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Jefferson County SPCA: Disaster Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

On January 12, 2019, during a particularly cold night when temperatures reached -5 degrees in Watertown, New York, a pipe burst in our main shelter location, which resulted in over four inches of water flooding the facility. As a result, the Jefferson County SPCA (JCSPCA) suffered major water-damage loss.

Fortunately, no animals were harmed directly by the flooding. However, the flood caused over $50,000 in damage. Although insurance will cover the majority of the structural and property loss, it will not cover the loss of income or payroll expenses during the closure. During the flood, we were closed for two weeks, leaving us with only our second location at Petco open, which has limited caging. In order to keep getting animals adopted from the main shelter, we had to have multiple staff members transport to Petco to showcase them for the day so they could get adopted. The grant monies paid for this to happen for two weeks. The great news is that we were still able to adopt 114 pets that month with the closure.

This grant was imperative, as being closed for two weeks made it almost impossible to do business and pay staff to care for the animals. This allowed us to care for animals and also pay staff to transport animals to our other shelter so they could be seen and adopted.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

The first picture is Rusty, a dog who was in a Long Island Shelter for almost two years. We transferred him up here to help try and get him adopted, but he wasn’t doing well with the transition. So when the flood occurred, I tried to get him out and into the public as much as possible. I brought him on TV and begged the community to help get him into a home (second photo). Staff kept bringing him to Petco to try and get him adopted.

Anyway, long story short, the contractor doing the repairs to the shelter was working I had Rusty and was doing a TV interview about the flood and had Rusty in the shot; then Rusty walked over and peed all over the contractor’s tools! I was devastated, but the contractor went home and told his wife what this dog had done and she said, “Oh my gosh, that’s the dog Heather was on TV with! He was marking his territory — it’s a sign we should adopt him!”

The next day they came in and met with Rusty and did a foster-to-adopt! Today, he’s gained 15 lbs., he’s super happy and a big couch potato (third photo), and he has two loving kids who give him all the attention in the world! So if it wasn’t for the extra exposure for Rusty, the wife wouldn’t have seen him and he may still be looking for a forever home! Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!

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