HSYC breaks ground for addition to The Shelter of Hope

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
Bearing on the golden shovel to break ground, Executive Director Bonnie Brewer said, “We are thrilled to be beginning this next chapter for the Humane Society and our community.”

YATES COUNTY – Last Friday, April 9, the Humane Society of Yates County broke ground on the addition of a 4,000-square -foot facility adjacent to the current shelter. The existing shelter, which was constructed in 2000, will be reworked and rehabbed to meet today's standards of care for cats, while the new facility will serve as housing for dogs and future clinic space.

Major contributor and organizer Joe DeGeorge opened the event, thanking all the local government and business leaders for attending, and explaining the purpose of expansion and some of its features while showing the architect’s rendering. Some of the attendees included Yates County Animal Control Officer Tom Morris and Sheriff Ron Spike, Penn Yan’s Mayor Leigh MacKerchar, County Legislator Richard Willson, Benton Supervisor John Prendergast, and Chamber of Commerce CEO Jessica Bacher. Special guest was HSYC Board Member emeritus Roberta Butler who was on the board when the Shelter of Hope was begun.

Major contributor Joe DeGeorge opened a groundbreaking event for a new facility at the Humane Society of Yates County, explaining the purpose of expansion and some of its features while showing the architect’s rendering.

Bearing on the golden shovel to break ground, Executive Director Bonnie Brewer said, “On behalf of the animals in our care and those who may need us someday, I want to thank everyone who has supported us along the way. From a dollars and cents standpoint, we have been gifted with some generous bequests, as well as matching funds from the DeGeorge Foundation. Donations have continued to come in for this project, despite the times we are living in. Folks recognize that the need for our services is critical. 

"We have been fortunate enough to network with Libby Post and The New York State Animal Protection Federation. The were instrumental in helping up  guiding through the grant process and navigate the state guidelines.

"This expansion is long overdue. We have learned an incredible amount over the years about how the layout of a shelter can affect every aspect of how it operates. The new facility is going to create peace for the cats, and they will no longer will be stressed out by the dogs being so close. The dogs will have rooms rather than kennels and The flow of the building is going to implement  what we know now about animal behaviors and he transition from the shelter to a home will be much smoother. We couldn’t be more excited to get this project completed and to keep doing what we do! We are thrilled to be beginning this next chapter for the Humane Society and our community.” 

The new building will feature larger enclosures for the dogs that will be more homelike, individual fenced-in areas outdoors for fresh air and exercise, a proposed clinic and recovery space for future community animal care programs, and a specialized room for bathing and grooming of the dogs in the Humane Society's care. The plans were developed by examining some of the most up-to-date shelters in the state, including the Finger Lakes SPCA shelter in Bath.

The new building is made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Companion Animal Fund. In March of 2020, HSYC was awarded the maximum grant amount of $500,000 with an agreement that they would raise the remaining 25% of the project cost.

“We are within $37,000 of reaching that goal. The time to help is now!" encourages Brewer. “Every donation is currently being matched up to $20,000. People can donate on our website, www.yateshumane.org, or at the Shelter of Hope on Rte. 14A in Benton.”

Special guest was HSYC Board Member emeritus Roberta Butler, who was on the board when the Shelter of Hope was begun, joined here by Executive Director Bonnie Brewer.
Refreshments included specially decorated cupcakes by Sabrina's Bake Shoppe in Penn Yan.