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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Alissa Scott
Sam Hazelton, 10, hands Owen Sidlauskas, 3, a kitten the children named Zach during a check presentation at the Amsterdam Free Library Monday afternoon.

Alissa Scott
Ann Marie Bertuch of the Montgomery County SPCA accepts a check for $250 from Nicole Hemsley, director of the Amsterdam Free Library, Monday morning.


Donations help replace the donations that were stolen

Thursday, January 02, 2014 - Updated: 4:31 AM


For the C-S-E

When the Montgomery County SPCA was burglarized this past summer, story time regulars at the Amsterdam Free Library started filling a collection jug to help them out.

But then the library was burglarized, too.

After telling the city about the $75 worth of pennies and nickels that was lifted from the children's department floor, the community offered a hearty response -- allowing Nicole Hemsley, library director, to present the MCSPCA, Kitten Angels and Fur Friends Cat Rescue each with a check Monday morning.

"We had people from as far away as California who used to live in Amsterdam and read The Recorder online," Hemsley said. "Most of the money was anonymous, people would come in and just drop $100 checks off because the kids had worked so hard to try and help. So, we were able to give $250 to the SPCA and $250 to Kitten Angels and Fur Friends."

When Hemsley made the announcement, a crowd of about 20 children and their parents applauded.

"That's thanks to you guys and people in Amsterdam who love animals," Hemsley told the children who had been cracking open piggy banks and bringing in their spare change all summer.

Within the past two years, the cat rescue organizations have merged and said the money will be extremely beneficial to their growth.

"We'll be able to take in more kittens that are out there, more cats that are out there," Mary Lee Jawonski of Fur Friends said. "We can provide shelter, food, protection, getting them fixed and caring for them. We have a lot of cats that are in dire need that are out there injured. This will help us a great deal. It's so thoughtful."

Ann Marie Bertuch of the MCSPCA said the money will help out around the shelter. And every little bit helps.

"We run operations every day. It's the feeding, the vet bills, the staff, the heating," Bertuch said. "A lot of this will go to our new building fund, because we're trying to build a new shelter, but for our everyday operation, this is so helpful."

After Bertuch read the children a story called "Pablo Puppy's Search for a Perfect Person," Gina Kline, the city's animal control officer, stopped in to teach the children about the proper ways to approach animals.

"One of the things the library wanted me to talk to you about is dogs you see out on the street that you don't know who they belong to," Kline told the children. "If you see a dog running out loose, don't go up and get it. Don't call it. Go in and tell mommy or daddy or another adult and have them call me."

Because, she said, children don't know where the dog came from so they don't know if it's sick.

Kline also explained the correct way to pet dogs that are known to the child.

"When you pet a dog, you don't want to reach over their head," Kline said. "You always want to pet either on their neck or on their back. Then you can pet their head nice and calm."

Kline said it's important to start teaching children when they're young so they grow up knowing the proper way to handle pets. Then, she said, they'll pass it on to their younger siblings and eventually their children.

"Children who learn to respect animals at a young age teach other kids to respect animals," Kline said. "Kids are the biggest victims of dog bites, because they're right there."

Each of the agencies brought animals available for adoption, who all wandered the children's floor throughout the event.

"If you are thinking of [getting a pet] please think of adoption as your first option," Bertuch said. "We appreciate it and thank you so much to the little kids who think of us and our little furry friends."


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