Cortland cat shelter, spay-and-neuter program at risk of closing

CNY SNAP is looking for volunteers, funding, and a new space (photos provided).

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A local animal aid and rescue service is in danger of closing.

Central New York’s Spay and Neuter Assistance Program (CNY SNAP) is a local not-for-profit animal aid and adoption service with a primary focus on spaying and neutering cats and dogs.

Their mission is to make a difference in the community by ending the overpopulation of cats and dogs in Central New York, according to their website.

The organization provides spaying and neutering services anywhere from $50 to $90, and other services, like flea and tick removal, for $3-10, depending on the age and gender of the animal.

“People can get vet care at a price they can afford,” said Susan Rayl, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Africana Studies Department at SUNY Cortland.

Rayl has been formally involved with CNY SNAP since 2011. Rayl saw an article in the local newspaper about a man in Taylor who had too many cats on his property. After looking into the problem, Rayl learned that there were 25 cats on the man’s property. She helped most of them get adopted and adopted a few herself.

“It’s very fulfilling,” Rayl said. “It will take a few years to get where we want to get but we remain very optimistic.”

As of May 2017, CNY SNAP has spayed and neutered 35,000 cats and dogs.

Currently, the organization only offers adoption of cats. The organization does have a return policy, but Rayl believes it’s better that way because then they know what happens to the animals and can find them a better home.

Urgent need for volunteers, funding

CNY SNAP is in danger of closing. According to Rayl, their current building space on Central Avenue is under new ownership and has given the organization an eviction notice. The group is having trouble finding a new space that is both affordable and animal-friendly.

“We need volunteers,” said Rayl. “The goal is to get a lot of people to come in for just two hours a week. Right now, we have about half a dozen people coming in two to three times a week and they’re having to make massive sacrifices.”

Rayl said they currently have a really good group of volunteers, but it’s just not enough.

Besides volunteering, people can donate to the GoFundMe that was set up for CNY SNAP, which has raised $420 of its $10,000 goal.

The GoFundMe was set up by Hannah Bush, one of Rayl’s former students. According to Rayl, Bush volunteered with the organization while she was still enrolled at SUNY Cortland.

“When I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is wonderful’. The idea that she came up with it and just took action is amazing.

Despite all of the challenges the group is facing, they remain optimistic.

“We don’t want to close. We want to keep going and keep providing for Cortland and surrounding counties,” said Rayl.