SPCA seeks help refilling coffers to aid animals

Posted: March 8, 2014

The Winchester Star

Kennel attendant Brandin McDonald holds Francis, who is recuperating after being tested for a possible blood clot.
Local SPCA assistant Amber Ruckman (left) and director of operations Alicia Aston pose with shelter resident Blue, a pit bull that had surgery to correct a blocked urethra on Feb. 28. Money from the shelter's Fund for Suzie’s Friends, now depleted, helped to pay for the emergency surgery. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — The local SPCA chapter is seeking donations to replenish its fund that helps animals in emergency situations.

The Fund for Suzie’s Friends — created in 2012 and named after Suzie the beagle, who underwent expensive back surgery after being confiscated from a city home — is nearly depleted.

Through the fund, money is available immediately for emergency treatment for animals, and shelter officials do not need to take time to fundraise for it.

“This makes it much faster and easier,” said Alicia Aston, director of operations for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties. “It just enables us in emergency situations to say ‘Yes.’ And that’s what’s key.”

At one point, the fund had more than $10,000 — which recently went toward helping a 2-year-old pitbull named Blue and a female cat named Francis, estimated to be between 1 and 5.

Blue recently had surgery for a urinary blockage — a veterinarian’s bill that totaled $2,927. He will be on special food for the rest of his life, and Aston called him “incredible.”

A local student is placing cans in Posh Pets on Loudoun Street and various Anthony’s Pizza locations to collect donations for Blue.

Francis had to be seen by a cardiologist in Leesburg and two other veterinarians for a possible blood clot, the testing for which cost $1,000. Francis likely has an arrhythmia, but it will not restrict her activities.

Both animals are doing well and are ready for adoption.

Without Suzie’s Fund, money would have to come from the SPCA’s regular budget to treat emergency cases, which would likely mean that something else would have to be cut.

“I think Suzie’s Fund is an amazing opportunity for animals,” Aston said. “It’s something that isn’t everywhere. It’s something the community gives that helps their own animals, because these are animals from the community.”

The shelter has 46 cats and 13 dogs.

To donate to Suzie’s Fund or the shelter, visit www.winchesterspca.org or send a check to Winchester SPCA at 115 Featherbed Lane, Winchester, Va., 22601.

A foster recruitment event will be held today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 111 Featherbed Lane. Sick dogs and cats or those recovering from surgery will be seeking foster parents who can take care of them until they are adopted or can return to the shelter.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com