Thursday, April 30, 2009

DPVHS Buys MSPCA Springfield Building

When the MSPCA closed its Western New England facility in Springfield on March 31st an enormous void was left in relation to the future care and welfare of homeless animals. The nearly 7,000 animals received each year by that adoption center would no longer have a place to go.

I know from speaking to many of our DPVHS friends and volunteers that you shared my concern about what this closure might mean for the animals and people in our communities. For the past few months, we have been working with other agencies, exploring the best approach to ensure that no animal in need will be left without shelter and no person will be left without a place to turn.

DPVHS has been working and saving toward the building of a new facility to meet our growing needs and consolidate our efforts to help the animals of Hampshire and Franklin counties. However, with the close of the MSPCA, we needed to rethink our planning process to include the animals of Hampden county.

We chose to see the unfortunate departure of the MSPCA as an opportunity to help animals and their people on a much broader scale, bringing DPVHS’s innovative programming to a new set of communities, not just expanding our scope geographically, but also increasing services and outreach with a goal of helping more animals in need.

The MSPCA has generously worked with DPVHS to continue to meet the needs of animals and the people who care about them in western MA. While still owing a multi-million dollar debt on the building, the MSPCA accepted an offer of $1.2 million dollars to purchase the Union Street property.

The purpose-built facility at 171 Union Street in Springfield holds the promise of being able to bring DPVHS’s ideas about sheltering and preventing animal homelessness forward. In addition to our adoption and humane education programs, we will be able to provide a high-volume, low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter clinic to serve our own sheltered animals, as well as those in shelters in surrounding communities. This clinic will also assist low-income members of our communities in western Massachusetts with their own pets while serving even more dogs and feral cats than we are currently able to help through our existing mobile clinic or voucher programs. In addition, there is ample room to expand our cat areas to create beautiful and bright colony rooms, thereby reducing stress while increasing feline adoptions.

We hope to close on the building by the end of May. Although our administrative offices will move to Springfield, our adoption center in Leverett will remain open to serve the communities in the northern parts of our region. We plan to close our center in Greenfield at the end of June, transferring the rescue and rehabilitation function of this building to Springfield.

We anticipate a Grand Opening celebration of the new DPVHS animal care and adoption center in Springfield on Saturday, August 1st! Stay tuned for more information about a series of friend- and fundraising events being planned for the interim.

You are an important part of the success of DPVHS. You have helped us help animals, deliver programs to people in need, and given me the inspiration to continue to work for a brighter future—a future we hope you’ll embark on with us.


  1. great news BUT is Dakin going to become a OPEN ADMISSION facility versus the limited admission facility it is now? This community in Springfield is in desperate need of an OPEN Admission facility such as MSPCA was. For Dakin truly to fill the need of this community, they need to become an OPEN ADMISSION facility and take in small animals and birds. I certainly hope that is the plan.

  2. DPVHS plans to open the doors to the Springfield shelter to all animals...with the goal of creating a community where no adoptable animal or animal who could be rehabilitated will die for lack of a home.

    In order to achieve this goal, we will need the help of our entire community--including those who love small animals and birds. We appreciate your support!


  3. Leslie,

    I admire the courage and commitment it is, and will, take for the Dakin to take on this effort. I am very grateful and realize how needed the services are in the Springfield area. Please let me know if I can help in some way.

    Tina Stevens

  4. Congratulations DPVHS! And thanks for posting the detailed press release and FAQ. I think this is a great day for animals and advocates in Western MA. And your scheduled grand opening falls on my birthday, so how can I NOT be excited? ;)

  5. As someone who works in one of Springfield's worst neighborhoods, and sees stray animals on an almost daily basis, I want to thank you for helping restore service to this community, which so desperately needs it.

    Please look over at today's Recorder comments as many Greenfield residents are confused about the implications of closing the center there. Can you please articulate more about how this may change service in Franklin County?

  6. What I would like to know, will the new Dakin Shelter take in any animal, weather it is in need of medical attention or not? Will you reopen the aviary up to take in the homeless or lost birds? What about the "critter" room, will that be used to house gerbils, rabbits and such as the old MSPCA did? It's a great move for Springfield, but what I am asking is, would turn away a pet in need?

  7. Yes, we will be taking in "other" animals. In fact, DPVHS has already begun admitting animals other than cats and dogs into our Leverett adoption center. We successfully placed a team of ferrets (see below) and have even received our first guinea pig. We'll be happy to have more room for better housing for them in the Springfield building!

    Our FAQ's should be updated very soon to help people understand our position on our plans for admitting animals.


  8. In regards to Franklin county service: We absolutely agree that service must be maintained in Franklin county. Many Franklin county citizens live in remote locations and the poverty rate there is quite high. Here is how we plan to continue to serve Franklin county:

    *We will keep the shelter in Leverett open. Leverett is in Franklin county, very near the Hampshire county line. Although Leverett currently only performs adoptions, with the closure of the Greenfield shelter, we'll make arrangements for people from Franklin county to surrender animals.

    *We will continue to provide low-cost sterilization services to Franklin county including a transport service associated with the high-volume clinic we are planning for 2010.

    *Adoptable animals will still be available in our Leverett shelter.

    As a Franklin county resident (I live in Conway), I understand the importance of maintaining service to the northern valley. At the same time, we need to be realistic about our ability to maintain and sustain facilities and make the best decisions about how to use our limited resources on behalf of animals.

    I am always happy to hear new ideas or answer questions!


  9. I was so excited to hear that DPVHS will be stepping in to fill the void left by MSPCA's departure. It will be a huge task, but will be a great service to western MA. I do hope that euthanasia of animals will be the rare exception. I worry about the pit bull problem in the Springfield area. These dogs have so many misperceptions stacked against them and I hope the issue does not result in a skewing of DPVHS's mission. As an adoptive "parent" of two Dakin alum and a former volunteer, I hope to contribute to the success of DPVHS going forward. All the best.

  10. I am so happy that the void left by MSPCA is going to be filled. I was a long time financial supporter of MSPCA and will transfer that support to DPVHS. I am going to do a photo day event in conjunction with the New England Canine Rehabiliation and Fitness Center on June 28 at their East Longmeadow facility. 100% of the sitting fees and 5% of all print sales will be donated to DPVHS. I hope that this will be only he first of many events that will help support your operations.