18 years of age or older, but youths and teens are able to volunteer if supervised. Volunteers working with cats have to be at least 12 years of age, and those working with dogs must be at least 16 years old.
Volunteer John Hansen has been assisting at the SPCA Annex every Tuesday evening for about a month and a half.
“Basically what I do is support the staff here and answer questions… and help clean up,” Hansen said.
Hansen said a love for animals runs in his family.
“Everyone in the family volunteers at some animal shelter,” Hansen said. “I have the time and it’s on the way home since I live north of Ithaca, so it’s just convenient.”
Hansen said the SPCA serves as an informational resource for the community, but also provides extra resources in some areas, such as humane enforcement services.
“People know to go there if they want to adopt a shelter animal, or if they need to drop off a stray animal,” Hansen said. “SPCA of Ithaca does do animal control for some municipalities.”
Community member Patty Roake came into the Annex with her family to look at the cats on Oct. 11. She said she wasn’t currently able to adopt due to housing restrictions, but that she has adopted cats in the past.
“There are so many animals out there that don’t have any homes and a lot of them go and get euthanized,” Roake said. “We just don’t want them to go to that path.”
Roake said she supports the SPCA because it saves the lives of animals.
“Some people go to stores and buy [animals] and pay a lot of money,” Roake said. “But here they can actually rescue them.”
Myers said she began working for the SPCA because of her passion for animal care.
“I love animals, always have, and this is just the best place to work,” Myers said. “It’s hard to not take them all home, though.”