UTICA — Stevens-Swan Humane Society has officially been rebranded and renamed, Anita’s Stevens Swan Humane Society.
The move is part of larger efforts to boost the shelter’s capabilities and pull it out of a funding slump compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.
At a Tuesday announcement, Anita Vitullo, a local animal advocate whose name is now part of the Horatio Street shelter, discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the shelter’s fundraising efforts.
The inability to host in person fundraising caused a deficit of $500,000 that would typically be raised in a year’s time to apply toward the shelter’s annual $1.3 million operating budget.
Which, Vitullo said, supports so much.
“It’s very difficult day after day with the flood of animals,” she said, adding that in an average year, the shelter supports about 2,000 animals. On average, each animal costs about $650 to lodge and care for prior to adoption.
About 800 animals are adopted out each year.
To save the shelter from having to close its doors, Vitullo raised $2 million to help kickstart the Stevens-Swan Humane Society Fund at the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties for the sole benefit of the no-kill animal shelter.
This resulted in the shelter Board of Directors to rename the organization Anita’s Stevens Swan Humane Society.
On Tuesday, Vitullo said that along with the name change, the shelter has launched a new website, and is working on a $2 million fundraising campaign to help generate donations, among other changes to carry the organization into the future.
In the early 1900s, a collaboration began with the Utica American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Stevens Humane Society of Rome (founded by James Stevens), and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (founded by Gustavus Swan).
The purpose of the union was to work together to better serve both children and animals throughout Oneida County. The three societies officially merged in 1910 to become the Stevens-Swan Humane Society of Oneida County Inc.
For more information, visit: www.Anitas-SSHS.org.