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Tri-Lakes Humane Society celebrates 75th year

‘Home for the Holidays’ boasts lower $25 adoption fee

December 22, 2017
By GLYNIS HART - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - When it opened in 1942 it was called the Adirondack Animal Welfare Society. Seventy-five years and a few moves later, the Tri-Lakes Humane Society on LaPan Drive in Saranac Lake is still working to improve the lives of domestic animals and their owners.

If you're thinking of getting a pet, there's no time like the present. There are 15 dogs and 75 cats at the shelter. From now through the end of the year, the humane society is reducing its adoption fee to $25. It's part of the "Home for the Holidays" national campaign to bring pets and owners together in time for a Happy New Year.

"Basically, it's a laundromat, it's a hotel, and it's a restaurant. When people think animal shelter, they don't think of all these things, but that's what we do," said shelter director Lena Bombard.

Article Photos

A shelter cat demonstrates its willingness to help potential adopters with the paperwork at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society.
(News photo — Glynis Hart)

The animals' holiday wish list includes food, cleaning supplies, and laundry soap.

Five paid staff and a core group of 20 active volunteers keep the shelter running. There's a lot of cage cleaning to do, and the shelter cats, if they are amenable, get "free time" roaming outside their cages. Dogs need to be walked and played with, and every month some lucky animals go visit the Tupper Lake Nursing Home.

"We have a few outreach programs," said Bombard. "Last spring we went to Petrova Elementary and the Middle School with pets. The kindergarteners put together a slide show about the shelter.

"I've gone with Adirondacks High Peaks dog training clubs, we're teaching children how to be safe around dogs. We try to do as much as we can," said Bombard.

Outreach not only helps people enjoy contact with pets if their living situation won't allow them. It can help the animals, too. A recent inhabitant of the shelter, a hound mix dubbed "Madisyn" by shelter workers, used to go to the nursing home on the monthly visits.

"We didn't know her history," said Bombard. "But her visits to the nursing home made us think she must have lived with an elderly person before.

"Her visits to the nursing home prepared her to be around wheelchairs, medical equipment, and her behavior let me know she preferred elderly men. When the man who adopted her came into the shelter, as soon as he came in there was an instant connection. Now, her new owner walks her down by Lake Flower. It's great when we get to see them being happy in their new home."

The shelter maintains a very active Facebook page, posting photos of missing animals or found animals. Since 1998, it has had a no-kill policy. All pets are spayed, vaccinated, and tested for heartworm and leukemia, as well as microchipped.

"We're one of the only shelters that does that," said Bombard. "But the microchipping has really helped us, especially with cats because they don't often wear collars. It increases the number of owners we can find."

In addition to the Home for the Holidays special, Bombard reminds people that senior citizens can adopt a senior animal for free. "Senior pets are over 7 or 8 years old. They're mature, so they don't wreck the place. We've got a lot of lap cats looking for a nice warm lap. Families with kids can be too much for older animals, so we like to encourage seniors to get an older pet.

"It helps the humans as well, because living alone can make you depressed."

Although renters may feel they can't get a pet, Bombard encourages anyone wanting a pet to talk to their landlord.

"Sometimes the landlord is on the fence about it," she said. The shelter can provide a reference for the animal if there's a question about its temperament or its health.

"A lot of times, a landlord will say, 'I'm so glad you called,' " she said. She suggests renters look into getting renter's insurance. State Farm, for instance, will insure any breed of dog.

"If they know you're serious about it, and you're willing to invest in pet insurance, that helps, too." Bombard said paying a pet deposit, or a small additional fee on top of the rent can also help.

Finally, if you find an animal that seems to be abandoned, Bombard recommends turning it into the shelter. That's because there's no statute of limitations on missing animals, no cut-off date where a lost dog simply ceases to belong to its previous owner. Only the shelter can legally harbor a lost pet, and it then has the state's authority to say the owner has relinquished the pet after a period of 5 to 9 days.

"If no one comes for it, then you can apply to adopt it," she said. "We can't hold an animal indefinitely, but we try to be reasonable about it."

To help out the shelter, there are a number of easy things you can do. Donations are always welcome, as well as volunteers. You can also purchase raffle tickets up until Dec. 20. Winners will receive one of two prizes: Two round trip Cape Air tickets from Saranac Lake to Boston, or a Juniper Hill Farms Community Supported Agriculture share for 2018. Tickets are available at the Tri-Lakes Humane Society Office 255 George Lapan Memorial Highway, or call 518-891-0017 for other options.



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