Community Financial Support Desperately Needed

OLEAN, NY – The SPCA in Cattaraugus County has announced that the old administration has stepped aside and that a new board of directors is in place that remains committed to the no-kill mission of saving the lives of animals and providing adoption services for homeless and neglected animals. They face a financial crisis and call out to the community to help keep the doors open.

The new board, with the goal of financial transparency, shared issues they have encountered in their first two months including back electric, gas and heating bills in the amount of $17,000; a mountain of debt as a result of caring for 300 cats and dogs, building upkeep, heat and light, plus salaries amounts to $20,000 a month; accumulated unpaid payroll and unemployment taxes; and an investigation of the organization by the Attorney General’s Office due to past allegations involving how money was spent.

As a result of these allegations made by a group of protesters, the SPCA has experienced a severe drop in donations.

“We’re not sharing these details to place blame on anyone,” said Karen Perrigo, financial and legal consultant for the SPCA in Cattaraugus County. “Blaming anyone really doesn’t make any of these issues go away, however we need the community to know what the organization is facing and how we desperately need the community’s involvement and support in order to keep the doors open. The new board is dedicated to finding ways to pay off this debt, comply with the Attorney General’s office and continue the care of these animals, but there is no way this can be accomplished without the community getting involved with saving the shelter.”

New board members include Bridget Dean, board chairman; Jerri Keis, secretary; Glenn Buckley, DVM; Matt O’Connell, one of the leaders of Bona Responds; and Karen Perrigo, independent financial and legal consultant.

“We are thankful for Kelly Chaffee’s 30 years of service to the organization and we wish her the very best as she moves on to new endeavors,” said Bridget Dean, board chairman. “We are very excited to bring fresh ideas to foster positive change. The staff and volunteers have been remarkable — together we are going to accomplish amazing things!”

With a new financial process in place that’s been approved by the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the organization has a system of checks and balances in place that will allow for fiduciary responsibility and greater transparency.

There are many ways the community can get involved, but right now the greatest need is financial. The organization needs roughly $20,000 per month just to keep the doors open (that doesn’t include chipping away at the debt). With close to 300 animals currently at the shelter, the need is tremendous.

There are several fundraisers coming up that also allow for the community to get involved including Wine and Wags, Oct. 19 from 5–8 p.m. at The Winery of Ellicottville, 14 Monroe St. in Ellicottville. The $10 admission gets each person a wine tasting, delicious cheese from EVL Cheese Company and a tour of the winery. Tickets are available at the shelter, 2944 Route 16 in Olean or at The Winery of Ellicottville. Tickets can be purchased at the door as well.

One of the most impactful ways to make a difference is by adopting a dog or cat from the shelter. There are many dogs and cats that have been spayed and neutered and vaccinated and are just waiting to find their forever home. Every weekend through the month of October, all spayed and neutered cats and kittens are available for adoption with donation. Adopters can choose the amount to donate.

The SPCA in Cattaraugus County is open Tuesday–Saturday, noon–5 p.m. and Sunday 1–4 p.m. Donations of items for the shelter: kitty litter, cleaning supplies, cat and dog treats, cat and dog toys, etc. are always welcome.

For more information, to donate or contribute fundraising ideas, please contact Bridget Dean by emailing or calling (540) 842-7776.