Animal Shelters Getting Back on Their Feet
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"We needed a fresh start,” said Phyllis Tinkous, PAWS Animal Shelter. "There was no boundaries ever set, you know. So we decided to set boundaries."
The PAWS Animal Shelter in Albion was not shut down, boarded up, or closed for good. Shelter officials themselves say they decided to remove the animals back in April, and start over.
"With the amount of animals we had, it took them all day to clean. To take care of them properly – but it took them all day. We didn't have time to play with them,” Tinkous said.
Three months, and a sweeping remodel later, the shelter is literally, as good as new.
"It looks better. It keeps the smell down a little bit, too, because these are 30-year-old cement pads. All those years of animals and I don't know if they were painted before."
Even though the Albion PAWS Shelter was in good-standing, and taking good care of its animals, officials here still wanted to institute some new policies. For instance, now when you come into any animal room, you have to step in bleach-filled tubs, to disinfect your shoes.
"Every one of us on the board is passionate about our animals,” said Tinkous. “I could stay home and quilt if I wanted to. But I'm here on the weekends mowing the lawn, and trimming the trees. And I don't think people realize the amount of work it takes to keep this going."
Meanwhile, nearly an hour south in Attica, the SPCA is two-and-a-half weeks from its grand re-opening.
"Wyoming County needs a reputable shelter,” said Jennifer Volpe, SPCA Shelter Manager. "But there's still a lot of work to do."
It's a far cry from last February, when State Police raided this SPCA and charged the prior manager with animal hoarding.
"You know, I mean that was one of my things when I started cleaning: I was like, 'Oh my god, am I going to find dead cats in the walls?'” said Volpe.
Now up-to-code, and receiving a certificate of occupancy next week, the shelter will soon begin accepting animals.
"You know, I really just wanted to make sure that the -- what happened here, wasn't going to happen again,” Volpe said. "The amount of contractors, and people coming out and willing to help: it has just been really amazing."
Both shelters stress that donations are their chief source of income. Both are holding yard sale fundraisers in the coming weeks.