Lancaster SPCA shuts its doors

This week, the Lancaster County SPCA announced plans to close, citing a failed business model and lack of funding.

While all 13 employees will lose their jobs, news of the animal shelter’s impending shutdown led to an outpouring of support for animals in need of new homes, shelter spokeswoman Jennifer Ericson said. 

All animals that were available for adoption at the shelter have already been adopted just a day after the announcement – though, she said, a few cats and dogs are still being evaluated and will become available for adoption in the near future.

“It has been a fantastic response,” she said Wednesday. “I can’t be happier with how the public responded.”

On Tuesday alone, she said, the shelter saw 31 adoptions – nine cats, 15 dogs, four rabbits and three guinea pigs. Another six dogs and four cats have been put on hold, she said, with their future owners expected to pick them up soon.

On Tuesday, the Lancaster County SPCA announced the impending shutdown, noting that it would be the last day that the shelter would accept owner-surrendered pets and stray cats. From now until its shutdown, expected in mid-August, the shelter will only take in stray dogs from law enforcement officials in municipalities contracted with the SPCA. The public will still be able to adopt these dogs when they become available for adoption, Ericson said. 

When the shelter is shuttered, she said, she has no idea what the police will do with the dogs they recover.

According to Ericson, the shutdown came as something of a surprise to employees, though they knew the shelter had been struggling.

“We knew that we were struggling, and we were looking for what options we still had,” she said. “This year, the adoption rate was lower than normal and we just didn’t bounce back from that financial challenge. So, unfortunately, this has to end, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.”

In an effort to help find homes for the animals remaining at the shelter, the Lancaster County SPCA reduced adoption fees for dogs to $100 and made adoption costs for all other animals free.

Ericson said that they believed the several remaining animals yet to be put up for adoption – they have some kittens that she said will be available for adoption Thursday – will find homes, but the SPCA has worked with area rescues in case they need to move animals once the shelter is shuttered.

The Lancaster County SPCA is expected to cease operations by mid-August.

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