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Fayette Town Board finds SPCA Legal

The Fayette Town Board has determined that the Seneca County Seneca County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is operating legally at this time, reversing allegations made against the group by representatives of the town’s planning board.According to Steven Getman, attorney for the SPCA, the Fayette Town Board met with their lawyer on Thursday (May 14) and found that the facility was “grandfathered” under the current town code and, therefore, can continue to operate within the Town.Jenny McWhorter, President of the SPCA, said she was “ecstatic” when she received the news.“This is such a load off of our minds,” she said. “We were worried that the outstanding zoning issue would hurt our mission and damage our fundraising.”McWhorter said she was very grateful to Town Supervisor Edward Barto and Town Attorney Stephen Ricci for agreeing to review the matter with Getman.“I am writing a big thank you note to Mr. Barto and Mr. Ricci even as we speak,” she said.Getman was also happy with the Board’s decision.“It was always our position that the shelter was operating legally,” he said. “Not only was it there before the current town zoning code was adopted, but, as a duly incorporated SPCA, it served a valid public purpose in promoting animal welfare.”McWhorter has operated the Not for Profit Corporation at 4438 County Road 121 for the past six years. The property is owned by her partner, Stephen Webb. It was not until November 2008 that Fayette Planning Board chairman and Town Highway Superintendent Roswell Parks told her that the shelter was in violation of the new zoning law, McWhorter said.Sometime thereafter, the SPCA contacted Getman, who agreed to represent the organization on a pro bono basis.The SPCA is a recognized animal welfare organization operating under New York State Law. Operating on donations, the group shelters adoptable animals and investigates cases of animal cruelty. Its Humane Law Enforcement Officers are all volunteers with NYS Law Enforcement backgrounds or NYS Peace Officer certification and Animal Cruelty/Investigation training. All SPCA staff are volunteers.

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