AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Back in August, NewsChannel 9 covered Finger Lakes SPCA of CNY’s urgent need for donations, as they needed to raise $80,000 for their Capitol Campaign by the last day of 2023.

Now, it’s just half of what they need to raise, as they really need to make $160,000, but thankfully a local foundation in the county is here to help. They said would match the second $80,000 if the Finger Lakes SPCA of CNY made their goal by Dec. 31, 2023.

If they don’t, Cayuga County loses their only animal shelter.

NewsChannel 9’s coverage of their situation did well for the shelter at first, but quickly became a problem.

“We only had two pieces of mail that came through for the entire week,” said Nick Lapresi, the Director of the Finger Lakes SPCA of CNY. “This is not the regular amount of mail that we get.”

With an outpouring response from the community over the shelter’s need, Lapresi questioned why there was so little in their mailbox.

“And then I got a call,” said Lapresi.

A local business about 10 miles away in Weedsport reached out to the shelter. They explained that an employee had found the shelter’s mail in their lawn, and it was opened.

So, Lapresi did the only logical thing, he checked their cameras.

“At that point it was very clear to me, based on the evidence, that someone had been targeting our mailbox expecting donations to come in,” Lapresi explained.

That’s when he had to involve the postal service and local law enforcement.

The police told Lapresi that there had been mail stealing going on in the area. And unfortunately, they still haven’t caught those who are responsible.

As for the donations given to the shelter, Lapresi said, “Unfortunately, I think that was a good portion of donations we thought were going to come in from the news segment.”

The suspects took outgoing mail from their box too.

Lapresi described the situation as “deflating” for the shelter. “There was no real way for us to know who sent us a donation, as it never got here,” he said.

After the mail had been stolen, some people called asking why the SPCA never cashed their check. So, Lapresi was able to explain the upsetting situation to them.

Since the theft, the shelter has added a secure lockbox onto their mailbox.

In terms of other forms of donating, Lapresi says the shelter has received money from people out of state who caught wind of the segment.

The Finger Lakes SPCA has only made abut $20,000 so far, leaving them $60,000 shy of their goal, and there’s only a few months left before Dec. 31, 2023.

“I’m optimistic,” said Lapresi. He is hoping they will reach their goal before time is up.

How you can donate

  • Online: You can do so HERE
    • Specify the donation is for the “Capitol Campaign.”
  • Check: The shelter asks that you specify in the memo that your donation is for the Capitol Campaign. You can send in cash and or a check to the shelter, or stop by if you want to hand in the money.
    • Their address is 41 York St, Auburn, N.Y. 13021