York County SPCA nears capacity, prompting call to public for support

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The York County SPCA is reaching capacity — and the nonprofit is urging York County residents to consider adopting or fostering one of its dogs, cats or rabbits.

In just three weeks, the nonprofit animal shelter's population total expanded to 250 animals, 140 of which are cats. Before the surge, the SPCA had so few animals that officials considered taking in animals from different shelters.

"Getting a large volume of animals in such a short time was certainly a challenge, but it's a challenge we're capable of addressing," said York County SPCA Executive Director Steven Martinez. "It was a lot of logistical hurdles, but it wasn't anything we weren't ready for."

In order to bring more awareness to adopting through the York County SPCA, the shelter posted to its Facebook page that from June 25 to July 2, all adoption fees will be reduced by 50%. The post has been shared more than 2,300 times.

At this time of the year, shelters across the country typically receive an influx of kittens — no surprise to the shelter workers. The pandemic, however, has intensified the issue, especially for the York County shelter, due to reduced staffing and limited resources.

Pepperoni, a 4-year-old male Pomeranian mix, is available for adoption at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In total, the York County SPCA has 295 animals in its custody, with 47 in foster care. 

"It's definitely kitten season, but we're coming off of an unusual year," Martinez said, adding that the York County SPCA's operations are set up "pandemic style" and not equipped for a return to normal affairs.

Martinez also debunked a rumor that many pets had been returned after the pandemic, saying owners are not surrendering their animals to the York County SPCA.

All pets available for adoption can be viewed by visiting the York County SPCA's website at https://ycspca.org/. Not all animals currently at the shelter are available for adoption immediately, however, something not many people are aware of, he added.

For example, many animals that come to the shelter are sick or have behavioral issues — two hurdles that staff members navigate through therapy and careful medical care.

Pepino, a 4-year-old female terrier/pit bull mix shown with Communications Director Kaila Young, is available for adoption at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

As for kittens, which make up a large number of all shelter animals currently at the York County SPCA, many are not old enough and require a bit of growing before they can be adopted.

"The hardest animal to keep alive is a kitten," Martinez said. "We're not going to adopt an animal until it's stable."

Currently, the York County SPCA is open by appointment only. Any individual interested in scheduling a meet-and-greet with an animal can call 717-764-6109 or fill out an application for a specific animal they are interested in. 

The shelter is also in the process of hiring additional staff and expanding its capacity for a planned reopening date by the end of the summer, Martinez said.

Although space is filling up at the facility, Martinez said the SPCA would not euthanize an animal because of space limitations. The shelter only considers euthanizing an animal that has a terminal illness or one whose behavior is "beyond point of recovery."

Baby, a 12-year-old female, is available for adoption at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

If capacity is reached, the shelter has a network of foster and animal welfare partners that can take on any additional animals.

And since the post on Facebook, the shelter has already received new inquiries for adopting and fostering.

"The first step is to fall in love with a pet, and that can be done by visiting our website and reading their bios," Martinez said. "We're a community resource center, and I think it's important that the community will show up for us is nice to know."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

Bandit, a 1-year-old male English spot/dwarf hotot mix, is available for adoption at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo