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Muddy Paws for a Cause


Members of the Ithaca community gather for the 9th annual SPCA March for the Animals.

Tallulah poses for pictures with her owners Steven and Ashley. (Photo by Adriana Darcy/Ithaca Week)


The grey sky and scattered rain showers throughout the chilly Sunday morning did not deter Ithaca community members from marching with their dogs (and some cats) to raise awareness for the Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The ninth annual SPCA March for the Animals took place on Oct. 6th at the F.R. Newman Arboretum at the Cornell Botanical Gardens.

Members of the Ithaca community sign in for the March for the Animals. (Photo by Adriana Darcy/Ithaca Week)





The March for the Animals is an event where members of the community spend the weeks leading up to it fundraising for the medical care of animals at the SPCA and then come together to march around the arboretum.

While there were no adoptable animals at the event, attendees were encouraged to bring their own pets.

Jim Bouderau, executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA, said that as a not-for-profit organization, the SPCA receives the majority of its funds through donations from individuals, grants and local foundations.

The financial goal for this year’s event was to bring in between $75,000 and $100,000 through online fundraising, onsite donations and donations from corporate sponsors.

As chairperson for this year’s event, Debi Hoover helped to organize the event and raise money. She is also a volunteer on the development committee.

“It’s a lot of work to put on an event like this, so to come this day and see all of the wonderful people that support the SPCA […] it’s just fun to see it all culminate and everyone marching together for the same cause,” Hoover said.

Members of the Ithaca community march with their dogs around the F.R. Newman Arboretum. (Photo by Adriana Darcy/Ithaca Week)


Olivia King, an Ithaca College sophomore, attended the event with members of her sorority, Gamma Delta Pi. Although King is allergic she attended the event and fended off allergies by taking an allergy pill.

“I wanted to go anyway because the SPCA does a lot of good work for animals and I wanted to help support them,” King said. “My favorite pets were the three dogs dressed in bumble bee costumes.”

Hoover said she liked seeing the dogs and “knowing that you’re doing something good for the community.”

(From the left) Jack, Shadow and Pogo sit with their owners Priscilla and Mike, while wearing bee costumes. (Photo by Adriana Darcy/Ithaca Week)





The Tompkins County SPCA was founded in 1902 with the intention of protecting local farm animals. Over time the organization began working with companion animals as well and now also works with cruelty, abuse and abandonment investigations.

While the SPCA still works with farm animals, it does not house farm animals. Instead the SPCA works with a local horse rehabilitator and local farms, including the farm sanctuary in Watkins Glen.

The Tompkins County SPCA is the first open-admission, no-kill shelter in the United States. Open-admission shelters take in animals regardless of their previous situation.

“Knowing that you’re a part of helping fur-babies find their forever home is just very, very rewarding,” Hoover said.

Featured Image by Adriana Darcy/Ithaca Week.

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