Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Executive Director Stacie Haynes and Licensed Veterinary Technician Sara Haddad are taking a sponsored trip to Beirut, Lebanon this week to provide professional development to an animal advocacy group, Animals Lebanon. On their return, they will bring back up to 13 stray dogs rescued by the group after being found in distress.

Animals Lebanon, the sponsoring organization, is a nonprofit group that improves the welfare of animals through comprehensive national animal protection and welfare legislation. They provide nationwide public assistance for companion animals while rescuing and improving the conditions of captive endangered wildlife.

“Animals Lebanon is a volunteer project of Dr. David Chico, veterinarian for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets,” Haynes said. “He travels to Beirut and volunteers for them several times a year, providing medical care to animals and guidance to organizers.”

“I serve on the board of the New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF) and on a task force with Dr. Chico. The task force is working to develop legislation that will standardize animal shelter operations statewide,” she explained.

Haynes was recommended for the trip to assist Animals Lebanon by NYSAPF Executive Director Libby Post, whose organization advocates on behalf of New York’s animal shelters, humane societies and animal welfare groups.

“We will be bringing up to 13 dogs home to Otsego County. These dogs have a zero percent chance of getting adopted where they come from,” said Haynes. “This is not because of their health or behavior, but because culturally, dogs are not accepted into homes.”

“All of the dogs are friendly but they do have special needs,” added Haddad. “Most have been through a traumatic event – they have been beaten, shot or poisoned.”

The Susquehanna SPCA’s goal is to place these dogs directly into foster homes or into foster homes as quickly as possible. Between the prolonged transport and the stress of a new kennel, they may have a tough time adjusting otherwise.

“Taking the shelter out of the equation should help these dogs settle much more quickly,” Haynes said.

Interested individuals willing to foster should contact Rebecca Daly, Susquehanna SPCA Communications Coordinator, at (607) 547-8111, extension 100.

“We are honored to have been selected for this goodwill mission and are proud to share best practices we have learned and implemented here at the Susquehanna SPCA with an organization working toward the same goal on the other side of the world,” said Haynes.

“This is an opportunity we could not pass up, and a win-win for everyone. Sara and I are making this journey to share our expertise and we are returning with dogs that are very much in need, at no expense to the shelter,” she clarified.

To learn more about the Susquehanna SPCA and to view available animals, visit www.sqspca.org. For more information on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities, call (607) 547-8111.