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The Humane Society of Schuyler County headquarters and shelter in Montour Falls.
Society shows off
MONTOUR FALLS, March 22 -- They came out in force Saturday -- scores of area residents anxious to see the new Humane Society of Schuyler County's shelter on Marina Drive in Montour Falls.
More than 110 people signed in for raffles and a silent auction, and others bypassed the opportunity, heading straight for the building's interior, where volunteers were offering tours of the building, the former Kurtz Enterprize building.
The structure, which started taking in cats more than a year ago -- long before it extensive renovations were complete -- and transferred dogs from the old county shelter on Van Zandt Hollow Road in November -- also houses the HSSC's spay neuter operation, which was recently moved from the old headquarters on a two-acre plot of land in the Town of Catharine, near Alpine.
That Alpine property is for sale at $109,900, which Humane Society president Georgie Taylor points out is "a bargain" since it's assessed at $158,000. She said it could be used for any number of businesses -- as a cheesemaking operation, a brewery, or a landscaping business, to name three. The main building is 40 by 40 feet, and two barns are on the two-acre parcel.
The Humane Society could use the money, because establishing the new shelter took a lot of money -- well above the originally targeted $650,000. Ask how much more, and Taylor points skyward. The HSSC is currently trying to fill the gap in its financing -- caused by what essentially was a nearly complete rebuild at its new site -- through additional fund-raising.
The Open House, she said, was seen as one way to possibly generate donations, but more importantly it gets the word out to the community of Montour Falls and the surrounding area about the facility -- a clean, attractive and animal-friendly shelter. The building has a 24-dog capacity, and has a flexible number of cats on hand.
Part of its mission is to find homes for the sheltered animals. Accordingly, adoption days are held there with regularity.
One couple with just such "rescue pets" are Emma and Bill Merrill of Montour Falls -- who have five pets, including three "rescue dogs" along with a rescue cat and a turtle. They did more than attend the Open House -- they brought a donation: a 52-pound bag of Alpo dog food, a large bag of Meow Mix, some cat treats, and a box of Milk-Bone dog biscuits.
Donations, in fact, are key to the Humane Society operation. It has received many along the way as the shelter property was purchased and then renovated. And it is always looking for more. If interested in helping the cause, send your donation to Humane Society of Schuyler County, PO Box 427, Montour Falls, NY 14865. Call (607) 594-2255 for further information.
It is a worthy venture. The areas for cats and dogs are well lit, well heated in the winter, and air conditioned in the warmer months.
There is ample space in a cage for the sheltered dogs, who will also have a fenced area outside in which to run. The many shelter staff and volunteers keep the place spotless. The beautiful office area at the front of the building was constructed by volunteers. In fact, said one worker, nearly $100,000 in renovation costs was saved through volunteer labor.
Taylor's husband Mark -- who serves, he said, as the HSSC's "volunteer IT guy," overseeing its computer programming. -- was greeting Open House visitors, directing them to the building's interior throughout and beyond the scheduled three-hour event.
What stood out during those hours was the tranquil, engaging nature of the dogs and cats on display, the clearcut love and dedication of the Taylors and the shelter staff and volunteers toward this costly and -- they feel -- very necessary project, and their enthusiasm in showing off their new headquarters.
The large turnout -- and the welcoming nature of the village as the Humane Society moved toward this project and then shepherded it to reality -- prompted Georgie Taylor to sum it all up.
"How a community treats its elderly, its kids and its animals speaks to its values," she said.
And looking around at the crowd and the animals, and at the new, clean and welcoming Humane Society headquarters and shelter, she nodded in emphatic satisfaction.
Photos in text:
Top: A young boy and a shelter cat were curious about each other.
Second: Another of the cats on display at the Open House.
Third: The Open House offered its visitors food, including ice cream brought along by Paul Marcellus, shown here scooping some into a cup.
Fourth: The Merrills, Emma and Bill, who have five pets, brought along a donation of various pet foods for the shelter.
HSSC president Georgie Taylor, left, with visitor and shelter benefactor Betty Vinti.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869