Potsdam Humane Society president hopes expansion helps to avoid coming ‘uncomfortably close’ to capacity
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 9:04 am

POTSDAM – Potsdam Humane Society President Betty Wolf is hopeful that the animal shelter expansion this spring will help them avoid coming uncomfortably close to operational capacity.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Potsdam Humane Society (PHS) broke ground Sunday on a 1,600 square foot expansion of its existing animal shelter.

“This infusion of badly needed funds could not have come at a better time,” Wolf said. “In many respects, PHS shelter services have fallen victim to their own success. While not yet a crisis, most shelter programs were coming uncomfortably close to operational capacity. This project will enable us to streamline and improve services to continue to be good stewards of the public’s trust.”

The $238,525 project will include an annex that will house a year-round exercise and training area for pets, a community room, and administrative offices. The exercise area will ensure regular socialization, mental stimulation and physical activity for dogs when access to outdoor areas is limited during the winter months.

The original building will also see critical improvements made to support animal care, according to a release from the shelter. PHS was awarded $178,895 from the State’s Companion Animal Capital Fund in 2018.

The existing main building will also undergo renovations that will improve and expand care services for the 1,200 dogs, cats and other animals that are housed at the PHS each year. The PHS will re-purpose, rehabilitate, and renovate various spaces throughout the shelter, including the heating and cooling system to improve heat distribution in the building.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We are proud to join the Potsdam Humane Society in kicking off this important project. The improvements being made inside the main building and the new annex will ensure the very best care of the dogs and cats and other animals at the shelter as they await their forever home.”

Dozens of community members and elected officials joined the event, which included a dedication of the new annex to a former shelter volunteer and fallen U.S. Army Specialist Chad Fuller, who died in the line of duty in 2003.

At a ceremony hosted by the Potsdam American Legion immediately following the groundbreaking, Chad’s family was presented a personalized Honor and Remember flag to honor Chad’s patriotic unwavering dedication and remember his selfless sacrifice and to recognize the enduring sacrifice of the Fuller family.

The PHS was one of 14 animal shelters and humane societies across the state that was awarded funding through Round 1 of New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund, totaling nearly $5 million. It is one of the first projects to get underway across the State.