The Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is making strides to return to its full working strength, after a traffic accident claimed one of the organization’s patrol cars.
On May 4 of this year, SPCA officers, who were en route to a call, were struck by another motorist who was making a left turn onto Route 202 in Brewster.
According to Putnam County SPCA Chief Ken Ross, nobody was injured in the accident but the SPCA patrol car’s front-right end was badly crushed.
The vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria donated by the Pound Ridge Police Department in 2009, was classified as “totaled” by the insurance company and had to be taken out of service.
“The other guy was nice about the whole thing,” Ross said about the accident. “This is just one of those accidents that you’re glad no one got hurt.”
The SPCA of Putnam County is an non profit organization that functions solely on donations and doesn’t receive any state, county or municipal funding.
That is the SPCA took a major his with the loss of the patrol car.
As it stands, SPCA officers must use their personal vehicles to answer calls.
“The police car from Pound Ridge was great because it had a barrier between the driver and the backseat. By using our own cars, it puts the driver in a potentially dangerous situation,” Ross said, regarding if an arrest had to be made.
The SPCA, and others on their behalf, have held many fundraisers and donation drives.
Most recently, a fundraiser was held at Short Cuts Family Salon on Route 6 in Mahopac to help defray the cost of a replacement car.
All proceeds of the “Cut-a-Thon” went directly to the PCSPCA, and a total of $3,600 was accumulated through the fundraiser.
Part of that was raised through a 50-50 raffle; an amount that only grew bigger when the winner of the raffle, Mahopac resident Alyson Cifo, generously donated the prize of $100 back to the SPCA, because she wanted to help animals that are in need, Ross said.
“A new car these days can go upwards of $30,000,” Ross said of how the SPCA is working their way to that amount. “We’re grateful for whatever we get.”
Ross said the ideal of car for the work the SPCA does would be a Ford Crown Victoria, a Chevrolet Impala, a Dodge Charger, or any other similar kind of vehicle used by other law enforcement agencies.
The special barrier installed in law enforcement vehicles, which separates the front and back seats is a huge, necessary feature, Ross said, and one that often comes at an additional cost.
Ross said a van would also help the SPCA to transport animals – a large component of the work they do.
“It’s a tough economic time for all. It would be a lot to ask from a local business to donate something of this magnitude,” Ross said of why they are pursuing fund-raising for the vehicle, step by step.
In addition to monetary donations, Ross said the community can help them in their mission to protect animals by donating computers, and office equipment and supplies, among other wish list items on their website.
“Something as simple as a gas card is very helpful. A call which requires a drive from Brewster to Cold Spring takes [a lot]of gas,” Ross said.
Despite the loss of the patrol car and the need for donations to continue to operate, Ross stressed that the public should never hesitate in calling the SPCA if they suspect animal cruelty is happening in their neighborhood, including if they spot an animal left inside of a hot car during the summer months.
For information on the SPCA, donation opportunities, or for their 24-hour hotline, Putnam residents can call 845-520-6915. The PCSPCA can be found on Facebook by searching for “Putnam County SPCA” and on the web at www.spcaputnam.org.
The SPCA is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.
By Stephen Fragano