Christina Novak, Communications and Development Coordinator of the Dutchess Country SPCA, visits the RadioRotary studio to describe the work of her organization, which is much more diverse than most persons realize. While the letters SPCA stand for Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, most people think of the Dutchess County SPCA largely in terms of pet adoptions (and they do handle this for all kinds of pets, including birds, rabbits, rats, and Guinea pigs, as well as dogs and cats), but there are many other services. A low-cost clinic, open to the public, provides routine veterinarian care for all sorts of pets. There is outreach to schools, humane law enforcement, a pet cemetery and crematorium, and a lost and found service. There is even a Pet Pantry, a food bank for pet food. Learn about this and more, as well as how to become one of the more than 200 volunteers that make the Dutchess SPCA work.
Although deaths from drunk driving have been reduced nationally in recent years, there are still 1,200 to 1,500 persons killed or injured by drunk drivers in the Hudson Valley each year. In 1981 Wappingers Falls Rotarian Nick Johnson and his wife Josephine, a severely damaged victim of a drunk driver, decided to do what they could to reduce the drunk-driving toll, starting Dutchess Country RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers), a chapter of RID-USA. On this program Mr. Johnson and RID volunteer Rich Silva describe tools used to keep intoxicated drivers from repeating their crime and ways that parents can reduce the risk that their children will be perpetrators or victims. They also describe the annual events that Dutchess RID sponsors as memorials to victims, as well as a fundraiser featuring antique automobiles.
Co-Hosts Jonah Triebwasser and Sarah O’Connell travel to the regular meeting of the Red Hook Rotary as it plans for the annual Red Hook Apple Blossom Festival, a village-wide celebration of the coming of summer that features food booths, sales in local stores, entertainment, political candidates, baby animals, face painting, balloons, and more. Red Hook Rotarians Susan Simon and Linda Greenblatt describe some of the highlights of the free festival, including the bands McKenna and the Stringmasters as well as a dance troupe. Also on the program Gail Wolf and Tim Lynch describe how the Rotary Youth Exchange program has changed the lives of both the high-school students who travel to distant lands to live with local families and the families that host them.
Deanna Mancuso tells the story of how her grandfather’s gift to her of an abused horse when she was 12, gradually led her create the Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue farm, which now hosts 43 formerly abused, neglected, or abandoned horses. Today these horses are not only living out the remainder of their lives (which can be as long as about 50 years), but also they are providing significant equine-assisted therapy to humans in need of help—it is people helping horses helping people. Dutchess County currently has a horse population of about 42,500 horses, but abused horses from all over the country are also welcomed to the Lucky Orphan’s farm. Volunteers, some of whom are doing community service, provide all the work on the farm.