The Humane Society of Yates County completed its 110th year doing what they do best — making the lives of the cats and dogs better and healthier. Executive Director Bonnie Dillon reports that while the number of total adoptions for 2018 was 357, just nine lower than last year, they made significant improvements and expanded their services to elevate the quality of life for the animals that are brought to them.

The dogs at the Shelter of Hope were the greatest beneficiaries this year. The formerly windowless pound-like kennel has been completely remade, with new paneled enclosures to replace the old chainlink cages, new lighting and paint, but most importantly, a large new window to let in natural light, and sound baffles on the walls and ceiling to reduce noise and stress on the dogs housed there (and the staff, too!).

While the reconstruction took some time and reduced the number of dogs that could be taken in for a while, the change is dramatic. Dogs who aren’t as stressed are able to greet vistors and potential adopters with more of their natural personalities and happiness on display.

But the basic challenge remains: 2018 still saw 86 dogs brought to the shelter, but that pales in comparison to the 277 cats. Of that 315 total, the HSYC spayed an neutered 248 of them before putting them up for adoption “Every animal that leaves our shelter is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, tested, micro-chipped, flea-treated, de-wormed, and so much more,” says Dillon.

SPAY & NEUTER PROGRAM

Part of that commitment is the HYSC’s low-cost spay and neuter program, started with a grant from the ASPCA. Domestic pets from families in need are eligible, while farm and feral cats are trapped, spayed/neutered, and released. This year, the shelter received a grant from the Bissel Pet Foundation for $3,225, and managed to alter 80 cats and 28 dogs. In just one weekend, 68 cats and 17 dogs were spayed/neutered, making a significant dent in the future population of unwanted cats and dogs. Cornell University and Eastview Clinic provide the services, but even with a generous discount, the costs are significant. Dillon says they are still waiting to hear from the ASPCA on their most recent grant application.

Trap, Neuter, Return is another continuing program intended to reduce population, disease, and suffering among feral and farm cats. Subsidized by a grant from the J.P. Morgan Trust, Dillon says they tested and sterilized 70 cats this year, which is on a par with recent years. “We believe the TNR program is already making a great impact on the area when it comes to cat overpopulation. With many more years of this service, we should hopefully see a significant impact.”

COSTS, FUNDING

Dillon reports HSYC’s total expenses for 2018 were $245,627 - just shy of a quarter of a million dollars. And while the  over 500 members of the HSYC are generous in their membership dues and donations, more is needed to support the work they are all committed to do. Even memorial contributions so often seen in local obituaries gathered in just $6,000 last year, a small fraction of the expenses.

To address this need, a new website is to be developed to reach more people and make the online donation process easier. Donorbox.org is their new portal, which charges a lower fee than the previous service. https://donorbox.org/humane-society-of-yates-county-online-donations

There is also a used clothing donation shed and bottle/can shed at the shelter (and at Two Can Dan’s on Benham St. in Penn Yan) that is a steady stream of income thanks to the volunteers who tote and sort. There are also the doghouse donation boxes seen at businesses around the county. “We really depend on those funds,” says Dillon. People are also asked to make in-kind donations at the shelter (see list on page 1).

ADOPTION

As always, though, one of the most important things you can do is open your heart and home to a pet without a family. Animals at the Shelter of Hope are carefully matched to potential new owners. The goal is to find healthy and happy “furever homes” for all involved. See the animals currently available for adoption at the HSYC website,  www.yateshumane.org; visit them on Facebook, or call the HSYC at 315-536-6094 or stop by the Shelter of Hope at 1216 State Route 14A Tuesday - Friday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to see them for yourself.

BREAKFAST FUNDRAISER

Be sure to stop by HSYC’s annual “Famous Breakfast at The Moose” from 8-10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at the Penn Yan Moose Lodge 2030, 301 East Elm St. The “all you can eat” breakfast is just $6 for adults and $3 for kids 10 and under, with all proceeds benefiting the animals in their care.

To learn more call the HSYC at 315-536-6094 or visit www.yateshumane.org