SPCA Westchester is one of the oldest humane societies in the United States. It was founded in 1883 by Ossining resident Mary Dusenberry after she observed horses being abused as they delivered heavy loads of coal. Together with caring friends, Mrs. Dusenberry obtained land on which to build the Society’s first home and established a fund to be used to prevent cruelty to animals.
The SPCA is still located on the same property, making it one of the oldest landholders in Briarcliff Manor. Originally affiliated with the ASPCA, the SPCA became an independent organization in the 1920’s and does NOT receive funding from the ASPCA or any national animal welfare organizations. Recognized as a “no-kill” rescue center, the SPCA is committed to finding homes for all adoptable animals regardless of space or length of stay.
In 2021 we proudly opened the doors to our new, 27,000-square-foot Animal Rescue Center. Our former buildings hadn’t been updated since the 1950’s and were cracked and crumbling. Thanks to our generous supporters, who made this dream a reality, our modern home can now accommodate even more animals. This will allow us to expand our rescue programs and services, making a huge impact on Westchester County animals and beyond!
More than 5,000 orphaned animals and pets are supported every year through the SPCA’s many life-saving rescue and community outreach programs.
Our Current Programs
Rescue & Adoption Services
The SPCA provides a safe haven for abandoned and abused animals in need of rescue, veterinary care, enrichment, and love while they await adoption. We accept lost and abandoned dogs and cats through local municipal contracts, owner surrenders, abused and neglected animals rescued by the SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit and at-risk animals from overcrowded and high-kill shelters.
The SPCA never euthanizes an animal except in cases of terminal illness, extreme aggression, or the inability to maintain a reasonable quality of life. Regardless of how long it may take, we are committed to caring for all adoptable animals until a loving, new home can be found.
Cruelty Investigation and Intervention
The SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Unit (HLE) is the only animal welfare organization authorized by New York State to enforce the laws as they relate to animal cruelty in Westchester County. More than 1,000 reports of animal neglect and abuse are phoned into our confidential hotline every year. Our HLE officers perform investigations and make arrests involving a range of animals including, but not limited to dogs, cats, horses, exotics and farm animals. More than 100 neglected and abused animals are rescued from harms way every year as a result of this critical program. The SPCA’s HLE Unit receives no government funding and is run strictly on donations.
Low-Cost Veterinary Care
The SPCA stands firm in its belief that the spaying and neutering of all dogs and cats is essential to alleviate the tragic consequences of unwanted animals. Through Cody’s Clinic, the SPCA offers to the public, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, examination, vaccinations and testing for disease in an effort to help people keep their pets healthy.
Since establishing our clinic in 1983, we have spayed/neutered more than 70,000 dogs and cats, successfully reducing the number of strays brought to our shelter. Once a week, we assist local cat rescue organizations by offering spay/neuter surgeries to feral cats through our Trap/Neuter/Return program.
We help nearly 2,500 community animals receive affordable veterinary care every year, not including our own rescue animals!
Beginning in 2007, the SPCA began a program to rescue animals from overcrowded and high-kill shelters where they are slated to be euthanized due to a lack of space and funding. With a solid adoption rate at our rescue center, we were confident that we could find loving homes for these animals which we have done with great success. Through this special program, the SPCA has saved the lives of tens of thousands of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in the United States and world-wide including North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Thailand, Turkey and China.
Golden Outreach Pet Therapy Program
For over 30 years, specially trained SPCA volunteer/dog teams have been visiting hospitals, hospices, assisted-living centers, nursing homes and adult day care centers, bringing people and animals together to combat loneliness and isolation. This program benefits not only the people with whom we visit, but also the animals, which includes SPCA animals who receive special training and extra socialization before being admitted to the program. More than 50 approved volunteer/dog teams visit dozens of healthcare facilities every year.
SPCA Volunteer Program
A group of 300 dedicated volunteers participates in the daily walking and training of our rescue dogs as well as our cat care program in order to socialize our animals and give them much needed TLC during their time at our Rescue Center. Our volunteers contribute an average of 25,000 hours of service to the SPCA every year. Volunteers also foster many of animals. They further support us by greeting visitors, helping them through the adoption process, provide assistance to staff, and help with our fundraising efforts.
Teaching children to be animal advocates empowers them to be good citizens. We believes that one of the most effective ways to fight animal cruelty and neglect is education. Our Humane Education Program staff and volunteers provides educational presentations and tours to nearly 100 schools and youth groups every year, teaching kids humane education and the importance of animal rescue. The SPCA also participates in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Taskforce for Humane Education.
Every year the SPCA hosts an annual “Camp Critter” in the summer for children ages six through twelve. Participants have fun while interacting with animals, learning about rescue, animal care, animal cruelty, and how they can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.
The SPCA also offers a Rising Volunteers program so that children can engage with the animals while learning important skills through our Reading to Dogs, Homework or Music with a Buddy and Journaling with Cats programs.
THE “WAY HOME” PROGRAM
The SPCA has a full-time Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator for the purpose of promoting activities and training that help animals thrive and learn skills that prepare them for life with a forever family. Through the generosity of the John and Christine Tortorella Foundation, the SPCA began a program, The Way Home, which offers special training, encouragement and enrichment activities to dogs with behavioral challenges to improve their chances of being adopted.
More than 100 dogs are adopted into loving new homes through this special program every year.
Pet Safety Program
The SPCA is proud to be partnered with three local domestic violence shelter agencies through our Pet Safety Program. This special partnership is with My Sisters’ Place, Hope’s Door and the Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.
Our Pet Safety Program was developed from the growing recognition that companion animals living in violent households are often the victims of abuse, and that people seeking refuge from such situations are often unwilling to leave out of fear for their animals’ safety. Because many domestic violence shelters are unable to take in the companion animals of victims, we saw the need to create a program that would enable victims to bring their pets to the SPCA to be cared for during their stay in the shelter system.
Authorized by NYS to Operate as a Shelter–Registration Number RR056