December is a time when many of us think about how we can give to others. We’ve all seen the donation advocates for Salvation Army for those less fortunate, but do you ever think of animals in that moment? There are many great organizations in our local area that are always advocating for those pets less fortunate.  This year Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital is collecting donations for two local organizations – SPCA and Animal House Project – two organizations that are doing great things for the animals in our area.

Animal House Project logoSPCA Logo

SPCA Perkiomenville is one of our local Animal shelters.  SPCA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for unwanted, lost and abused domestic animals.  Animal House Project is a 501(c)3 charitable organization operating in Chester, western Montgomery and Berks Counties as a pet food pantry. AHP mission is to keep pets at home and out of shelters/rescues by providing donated pet food and pet care services to families facing financial crisis.

We had the opportunity to interview these two great organizations to learn more about their worthwhile missions.

We asked Marybeth Yannessa, president of Animal House Project (AHP) and Taylor Gillian, Adoption Specialist, of SPCA some questions and here’s what they said.

Animal House Project

Q: What services do you provide besides food?

AHP: We provide, through Grants, low lost spay/neuter clinics, vaccinations as well as donated pet food and pet care items.

Q: How do people apply for assistance & what is it based on?

AHP: We work with all of the Human Food banks in the area.  If people have a computer we direct them to the Animal House Project website and on the left side there is a tab for Assistance Application.  We ask that they download the application, print it, complete all 4 pages, sign and send the requested information and mail to our offices.  We base the criteria on the 200% Federal Poverty Level (family of 4 = $47,700) or if they call and do not have a computer, we will mail them an application for completion.

Q: Where do people go for help?

AHP: Right now we have two Pantry Days – Pottstown is held the first Saturday of each month from 11 am to 2 pm at 371 Circle of Progress and the second is held at 1010 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown and is the third Saturday of the month from 11 am to 1 pm.  We are working with someone to get a grant to purchase a truck so that we can expand the Mobile Pantry Days to include Reading and Norristown.

 Q: How do you get your supplies & what do you need most?

AHP: All Donations come from pet food stores; veterinary hospitals; grooming and boarding facilities. However, as we expand more into eastern Berks County, we need to look at obtaining food donations from Manufacturing Companies. Right now, we need:

  • dry cat food
  • wet dog food

 Q: How much have you given to pets & families in need so far?

AHP: Right now, we are feeding 2350 companion pets and 1400 rescued pets per month and the numbers are growing every week.  To date, we have given out 67,950 lbs. of dry food and 17,500 cans of wet food; 1500 lbs. of litter and a lot of treats; toys; leashes and bowls.

 SPCA Perkiomenville

Q: What species do you rescue?

SPCA: We accept owner surrendered canines and felines. We also accept in domestic birds, domestic rabbits, domestic rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs.  We also accept horses/livestock pertaining to cruelty cases only, not as surrenders.  We do NOT accept reptiles or exotic animals.

Q: How many pets do you take in annually?

SPCA: Between the three branches of the MCSPCA (Conshohocken, Abington, Perkiomenville), we take in about 10,000 animals a year.

Q: How many pets are you able to place/save annually?

SPCA: We are an open-admission animal shelter meaning we will not turn people away due to space/age, health, or temperament of the animal. We are successfully able to place 97% of the dogs that come into the shelter, 83% of the cats, and 90% of the rodents.

Q: Do you have foster homes for pets while they are waiting for a forever home?

SPCA: We utilize foster homes for underage/underweight kittens. Kittens need to be 8 weeks of age and 2 lbs in weight in order for us to place them up for adoption. Many times, we get kittens that fail to meet these requirements. In these cases, we send the kittens into foster homes where they are given the chance to grow and be socialized. When they are old/large enough for adoption, they are brought back to the shelter and placed on the adoption floor.

Q: What supplies do you need most at the shelter?

SPCA: Supplies we are always in need of:

  • bleach
  • all-purpose cleaners
  • large-breed Nyla-Bone and Dura-Chew bones
  • large-breed Kong toys
  • office supplies
  • canned cat and dog foods
  • dry cat and dog food
  • rodent food and bedding

Q: How can the community help the rescue?

SPCA: The community can help out by being responsible pet-owners. Part of being a responsible pet owner is keeping their animals up-to-date on vaccines and getting the necessary veterinary care for their pets. Also, being pro-active with spay and neuter of animals. Spay/Neuter services are available at many vets and clinics and it makes a huge difference. Spaying and neutering of outdoor/feral cats is key to helping to end the vicious reproductive cycle of homeless cats/kittens. When adopting/purchasing an animal it is a lifelong commitment and the decision should not be taken lightly. We also try to encourage people to adopt. (“Adopt, don’t shop”) Even if it is not from our organization, we try to encourage people to look at shelters and rescues before going to a pet store or a breeder.

Q: Do you have any plans for the future – changes, expansion, new programs?

SPCA: In the future, we are hoping to increase the amount of spay and neuter programs we have available. We are also hoping to increase the number of Trap/Neuter Release (TNR) organizations with which we work. There are also going to be renovations made to our main Conshohocken facility.

Q: Has the demand for your services increased, decreased or remained the same in the past couple years?

SPCA: The demand for our services has remained the same over the past few years. We provide service to about 16,000 customers per year.

During the month of December, we at GVH will be collecting donation for both organizations and delivering them in the New Year!  Check out our giving tree in the lobby.  We hope that if you or your family is looking to give back this holiday season you might consider donating to these local organizations!

You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late.Ralph Waldo Emerson.

– Kat, CVT, GVH
Veterinary Technician