The director of Jefferson County SPCA says it's one of the most significant gifts the organization has ever received. It comes after a decade of the shelter trying to figure out how to expand. The Petco store in Watertown is building an in-store adoption center for the SPCA. It will be big enough to house 50 animals and as our Brian Dwyer reports, Petco is even picking up the cost of taking care of the animals.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Out of a thousand Petco stores nationwide, only eight have one. Watertown's will be number nine. An in-store adoption center for the local SPCA, in this case, Jefferson County.
"This is such a leap and bound opportunity for us, it's mind-boggling for everybody. It's just fantastic," SPCA Board of Trustees President Beth Augustus said.
For the better part of this century, the SPCA has tried every way possible to raise money for an expansion. The shelter was overcrowded and the building itself was worn down.
But behind the scenes, the manager of the Watertown Petco, Heather Roux, who volunteers at the center, was working to secure a rare opportunity to have Petco build one inside the store. It took a couple of years, but in December, Petco will house the $300,000,1,100 square foot adoption center. It's going to be big enough for 30 cats, four dogs and numerous smaller animals. There will even be a play center for the animals to meet families.
"It really just tugged at my heart," Roux said. "I thought what a great way. So I thought why not. I tried and here we are."
"I don't know and I don't want to know Brian, just how much it costs for a square foot in this environment, but I know it's not little," SPCA Director Doug Marlow said.
But it's not just the $300,000 in construction costs or the 1,100 square feet of retail space that Petco is giving up, but the company is also donating $2,500 a month to the SPCA to make sure the animals here are taken care of.
"That will pay for cleaning supplies, food, litter, treats and will also help furnish certain rooms," Roux added.
But Petco isn't picking up the entire cost. The SPCA will be on the hook for the lease. The cost will be a whopping one dollar a year.
The SPCA says spreading out the animals, especially the cats, will prevent stress related illness.
There's also plans to use iPads to connect the two sites, so if people are at Petco, but want to see what's at the SPCA, or vice versa, people can do it without having to make the extra trip.