WELLSBORO - Pet lovers here will have to find somewhere else to find a pet after the end of this month.
The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Philadelphia, has announced that the Wellsboro facility, 11675 Route 6, will close by the end of this month.
Pennsylvania SPCA CEO Susan Cosby said that the suspension of operations at the facility is the result of "a strategic realigning of services" and that the Pennsylvania SPCA "will focus its efforts on providing humane law enforcement in the region."
"In response to a challenging economic climate in the state, the Pennsylvania SPCA has developed an operations plan that addresses its mission to prevent animal cruelty while balancing its finances. As the smallest shelter in its network, the Wellsboro facility continually faces annual budget deficits," Cosby added.
Calling it a "difficult decision in a tough economy," Cosby noted that "it's challenging to raise the funds needed to sustain shelter operations at this facility without seriously impacting other services we provide."
PSPCA will continue to offer humane law enforcement in Tioga and other central and northern tier counties in Pennsylvania and will maintain the facility and will work with any interested community-based groups to potentially transfer ownership and possibility re-open the facility at a later date under a new local management team.
The SPCA officially stopped accepting animals at the facility April 8, according to a press release from the Philadelphia SPCA headquarters.
The shelter can hold up to 30 to 40 animals depending on size. There also is an area for horses and a pet cemetery on the property.
Prior to suspending operations, all of the animals now in the shelter will be adopted out or transferred to another shelter or rescue organization.
Last week, there were 14 cats, six dogs and one adult rabbit, each one available for adoption for one penny at the Wellsboro facility. By Monday, that number had dropped to two dogs and a cat available for adoption, according to shelter personnel.
Normally the Pennsylvania SPCA requires that people adopting pay $75 for a puppy, $125 for a dog, $50 for a cat and $75 for a kitten.
Included in the adoption is a spay-neuter voucher, identification micro-chip, first combination shot, the animal is wormed, plus 30 days of pet health insurance.
The Wellsboro shelter is on Route 6, across from Weis Markets. It will be open from 11:30.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday through Saturday,
After April, rather than taking strays to the Wellsboro shelter, media specialist Wendy Marano said people would have to call the dog law enforcement officer or state police.
The facility's two full-time and three part-time employees will be laid off at the end of the month, according to Marano.
Marano said the Wellsboro facility hhas been $100,000 a year, and that represents the cost for operating the shelter.
The Pennsylvania SPCA opened its doors in Wellsboro in 1947, using the property and funds given to them by Marion Simpson Siemens, who died on Oct. 26, 1939. Her gift to the organization was a 64-acre farm in Charleston Township and $367,000 in cash to get the operation started.