The Finger Lakes Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Central New York in Auburn serves primarily Cayuga County, but that’s not a strict boundary.
“If we’re able to help someone even if they’re outside of Cayuga County, we will help them,” said Executive Director Nick Lapresi. “We’re here to serve the greater Finger Lakes.”
Lapresi, a Finger Lakes native, is someone who takes caring for animals seriously. He has worked in the animal care field for 15 years. He’s been in animal welfare, specifically, for the past 10.
“Back in 2019 I went back to school for Animal Welfare Management, and that has been absolutely wonderful,” Lapresi said. “I went to the University of the Pacific in California.”
Since Lapresi started in his new role this year, he’s been working to increase adoptions. And to increase the capacity for care and the number of animals they can help throughout the course of a year. He also hopes to raise money for what he says is an ailing facility.
“I have a two-year plan to fully renovate our kennels,” he explained. “We built them in 1954 and it’s time for them to retire. So I’m going to be ask the community to help us with those renovation projects to have something new, so that when animals are in our care they can feel comfortable. One of my big goals is also partnering with other non-profits to help more people in the community through different services that we can offer. Whether that being food pantry, working with people who are homeless to provide care and boarding to their pets. Really starting to look into working with other businesses and other organizations in the community.”
Adoption policies have changed recently. They’re more conversation-based, Lapresi explained. The person can come in, check out the animals, then have a conversation with an adoption counselors about what they’re looking for in a pet. Including talking about their lifestyle.
“We’re gonna go through and help you find the best pet for your household,” he explained. “It might not be that original first dog that you thought was the cutest. And I might say, this dog fits what you’re looking for a little better, would you like to meet him? Then have good conversations about proper Veterinary care is, proper exercise, and any questions you might have an as owner.”
They also just started what they call a sleep-over program.
“If people are a little unsure if this is the right one, we can do a short-term foster, slumber party-type style,” he said. “They can take that pet home for up to two weeks. See how they are, see if they fit your lifestyle. If that doesn’t work out, that’s OK. Because I gained more information to help me better find the perfect home for that animal as well. We’ve had very little animals come back. We do adoption follow-up calls as well.”
Removing judgement is an important part of Lapresi’s process.
“I have never in my 15 years met somebody who came in because they wanted to surrender their animal,” he said. “They were in a position that they had no other choice. So not only are you helping to give that animal a second chance, you are giving that person behind it the feeling that my animal is in a loving home and it is being cared for.”
There is a volunteer application on their website. More information about donations can be found here. Available animals are also listed on the website.
Rebecca is a veteran multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to [email protected].