This is a sponsored post written by the SPCA of Tompkins County. Read more about sponsored posts.

The SPCA of Tompkins County became the country’s first open-admission, No Kill shelter in 2001.

It celebrated saving over 30,000 lives since that time in 2013, and now the SPCA is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center (PAC), which opened in 2004 and became the first LEED certified green shelter in the United States.

In early 2014, the SPCA is continuing its commitment to financial and environmental sustainability by installing a roof mounted soar array. The array will provide for the shelter’s electrical needs, reduce costs, and decrease dependence on fossil fuels. The PAC provides pets with comfortable, healthy, and “as home-like as possible” care.

“We started the process in 1999,” says SPCA executive director Jim Bouderau. “We made the commitment to stop euthanizing for space; then not to euthanize any healthy animals; then, by 2001, we were able to save pets who were rehabilitatable, manageable or treatable.”

The SPCA finds homes for 2,500 to 3,000 pets each year, and relies heavily on volunteers, adopter and donors to make their mission a reality in Tompkins County.

Volunteers work as many hours each year as two dozen full time employees. They are instrumental in the daily enrichment in the lives of shelter animals and provide an invaluable service in a variety of different areas.

Adopters are giving shelter pets second chances at life. The most often reasons people give for surrendering pets to the shelter are changes of lifestyle; too many pets; and unwanted litters.

The SPCA operates a second adoption location at The Shops at Ithaca Mall. The SPCA Annex opened in the spring of 2009 to help reduce overcrowding in PAC brought on by kitten season and provide a more visible and accessible outlet for adoptions. Since that time, the Annex has helped to accelerate adoption rates. This reduced length of stay has helped to decrease incidence of disease within the shelter. In 2013 over half of all of the cat/kitten adoptions were done from the Annex.

The SPCA isn’t just sitting back and waiting for unwanted animals. A low-cost spay/neuter program is one of their biggest community outreach efforts. Another milestone is a record-breaking 2,004 pets being spayed/neutered in 2014 for lower income members of the public, who otherwise would have struggled to afford this integral step in diminishing pet overpopulation. Grants from area foundations, the ASPCA, and PetSmart Charities help subsidize spay/neuter efforts.

Outreach efforts at the SPCA include Humane Investigations, with officers responding to approximately 1,500 reports every year about neglect, abandonment, cruelty, hoarding, and/or abuse. Officers work with local residents to resolve these situations and in some cases must remove or seize pets from homes. Humane Education at the SPCA includes the popular summer Camp SPCA for 9-12 year olds, along with tours and workshops for youth groups like the Girl Scouts, school and church groups.

The SPCA of Tompkins County is a private non-profit and relies almost entirely on donations – both financial and of supplies from their wish list. “It took us eight years after transitioning to get the funds we needed,” says Bouderau. “From 2001 to 2010 we weren’t making ends meet. People assumed we were funded by the government and didn’t need any money, but we rely solely on people in this community.” With a need for over $900,000 in 2014, Bouderau says: “ALL donations are important! Big, small and in between, every dollar donated goes directly to the care of the animals.”

“We encourage people to get involved in what we do,” Bouderau adds. “Adopt. Donate. Participate. They are words we live by.”

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.