Local SPCA adds much-needed space

The Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently opened a new addition to its Reach Road facility.

Three new rooms – a feline room, multipurpose room and surgical center – will allow the Lycoming County SPCA to better carry out its mission of saving furry critters and finding them new homes.

The new multipurpose room already has been used well, said SPCA Executive Director Victoria Stryker.

“It’s a luxury to have so much space,” Stryker said. “We’ve used it for dog training classes, for shelter animals and the public, for temperament testing of shelter dogs, for our volunteers who work with specific animals on behavior modification, for volunteer training on animal handling and we have a professional photographer who takes pictures of the dogs and he sets up his background in that room.”

Before adding the new room, all of those activities were held in “whatever space was available,” Stryker said. “We used the lobby for dog training classes, and sometimes took pictures in the kitchen.”

Temperament testing is the series of challenges volunteers put dogs through, to check on their reactions to different situations.

“We test how it responds to loud noises, how it responds if you touch it while it’s eating, how quickly it recovers from being startled,” Stryker said. “It helps us let adopters know what to expect when a dog is in a new home. We drop a stainless steel bowl to see how they are when startled.”

The feline room will allow the SPCA to hold newly received cats for a while, to give owners a chance to find their lost pets, and it also will provide a space to hold cats so the SPCA can spay or neuter all cats when they’re first received, instead of waiting on them to be adopted.

The surgery room is mostly equipped and ready to be used – the SPCA has, over the years, gone to local veterinary clinics to take care of its basic surgical needs.

“What we need is the surgeon,” Stryker said. “We didn’t budget for a surgeon this year. We’ll most likely have one in 2014.”