Building Community: Announcing A Collaboration with the DCSPCA!

Drum roll please…Animal Farm Foundation is thrilled to (formally) announce our new collaboration with the Dutchess County SPCA in Hyde Park, New York!

This new addition to our programs here at AFF has been underway for a number of months, but we can finally spill the beans. Working with the DCSPCA is an exciting investment in our local animal shelter and our community here in New York State.

For years, we’ve collaborated with the DCSPCA informally, but in 2014, the two organizations saw an opportunity to come together to meet both of our missions for the benefit of pets and people in our area.

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As many of you know, AFF travels around the country speaking at conferences and doing on-site shelter consultations and presentations. These are excellent springboards for change, but we have to admit – we’re excited about the opportunity for the long term work that we can do by investing some of our resources in our local shelter.

By working side by side with the DCSPCA, we’re able to dig in deep, problem solve as challenges arise, and empower this fantastic organization to move forward into a brighter future for our community.

DCSPCA and AFF staff in the new building
DCSPCA and AFF staff in the new building

The DCSPCA is a limited admissions shelter just 40 minutes away from Animal Farm Foundation. As they geared up for some major changes in 2014, including moving into a new Adoption and Education Center facility, we were happy for the chance to collaborate with the new leadership, Executive Director Jackie Rose, and their hardworking staff, in order to support them in meeting their mission and vision for companion animals in our community.

The Mission and Vision of Dutchess County SPCA: We rescue, shelter, and secure permanent homes for adoptable companion animals; advocate for the highest standards of animal care; and enforce animal cruelty laws throughout Dutchess County. We envision a community in which there are caring, compassionate, respectful relationships between humans and animals, and all adoptable animals have loving homes.

We recognized that by collaborating with the DCSPCA, we would be able to not only help to meet their mission and ours – to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs – but that we would also be able to move closer to AFF’s long term vision in which ALL animals are recognized as individuals and equally valued. With missions that complement each other, the collaboration was a perfect fit!

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Today, AFF staff members are on site daily, assisting DCSPCA staff as they implement an array of new approaches to saving lives and caring for shelter pets. For example, under the direction of Bernice Clifford, our Director of Behavior and Training, members of our canine enrichment team are on site at the DCSPCA 7 days a week to help facilitate dog play groups during cleaning hours.

The dogs at the DCSPCA have always been treated as individuals (no breed-based blanket policies here!), but with the addition of more enrichment and regular play groups, the dogs are now more comfortable, mentally and physically, during their time at the shelter. Staff at the DCSPCA are also enjoying learning the ropes of play groups and are doing a fantastic job of implementing this new life saving tool!

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And we’re not just lending a hand with the dogs. AFF and the DCSPCA have put their heads together to increase cat adoptions and implement enrichment programs for the felines as well. AFF staff members are on site helping with adoption counseling for both cats and dogs these days, and the organization has recently moved to a conversation-driven, open adoption process.

Caitlin Quinn, our Director of Operations, has been working closely with the staff at the DCSPCA on marketing, communications, and policy updates. Recently both organizations teamed up with local photographers from HeARTs Speak for a photo shoot to help show off the fabulous pets available for adoption. We’ve also helped facilitate a total rebranding, complete with a new logo and focus on the joy and excitement that adopting a new pet brings to each family.


What does this mean for the dogs at our shelter here at AFF? We’re still taking in “pit bull” dogs from all over the country including cruelty situations, such as dog fighting busts. The difference now is that some of our kennels are temporary home to dogs (of all kinds) from the DCSPCA who need behavioral or medical support not available to them in the other facility. In exchange, the DCPSCA has been kind enough to host some of AFF’s shelter dogs on their adoption floor, which is much busier than our own small, rural shelter. The dogs are benefiting from having two locations and new potential adopters coming their way.

If you’re interested in adopting a dog from either group, we encourage you to fill out online adoption survey and we’d be happy to match you with your next family member. Additionally, our granting and education programs are still going strong.

Nothing is ending at AFF, we’re just diversifying!

With the animals and staff recently relocated to the brand new building – the official grand opening was 11/14 – we’ll continue to work together to empower the DCSPCA staff to be the best shelter they can be for our community!


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AFF’s Free Adoption and Marketing Resources For Shelters + Rescues


  1. […] Our yearlong collaboration with our local shelter, the Dutchess County SPCA, has focused on helping them move into their new facilities and revamp their adoption program. To support these efforts our shelter staff transferred over to working directly at the DCSPCA on a daily basis as adoption counselors (for both dogs and cats) and provided support with marketing and outreach. Today, our community collaboration continues, but the time has come for our staff to return home to the Farm! […]