Ulster County SPCA Executive Director Gina Carbonari began her animal rescue work over 16 years ago. At the time, she was stationed in North Carolina on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, and she began raising a dog that she got from a local shelter. In Carbonari’s words, “They’re like potato chips, you just can’t have them.”
After her time in the military, Carbonari arrived in the Hudson Valley and started her own business after becoming a certified dog groomer and trainer. Now, as Executive Director of the Ulster County SPCA, she continues to inspire many with her dedication not only to animals, but to the people who care about them – a remarkable record that has earned the SPCA a Timeline in the Animal Welfare Organization category and Carbonari a second prize in the Animal Welfare Advocate/Activist category.
Carbonari and the UCSPCA go beyond providing a safe place for the animals of the region, they touch the life of the whole community. “Every animal that comes here has a human attached to it,” Carbonari says. “A pet that comes here because of economic issues, housing issues, there’s a human going through the exact same thing.”
Carbonari shares that her favorite thing about working at the SPCA is “seeing the possibility of keeping animals in their homes, which is a huge change in animal welfare over the past few years.” The UCSPCA works to resolve issues with members of the community, whenever possible, striving to keep beloved pets in their homes, even in difficult situations. When someone is upset by a medical bill, behavioral issues, or other common stressors for pet owners, Carbonari and his team use their resources to resolve any possible issues and, as a last resort, offer a safe haven for animals in need of housing.