FD and SPCA.jpgRepresentatives from the Jefferson County SPCA, Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes and the Fort Drum Resident Advisory Board celebrate the collaborative effort that resulted in a new military pet care program for Fort Drum community members. The check presentation June 29 coincided with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the surgical wing of the Jefferson County SPCA in Watertown. From left are Shaila Crowley, SPCA board member; Beth Augusta, SPCA board member; Janea Bartlett, SPCA medical director; Chris Altman, Fort Drum RAB president; Michelle Nichols, MCH community manager; Dean Harrison, MCH project director; and Allyssa Romeo, MCH property management director. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes partners with Jefferson County SPCA on military pet care program

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 30, 2023) – A new pet care program is available to Fort Drum service members and families, thanks to a partnership between Mountain Community Homes’ Resident Advisory Board (RAB) and the Jefferson County SPCA.

“This is a limited-time assistance program where active-duty service members and their dependents can receive either $50 off their pet’s spay or neuter, or a free microchip, at the Jefferson County SPCA,” said Dean Harrison, MCH project director. “The funds are donated by generous sponsors specifically to benefit service members and their families.”

Harrison said the program is available to both MCH residents and to qualifying service members living off post.

“The Fort Drum Resident Advisory Board and Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes want to promote responsible animal care and support our community in meeting local requirements to microchip pets,” he said. “When pets are microchipped, they are more easily returned to owners and are less likely to be abandoned. Spayed and neutered animals are less likely to escape from their owners, and they cannot breed if they escape.” 

The program launch coincides with the start of PCS (permanent change of station) season – the time of year when most Soldiers and families report to new duty stations.

“This gives them an additional incentive to check off pet care from their to-do lists,” said Chris Altman, RAB president.

According to MCH policy, cats and dogs are required to be vaccinated, registered, and microchipped within 45 days of taking residence on post. Pets must be registered with the Fort Drum Veterinary Treatment Facility.

When owners’ pets go missing or community members find a stray animal in the residential area, they are encouraged to call the Fort Drum Directorate of Emergency Services dispatch center at (315) 772-5156. Military police are dispatched with a pet scanner that can identify microchipped animals for a faster, safer return to their homes.

“The RAB wanted to help our community with this pet care initiative in an effort to help with the stray animal issue,” Altman said. “We live in a unique area with lengthy winters. If pets are microchipped, we have a better chance of getting an animal back to their owner faster, so they aren’t out in the winter conditions.”

Harrison said the new program does not offer discounts for pet adoption, rehoming, or foster care, but these are all areas where the RAB will work with community members to connect them with available resources, such as the PACT Military Foster Program, which assists with temporary pet care.

“SPCA and PACT are two organizations providing pet care services vital to our community members,” Harrison said. “We can be a part of the solution by raising awareness of these organizations and opportunities within our North Country and Mountain Community Homes communities.”

The pet care program was formally announced June 29 during the Jefferson County SPCA surgical wing ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The Jefferson County SPCA is a top-tier animal care facility where every animal is loved, pampered and has the best chance of joining a happy family,” Harrison said. “We’re lucky to have them supporting Fort Drum and the North Country.”

So far this year, the Jefferson County SPCA has reunited five pets with their families, facilitated 482 adoptions, spayed or neutered 65 dogs and 589 cats, and spayed or neutered 49 cats through the feral cat TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program.

Fort Drum community members who are interested in learning more about the new pet care program can contact their community center or call (315) 955-6800. To register for the program, visit the Jefferson County SPCA website at https://www.jeffersoncountyspca.org/vet-services.