Putnam SPCA Finds New Home in Carmel

The Putnam County SPCA has secured a new home.

The agency is currently housed at the Paladin Center in Carmel, which donates the space. However, with a distillery moving into the center, Chief Ken Ross explained that the building is being vacated.

Upon hearing the SPCA’s plight, Wayne Ryder, CEO of Putnam County National Bank, approached Ross with an opportunity to rent property at 47 Gleneida Ave., just a few doors down from the bank. With the help of Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the County Legislature – under the leadership of Chairwoman Toni Addonizio – county government has pledged to cover the cost of rent up to $3,000 per month.

Putnam SPCA took possession of the property Feb. 1 and is hoping to be moved in within the next few weeks.

Ross said the new two-story location will allow the agency to separate its law enforcement officers from its volunteer staff, which is needed to keep non-officers from having unauthorized access to law enforcement files.

With the new, larger space, Ross said the agency is accepting donations of office materials, and manpower.

“We had two rooms at the Paladin Center, and now we’re trying to furnish two floors,” he said.

The chief explained that while the county also provides the agency with $50,000 a year, that funding doesn’t go far. There are three paid staff members – Ross earns between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, a dog control office earns about $18,000, and Ross’ son, who is also an officer, earns up to $14,000.

“It’s more a labor of love than anything else,” he said of their service.

There are also two volunteer officers, among other volunteers.

“It’s very helpful,” Ross said of the county stipend. “But when you’re trying to run a police agency… We go on e-Bay and buy old equipment. The best car we have right now is a 2009 Chevy Tahoe that was taken out of service by the Lake Carmel Fire Department.”

The SPCA is accepting donations of office supplies, from pens and paper, to furniture and electronics; as well as office décor, such as rugs, door plaques, and name plates for desks. In addition, it is looking for donations of time and materials for interior painting, carpentry, lighting, installation of an alarm system and cameras, and more.

“Clancy Moving has stepped up and said they would move us for free,” said Ross. “Which is great.”

The Putnam Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is not affiliated with the American SPCA. Its law enforcement officers travel the entire county seeking the protection of animals. According to Ross, the agency responded to 2,800 reports of possible animal cruelty last year. In addition, it patrols every parking lot across the county throughout the summer months.

“Last year we pulled 35 dogs out of cars,” he said. “In the past that number has been in the 60s.”

But this service comes with a cost.

According to Ross, gas and insurance are hefty bills for the agency, as can be sheltering seized animals. “We don’t have a shelter,” he explained. When an animal is seized, either a veterinarian will volunteer an overnight stay or the agency has to pay to shelter the animal.

“We scrape by, but people are generous in Putnam County,” said Ross.

Anyone who has goods or services to donate may contact the Putnam SPCA at 845-520-6915 or putnamspca@spcaputnam.org.

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