Community action

Volunteers gather school supplies for flood victims


Staff Reporter

Since the heavy flooding in June, Walter Stein has seen flood victims’ pride at work.
“They don’t want to ask for help,” he said.
But Stein, director of family services for the Community Action Agency in Sullivan County, said they need it.
And that’s why he and about 60 volunteers and community action employees from across New York traveled to Marathon’s William Appleby Elementary School Wednesday to fill 1,300 backpacks with school supplies for young flood victims, they said.
Jim Kovarik, community services program analyst for the New York Department of State, said most of the supplies will go to the areas hardest hit by flooding in June. Those areas include Binghamton, the Susquehanna and Chenango river basins, the Mohawk River and Fulton and Montgomery counties, he said.
The helpers traveled from Wyoming, Albany, Niagara, Washington, Rockland, Allegheny, Tioga and other counties, bringing supplies the respective community action agencies had collected as donations.
Kirsten Parker, of the Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO), said the 1,300 bags and corresponding supplies surpassed the agencies’ goal of 1,000 filled bags.
That means Cortland County flood victims will get more than 100 of the backpacks for its flood victims, she said.
“They said they’d be keeping some in Cortland because we have so many,” she said.
Parts of Cortland County, such as McGraw, were affected by the June flooding; more county locations were affected by flooding in July.
Lindy Glennon, executive director at the Cortland County Community Action Program, said that since all the supplies came as donations, the agencies didn’t have to spend the $29,000 Community Block Development Grant they received for the project.
Instead, the money will go toward other types of flood relief, such as car and home furnishing repairs and bottled water, she said.
“The good thing about this is we can be flexible about this,” Glennon said about having the grant money.
Evelyn Harris, director of the New York Department of State’s Division of Community Services, said that that her division funnels $56.7 million annually to community service agencies in New York.
At Wednesday’s backpack-packing session, volunteers and community action employees unloaded boxes of supplies from trucks, vans and cars and pushed them on carts into Appleby’s gym.
Around 10:30 a.m. everyone formed assembly lines to put notebooks, pencils, erasers, markers and more into the backpacks. Then they put the filled backpacks into piles designated for each in-need county.
Later on, community action employees drove the backpacks back to their agencies to later distribute them to nearby flood victims.
Volunteers included relatives of community action employees and members of Marathon’s high school track team.
Evan Holl, 13, of Marathon, said his aunt — Kirsten Parker — recruited him for the event. But he is used to volunteering as a member of the Cortland County Young Marines program, he said.
Holl said he felt good about the work he did Wednesday.
“I like the thought that I’m actually helping kids my age and younger,” he said.
Cody Gaylord, 16, of Marathon, was among 15 or so track team members who helped unload supplies into the school.
Gaylord said he did all the lifting and pushing after running an intense obstacle course and working on his footwork at a track practice moments before. But he was glad he helped, he said.
“It feels good,” he said.




Thirty-two dogs taken from Scott breeder


Contributed photo
This female puppy is one of the 24 dogs moved to German Shepherd Rescue of Central New York facilities.

Staff Reporter

SCOTT — Following complaints from neighbors, 32 German shepherds were removed from a Cold Brook Road address in Scott.
The animals were “voluntarily surrendered” by a woman who was trying to establish a breeding kennel, said SPCA cruelty investigator Bill Carr.
“The owner was attempting to be a breeder and breed animals for sale, and that would be a business, but it was a failed attempt,” Carr said Wednesday. “The majority of them were in poor health and body condition.”
Carr said that most of the puppies were removed on Aug. 18, and that the rest were turned over on Aug. 25.
Because the dogs were voluntarily given over to authorities, no charges were brought against the owner, and the SPCA will not reveal the individual’s name, Carr said.
“They were surrendered because we received a complaint regarding their care and we went and spoke with the owner regarding this and found the complaint to be founded,” Carr said. “However, the owner was cooperative the entire time. They granted us access and inspection to the premises and the animals, and just felt that they were kind of overwhelmed and in over their head, and so we all agreed that probably the best thing to do is go ahead and get some help with the animals.”
The dogs were not licensed with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, Carr said, but the owner could have applied for a kennel license, which is cheaper than registering them individually.
“All in all, the owner was forthcoming, seemed relieved that there was help available,” Carr said. “It’s probably a hard thing to just comes to terms with — that you do need some assistance, and you are in over your head.”
Twenty-four of the dogs were placed with German Shepherd Rescue of Central New York, said director Pat Dechick, a boarding and grooming kennel owner and former breeder who has been working with rescued German shepherds for about 25 years.
Dechick said that the dogs were kept in kennels, of sorts, but that they were essentially “outside dogs.”
“They’re mainly underweight. We have a couple of puppies who are really very fragile, and it’s day by day, whether they are surviving,” Dechick said of some of a few 4-week-old puppies. “We have emaciated adults.”
Four of the dogs were permitted to stay with the original owner and are being spayed and neutered, and Carr said that 4 puppies are being kept at the SPCA.
“The SPCA, GSRCNY, and Country Acres Pet services are assisting her in the spaying and the neutering of a couple of the animals that will remain in place,” Carr said of the owner.
All of the animals had severe parasitic infection, Dechick said, and the GSRCNY would be checking and eliminating heartworms, immunizing and spaying and neutering.
“Temperaments are lovely on these dogs. All of us are amazed at how sweet they are, how friendly they are,” Dechick said, adding that none of the animals have shown any aggression to the staff. “They’re just unsocialized, untrained.”
Some of the older dogs will go to obedience training and some of the older puppies will be placed reasonably soon, but Dechick said that the youngest puppies would be with the GSRCNY for a couple of months.
The organization usually cares for between five and seven German shepherds and only places them within responsible homes, in which the GSRCNY will be able to check up on the animals over the course of the dogs’ lives. The organization asks for donations when a dog is adopted, Dechick said.