Ulster County SPCA to Assume Dog Control Services in Kingston

By Ariél Zangla, Daily Freeman

KINGSTON >> Mayor Steve Noble has been authorized to sign a contract with the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals allowing the agency to assume dog-control services for the city.

The Common Council voted 8-1 to approve the arrangement and allocate some of the savings from the move to purchase body cameras for the police department. Alderwoman Maryann Mills. D-Ward 7, voted against the resolution.

“The modifications described in this resolution allow the Kingston Police Department to consolidate its animal-control services in a manner that still meets the needs of our community,” Noble said in a statement following the vote. “In addition, the cost savings realized in this consolidation will allow the police department to respond to other pressing needs, including the purchase of a body-worn camera system as part of a pilot project to improve transparency and safety, the equipment and overtime costs necessary to provide support for community festivals and events, and a camera system at our police headquarters.”

The resolution allocates $68,000 for animal control provided by the Ulster County SPCA, freeing $5,850 for the Kingston Police Department to purchase seven body cameras and $14,400 for the department to improve its surveillance system.

The resolution also sets aside $9,000 to be split between the police department and Department of Public Works for overtime costs associated with festivals and other events held in the city.

The city had spent approximately $100,000 annually for animal control services, which included salary and benefits for employees, veterinary services and kenneling. The contract with the Ulster County SPCA, cameras and overtime costs will be paid for using that funding.

The police department’s dog control officer resigned earlier this year.

Prior to the council’s vote Tuesday, Ulster County SPCA Executive Director Adam Saunders said he was excited his agency would have the opportunity to handle animal control for the city. He said the program would not be an experiment, but would be similar to those done by the Dutchess County SPCA and the Columbia-Greene Humane Society.

Saunders added that his agency’s main goal is to improve the lives of animals in its community, which includes Kingston.

Mills said she was against the resolution because the contract with the SPCA was not yet signed. She also attempted to move the resolution back to committee, but that motion failed after being supported only by Minority Leader Deborah Brown, R-Ward 9.

Resident Jean Jacobs, addressing the council prior to its vote, supported the resolution. She said the contract with the Ulster County SPCA would save taxpayers money, but also benefit the animals. Jacobs said the Ulster County SPCA employs professionals who are available to the public.

Mid-Hudson Valley SPCAs try to match senior animals with senior citizens

By Ariél Zangla, Daily Freeman

TOWN OF ULSTER >> When it comes to adopting cats and dogs, older animals can sometimes be overlooked due to their age.

Arianna n Leah

Animal Care Manager Leah Hapeman and Arianna, a senior rottweiler who is eligible for the Seniors for Seniors promotion.

It’s an issue some local shelters try to combat by offering their senior animals for adoption at a reduced fee.

At the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a “Senior for Senior” program attempts to match older animals with senior citizen humans. Any senior citizen at least 55 years old can adopt a dog or cat for half price who is at least 7 years old. For dogs, the reduced adoption fee is $87.50, while cats can be adopted for $35.

“It’s just trying to get them into good homes,” Animal Care Manager Leah Hapeman said of the Senior for Senior program. “And it’s a great way to display the older animals. They need homes just like senior citizens need homes.”

Hapeman added that it can be beneficial for seniors to have a pet. For instance, she said, having a pet can help calm a person’s blood pressure and provides companionship. And with an older dog, the animal is already housebroken and less likely to chew on things it should not, Hapeman said. She said adopters are also more likely to know what kind of personality they are getting with an older animal.

“And you get a lifetime of love,” Hapeman added.

Of course, she said, no one is guaranteed tomorrow, so someone could adopt a 10-year-old cat that lives to be 20, or adopt a younger dog who develops medical issues that severely shortens their life span.

One of the animals currently available through the Senior for Senior program is Arianna, a 7-year-old Rottweiler who was brought to the shelter through a humane law case, Hapeman said. She said Arianna was brought in with her six puppies, who were just 5 days old. Each of the puppies has since been adopted, Hapeman said.

“And, now, it’s her turn to find a home,” Hapeman said of Arianna. She said Arianna was an excellent mother and is just a very sweet dog, though she does need to be in a home without cats.

On a recent visit, Arianna was greeting visitors in a room at the shelter and chasing a tennis ball she found under a futon. She also sat on the futon and rolled over to have her belly rubbed.

In one of the shelter’s cat rooms, an orange-and-white tabby named Shatner was amongst the senior felines available for adoption. The 9-year-old Shatner had been at the shelter for more than six months.

Arianna has been at the shelter for more than four months.

Across the river in Hyde Park, the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a slightly different program known as “Senior Sweethearts.”

Christina Novak, director of communications for the shelter, said animals that are at least 7 years old are available for adoption at a reduced fee. She said senior cats cost $35 instead of $125, while older dogs cost $125 instead of $200, regardless of the age of the adopter. Signs at the shelter and on individual kennels alert potential adopters to the animals available through Senior Sweethearts, Novak said.

“A lot of times with senior animals, they are overlooked due to their age,” Novak said. But she, like Hapeman, said there are many benefits to adopting an older animal.

Novak said the older animals are already fully grown and they tend to understand and appreciate what is happening when they get adopted.

One of the dogs currently available through the Senior Sweethearts program is a 9-year-old male Terrier mix named Ares. According to his biography, he would prefer to be the only pet in a home.

“He’s a very sweet dog,” Novak said of Ares. She said everybody who has met him likes him. Staff at the shelter refer to him as the “distinguished gentleman,” Novak added.

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers its senior pets for adoption at no cost, shelter President Ron Perez said. He said each of the shelter’s older pets have been sponsored for adoption.

A Thanksgiving Visit

The Ulster County SPCA would like to give thanks this year for a Turkey Day visit from actress Andie MacDowell! In Kingston to film the upcoming movie “Love After Love,” MacDowell took time out of her schedule on Thanksgiving to pitch in at the shelter.

Click here to read the full story!

Andie & ReeseAndie & cats


We would like to extend a big Thank You to the Sawyer Automotive Foundation for their generous donation of $5,000 to the Ulster County SPCA. Sawyer Donation
Sawyer Automotive donated an incredible $30,500 to 10 local charities. This money was raised at the 12th Annual Sawyer Motors Car Show. For their support of the Ulster County SPCA and these other local charities, we thank you!!

Pictured are Ulster County SPCA President Cindy Caporale, Robert Siracusano of Sawyer Motors, and UCSPCA Board Member Jill Schintone.