Shelter Achieves Nationally Recognized “95% Live Release Rate”- an 18 Percent Increase Under New Executive Team 


Hyde Park, NY (November 24, 2020) – Equal parts animal shelter and community resource, the Dutchess County SPCA(DCSPCA) is making a big impact in the Hudson Valley. With a new leadership team in place, an entirely humane approach and a mission to foster a community where all animals are treated with respect and compassion, the nonprofit organization, located at 636 Violet Avenue in Hyde Park, NY, has reinvented itself. In fact, under its new direction, the DCSPCA has achieved a 95 percent live release rate – an impressive 18 percent increase – and introduced programs to augment its reach in the region.

In late 2018, DCSPCA appointed Lynne Meloccaro as executive director to address the issues that had given the shelter a somewhat rocky recent history. As the former executive director of The American Symphony Orchestra and Bard College’s The Orchestra Now, Meloccaro, a lifelong animal lover, brings decades of professional experience in nonprofit management to the DCSPCA. For the past two years, she has quietly and diligently worked to improve the standard of care for the animals and to institute managerial best practices. She hired a new team of experienced shelter professionals to help realize the organization’s mission to aid animals in need and support the community of pet owners.  This effort has resulted in a host of positive, mission-minded steps.


Help for Animals 

One of the primary goals, and a driving “why” of the DCSPCA, is to secure lasting homes for adoptable pets. This only happens as the culmination of numerous other essential functions: DCSPCA rescues stray and abandoned animals from all over the county; its humane law division seizes animals from abusive situations and prosecutes the abusers; it receives wounded and injured animals and restores them to health; and each year it takes in 700 to 800 kittens born in the wild that would otherwise not survive.

“Placing animals in safe and stable homes is the pinnacle of all of our other programs to rescue and save animals from unhappy circumstances,” said Meloccaro. “Especially during this pandemic, we have come to realize that helping the community to help its own animals fulfills our mission even more, because often, with some support, people don’t have to surrender or abandon their pets.”

Help for Humans 

DCSPCA now offers a variety of new programs to support Dutchess County’s population of pet owners.


Safety-net boarding: DCSPCA will board and care for animals free of charge for up to 60 days for people who need emergency housing for their animals when, for instance, owners are hospitalized or had a house fire. DCSPCA works with several community partners such as Grace Smith House, Hudson Valley Hospice, and Mental Health America of Dutchess County to care for the pets of clients of these programs.


Emergency medical repayment plan: DCSPCA offers special repayment plans for people whose animals require medical attention beyond the means of owners to pay right away. DCSPCA will treat an animal and work out a customized repayment schedule. In this way DCSPCA has been able to save the lives of several dogs and cats and reunite them with their owners.


Free rabies vaccine clinics: In partnership with Dutchess County Department of Health, DCSPCA has expanded the number of free rabies clinics it holds to four each year, ensuring a healthier overall population of animals in the county.


Food pantry: The shelter stocks a network of human food pantries with pet food to support people who may be struggling economically. Especially this year, the pet food pantry program has been a critical service to families in need.


Low cost spay and neuter: For many years the shelter has offered this service to the public, but this year it has partnered with TARA, a mobile spay neuter clinic, to increase exponentially the number of animals, especially cats, that can be neutered and thus control the proliferation of community cats.


Community cat management: Through an aggressive Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program and support for people who are managing feral cat colonies, DCSPCA is working with the Dutchess County Department of Health to address in a systematic way the significant problem of community cats in the county.


Pet retention: This year DCSPCA embarked on a new initiative to help keep pets in their homes. It has established field teams that will visit the home to address behavioral issues with dogs and cats and educate the owners on how best to work with their animals so that they do not have to give them up.


“The new vision for DCSPCA,” Meloccaro stated, “is not just as a warehouse for unwanted animals, but a community resource center to assist Dutchess County in caring for its animal population.”


Dutchess County Chairman T. Gregg Pulver, who was recently honored by DCSPCA with its 2020 Outstanding Commitment to the Welfare of Animals award for his work with animals and the development of the Animal Abuse Registry and Canine Tethering Laws for the county, adds, “The SPCA’s new leadership, under the direction of Executive Director Lynne Meloccaro, has established the highest standards for animal care and has rekindled the relationship with Dutchess County Government. I am proud to support their mission. They were an amazing partner in development of the Animal Abuse Registry and Canine Tethering Laws and we will continue to work together for the advancement of animal welfare in Dutchess and beyond.”


About the Dutchess County SPCA 

Established in 1871, the Dutchess County SPCA provides shelter and care to animals in need and secures permanent homes for adoptable pets. Driven by a mission to create a community in which all animals are treated with compassion and respect, the Dutchess County SPCA enforces humane law across the county and provides educational resources that help keep pets safe and thriving in their homes.

Home to an Adoption & Education Center, the Dutchess County SPCA Thrift Store and the DSCPCA Wellness Clinic, the Dutchess County SPCA is located at 636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park, NY. For more information, or to make a charitable financial contribution, please call (845) 452-SPCA (7722), visit www.dcspca.org, or follow the organization on social media (@DCSPCA).