The SPCA of Westchester is one of the oldest humane societies in the United States. It was founded in 1883 by Ossining resident Mary Dusenberry after she observed horses being abused as they delivered heavy loads of coal. Together with caring friends, Mrs. Dusenberry obtained land on which to build the Society’s first home and established a fund to be used to prevent cruelty to animals.
The SPCA is still located on the same spot, making it one of the oldest landholders in Briarcliff Manor. Originally affiliated with the ASPCA, the SPCA became an independent organization in the 1920’s and does NOT receive funding from the ASPCA any national animal welfare organizations. Recognized as a “no-kill” shelter, the SPCA is committed to finding homes for all adoptable animals regardless of space or length of stay.
More than 4,000 orphaned animals and pets are supported every year through the SPCA’s many life-saving rescue and community outreach programs.
Our Current Programs
Rescue & Adoption Services
The SPCA provides a home for abandoned and abused animals in need of shelter, veterinary care, enrichment, and love while they await adoption. We accept lost and abandoned dogs and cats through local municipal contracts, owner surrenders, abused and neglected animals rescued by the SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit and at-risk animals from high-kill shelters.
The SPCA never euthanizes an animal except in cases of terminal illness, extreme aggression, or the inability to maintain a reasonable quality of life in a shelter environment. Regardless of how long it may take, we are committed to caring for all adoptable animals until a loving, new home can be found.
Cruelty Investigation and Intervention
The SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit (HLE) is the only shelter authorized by New York State to enforce the laws as they relate to animal cruelty in Westchester County. More than 1,000 reports of animal neglect and abuse are phoned into our confidential hotline every year. Our HLE officers perform investigations and make arrests involving a range of animals including, but not limited to dogs, cats, horses, exotics and farm animals. Neglected and abused animals are rescued from harms way as a result of this critical program.
Low-Cost Veterinary Care
The SPCA stands firm in its belief that the spaying and neutering of all dogs and cats is essential to alleviate the tragic consequences of unwanted animals. Through our Veterinary Clinic, the SPCA offers to the public, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, examination, vaccinations and testing for disease in an effort to help people keep their pets healthy.
Since establishing our clinic in 1983, we have spayed/neutered more than 70,000 dogs and cats, successfully reducing the number of strays brought to our shelter. Once a week, we assist local cat rescue organizations by offering spay/neuter surgeries to feral cats through our Trap/Neuter/Return program.
We help more than 3,000 community animals receive affordable veterinary care every year!
TRANSPORTATION AND RESCUE PROGRAM
Beginning in 2007, the SPCA began a program to rescue animals from high-kill shelters where they were slated to be euthanized due to a lack of space and funding. With a solid adoption rate at our care campus, we were confident that we could find loving homes for these animals which we have done with great success. Through this special program, the SPCA has saved the lives of thousands of dogs, cat, puppies and kittens in the United States and world-wide including North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Thailand, Turkey and China.
Golden Outreach Pet Therapy Program
For over 30 years, specially trained SPCA volunteer/dog teams have been visiting hospitals, hospices, assisted-living centers, nursing homes and adult day care centers, bringing people and animals together to combat loneliness and isolation. This program benefits not only the people with whom we visit, but also the animals, which includes SPCA animals who receive special training and extra socialization before being admitted to the program. More than 50 approved volunteer/dog teams visit dozens of healthcare facilities every year.
SPCA Volunteer Program
A group of 300 dedicated volunteers participates in the daily walking and training of our rescue dogs as well as our cat care program in order to make our animals more adoptable and reduce their emotional isolation from people during their stay at the shelter. Our volunteers contribute 25,000 hours of service to the SPCA every year. Volunteers foster shelter animals and groom them. They greet visitors and help them through the adoption process, keep our shelter looking its best through various beautification projects, provide support to office and clinic staff, and help with our fundraising efforts.
Teaching children to be animal advocates empowers them to be good citizens. The SPCA of Westchester believes that one of the most effective ways to fight animal cruelty and neglect is education. Our Humane Education Program staff and volunteers provides educational presentations and shelter tours to nearly 100 schools and youth groups every year, teaching kids humane education and the importance of animal rescue. The SPCA also participates in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Taskforce for Humane Education.
Every year the shelter hosts an annual “Camp Critter” in the summer for children ages six through twelve. Participants have fun while interacting with animals, learning about sheltering, animal care, animal cruelty, and how they can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.
The SPCA also offers junior volunteer opportunities so that children can engage with the animals while learning important skills through our Reading to Dogs, Homework or Music with a Buddy and Journaling with Cats programs.
THE “WAY HOME” PROGRAM
The SPCA has a full-time Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator for the purpose of promoting activities and training that help animals thrive and learn skills that prepare them for life with a forever family. Through the generosity of the John and Christine Tortorella Foundation, the SPCA began a program, The Way Home, which offers special training, encouragement and enrichment activities to dogs with behavioral challenges to improve their chances of being adopted.
More than 100 dogs are adopted into loving new homes through this special program every year.
SPCA of Westchester Pet Safety Program
The SPCA is proud to be partnered with three local domestic violence shelter agencies through our Pet Safety Program. This special partnership is with My Sisters’ Place, Hope’s Door and the Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.
Our Pet Safety Program was developed from the growing recognition that companion animals living in violent households are often the victims of abuse, and that people seeking refuge from such situations are often unwilling to leave out of fear for their animals’ safety. Because many domestic violence shelters are unable to take in the companion animals of victims, we saw the need to create a program that would enable victims to bring their pets to the SPCA to be cared for during their stay in the shelter system.
The SPCA Staff:
Shannon Laukhuf — Executive Director
Megan Caulfield, DVM — Staff Veterinarian
Ernest Lungaro — Director of Humane Law Enforcement
Lisa Bonanno — Director of Development
Kris Cialini — Office Manager
Joanne Langman, CPDT-KA — Behavior and Enrichment Manager
Sofia Rocha — Operations Manager
Liz Tavares — Cat Building Manager
THE SPCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Deborah Klugman, Chairman
Mary Farley, Treasurer
Barbara Kobren, Secretary
Carolyn J. Gill
Lisa P. Rockefeller
Authorized by NYS to Operate as a Shelter–Registration Number RR056
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