York County SPCA needs help: 'I fear our save rates will start to drop'

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

York County SPCA is experiencing a staff shortage — and this means problems for the animals trying to get adopted, officials said.

Applications for veterinarian technicians, customer service representatives and animal care technicians have been open since July. Despite this, few are applying, said York County SPCA Executive Director Steven Martinez. 

“You need people to get animals out the door, and that's where the bottleneck is happening," Martinez said. "If we can hire people, we wouldn’t have the animal shelter count rising."

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Many of the dogs, cats and other small pets coming through the SPCA's doors are often sick or require additional care before they can go up for adoption. If the shelter had more veterinarian and animal care technicians on staff, these animals could get healthier sooner and have a shorter stay at the shelter, Martinez said. 

York County SPCA is currently looking for two individuals in each of the  positions. Applicants can visit https://ycspca.org/ to apply or search "York County SPCA" on https://www.indeed.com/

Nova, a 4-year-old male terrier/pit bull mix, is available for adoption at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“This is a great place to work, you get to be surrounded by cute animals all day long," Martinez said. “If we don't get enough people, we can only do so many adoptions per day.”

Currently, Martinez estimates the York County SPCA processes 12 to 18 adoptions each day.

The shelter is still unable to open to the public due to its staff shortage. 

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

Kennel Technician Cindy Robertson switches over one of several loads of laundry for the day's kennel cleanings at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

At a given time, the York County SPCA has a maximum capacity of 90 for dogs and 250 for cats.

If an individual is not in a position to adopt, Martinez said simply sharing information on social media can help. Fostering is an option, too.

Since the influx of animals, Martinez said the shelter has called upon its network of animal shelters to take on transfers.

Animal Care Technician Manager Samantha Slate gets a nose nuzzle from a kitten as she prepares a distraction of food before cleaning out a kitten kennel in the cattery at York County SPCA in Manchester Township, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. The SPCA is seeking to hire animal care technicians to help clean each living space daily. Dawn J. Sagert photo

For example, if a husky comes to the shelter, the York County SPCA may call upon a husky rescue organization to take on that specific breed.

"If we could get our staffing back to normal levels, we could manage our way out of this," Martinez said. "But if things keep going as they are and we cannot hire more help, then I fear our save rates will start to drop — which is the worst-case scenario.”

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

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