Sobering circumstances facing pet owners

Contributed photoIf you’re looking for the sweetest dogs, you can stop here. Despite his big, tough guy name, Rambo is the most gentle soul. He’s a 5-year-old Shepherd/Staffordshire Terrier mix that wants only to be loved. He’s pictured with CGHS/SPCA Shelter Manager Jessica Farkas. Next to him (left) is the most affectionate and gentle Labrador mix, 11-year-old Affy, pictured with CGHS/SPCA Adoption Counselor Andrea Balli. Rambo and Affy came to the shelter with a group of nine other dogs and seven cats. They’re both good with dogs and cats and would do well with children. Their only request is constant patting and attention! If you’re looking to snuggle the winter away — we’ve found you the perfect matches!

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA sent out a recent press release stating that, effective immediately, all fees for people needing to surrender their pets have been suspended.

Since the shelter opened its doors in 1955, one thing has been common knowledge — there are simply circumstances in life that cannot be helped, which force pet owners to have to face the grim decision of having to give away custody of their pets. Granted, the fashion by which this custodial release is performed is sometimes ill-intentioned or downright illegal — which is why our doors are also open to municipalities with abandoned dogs. However, there are legitimate cases that do come up in ordinary life, and those who do have to come to terms with having to allow us to help them find a new home for their beloved cat or dog.

We have always treated the surrender/adoption process with an understanding of the sobering circumstances facing us in today’s radically changing world. 2020 alone, with its pandemic influence and ripple effect into finances, has caused heartbreak to once-stable pet-owning households by means of evictions, unemployment, health issues, and more. When one of these scenarios descends on a relationship between a family and their companion, for over 65 years we have made it our duty to meet the needs of the pet who must have a safe place where they can await their new adoptive home.

In recent weeks, CGHS/SPCA has experienced an uptick in people surrendering animals. Many of the animals surrendered to the shelter are a result of loss of jobs and evictions. The shelter has traditionally requested surrender fees of $30 for cats and $50 for dogs. However, these fees have increasingly presented a hardship for many pet owners who are unemployed. Effective immediately, the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA has waived all fees for people needing to surrender their pet.

Ron Perez, President of CGHS/SPCA, states “We understand that for some people, surrendering their pet is a difficult and emotional decision. Often, financial difficulties in the family seem to make matters even worse. Waiving our surrender fees will hopefully make these decisions less stressful for families.”

We will always make our service to the needy and homeless animals within our community our top priority. We are here to serve all of you who entrust your animals to our care and protection. We will never let them — or you — down!

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA receives surrenders by appointment only. Call 518-828-6044 or email for more information or to make an appointment. The shelter is open 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for adoptions and surrenders. Our Food Bank is open to any from the public in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. All of our cats and kittens are “Furrever Free” with all expenses paid. Spay/neuter clinics for cats are $86 male or female, including a rabies vaccination and a 5-in-1 feline distemper combination vaccination. Nail clipping services are available 10-11 a.m. every Saturday at the shelter for a donation of $10 for cats and $15 for dogs (currently prepaid only).

Aaron Clause is an Administrative Assistant at the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. He may be contacted at

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