#SPCACompassionInAction: Saving Animals’ Lives

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Cat Adoption Special:
Monday, Jan. 16 – Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023
SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location ONLY!

Cats 2 years & older: Name Your Own Adoption Price!

See cats available for adoption here >>

New York State Attorney General Letitia James requires Bell Pet (The Pet Zone) to pay restitution of up to $200,000 to consumers forced to pay expensive medical bills after unknowingly purchasing ill pets. To read the full story, click the image below:

Tonawanda Man Saves Dog From Ellicott Creek; After Treatment at SPCA, Dog Reunited With Owner

January 6, 2023
BY: SPCA Social Media Coordinator Jillian LeBlanc

#SPCACompassionInAction –All the best stories have happy endings, and this story is no exception!

Rufus arrives, shivering, at the SPCA

Earlier today, Town of Tonawanda resident Jim Skoney was driving down Ellicott Creek Road in Tonawanda when he noticed three cars were parked along the creek, with people standing near the edge of the water. Jim stopped to see what was happening and noticed a small dog was struggling in the water, head bobbing up and down.

Jim says he did “what anyone would have done,” but it was much more than that. Jim laid down on the steep bank of the creek as one onlooker held onto his legs, ensuring Jim himself didn’t plunge into the water, and did everything he could to rescue the dog. As the current started pulling the dog out of reach, Jim said, “I called to him and he suddenly turned his head and tried swimming against the current. He made every attempt to stay above water, swimming in my direction, but he was repeatedly going underwater and rapidly losing energy.”

The SPCA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allison Kean

Just as it seemed the dog would go under without the energy to swim up, Jim was able to grasp him by the neck and pull him back to shore. Once back to safety, Jim wrapped the dog in his coat to keep him warm and cranked up the heat in his car. Jim knew he needed to get the dog to a veterinarian quickly. After a local veterinary clinic refused treatment because there was no owner to pay veterinary bills, Jim brought the dog to the SPCA Serving Erie County to ensure he survived.

And survive he did.

The SPCA’s Sally Budik covers Rufus as rescuer Jim gets a little kiss

When Jim arrived, the shivering, senior dog (who we now know is named Rufus!) was rushed straight to our infirmary, where our incredible veterinary team, led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allison Kean, made sure he was healthy and warm. While the veterinary team worked on Rufus, Admissions staff contacted local animal control facilities. Admissions counselor Shannon shared word of the dog with Tonawanda representatives and was quickly called back with news of a possible owner who works for the town!

Joe, Rufus’ owner, shared with us that the fence in his backyard was knocked down during the Blizzard of 2022. Wood was put up to patch the hole and keep Rufus from escaping. Unknowingly, the wood fell. Rufus, who is 18 ½ years old, deaf, and blind, somehow slipped out of the opening and eventually found his way to the creek. The rest of the story is history.

Reunited, and it feels so good! Dr. Kean brings Rufus to his dad, Joe, before introducing Joe to rescuer Jim, right.

Jim doesn’t believe he is a hero, but we do. He saved Rufus from drowning and brought him to safety.

Now, Rufus is back home, safe in his bed because of Jim’s heroic effort and our veterinary team’s diligent work (along with our donors, who ensure these life-saving efforts keep happening for the animals who need us most). This display of compassion would in no way be possible if not for Jim’s bravery. Please join us in celebrating this local hero!

Rufus, held by dad Joe, can’t wait to get home! (SPCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allison Kean, middle, and reluctant hero of the day, rescuer Jim, right)

YOU can help make life-saving work at the SPCA possible >>

The SPCA/Erie County Sheriffs’ PUPS AT THE PEN Program Returns to Erie County

MORO is the first dog to graduate after receiving eight weeks of intensive training by female inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility

January 5, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Moro the dog prepares for his big Pups at the Pen graduation at the Erie County Correctional Facility Jan. 3, 2023

#SPCACompassionInAction — After almost three years on COVID hiatus, PUPS AT THE PEN, created by the SPCA Serving Erie County and the Erie County Sheriffs Office (ECSO), has returned to Erie County!

The program, originally started in July of 2016, established a partnership between the two organizations that, according to an ECSO press release, “…will bring new hope for inmates and sheltered dogs.” This program pairs selected female inmates with adoption candidates for several weeks.  During this time the inmates train the dogs, help with socialization skills, and provide care and attention throughout the program. The dogs live with the inmates in the housing area and the teams utilize parts of the facility for training, socializing, and recreation.

Eight weeks ago, Moro, a two-year-old dog surrendered to the SPCA in August, 2022 who staff felt would benefit from a higher level of training, began his in-depth behavior program at the correctional facility. There, he received not only behavior lessons but care, socialization, love, and attention from a loyal team of individuals committed to teaching this sweet dog new skills.

Moro passed his intensive training courses with flying colors and graduated with honors in a ceremony held at the Erie County Correctional Facility January 3. To ease Moro’s transition and keep his stress level low, Moro will be available for adoption not at the SPCA but at the home of a dedicated foster care volunteer. Those interested in meeting Moro for possible adoption can call the SPCA’s Behavior Department at
(716) 875-7360, ext. 268.

While his trainers taught Moro skills to prepare for his new life, they were learning lessons to prepare for their new lives. In fact, the trainers were so impacted by this program that at the graduation, SPCA representatives received this heartfelt letter signed by four of Moro’s teachers:

See coverage of yesterday’s emotional graduation ceremony on WKBW-TV Ch. 7
here >>

Since the program’s inception, more than 70 dogs trained by inmates have graduated and been adopted, one by Erie County Chief of Community Reintegration Tom Diina himself (see that story
here >>) ! In fact, in April of 2017, the first dog adoption that took place at the SPCA’s then-new 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location was a dog named Jed, a Pups at the Pen grad, who was adopted by his correctional facility trainer Mercedes (see that story here >>) !

Keep watching YourSPCA.org for news on the next dogs heading to the Erie County Correctional Facility later this month.



January 3, 2023
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

After higher-than-average temps throughout November, winter arrived with a vengeance in Buffalo and surrounding areas. This season is different from pre-COVID winters, however, in that it’s a little more complicated to receive emergency veterinary care, as many veterinary clinics (including the low-cost Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA) are dealing with smaller work forces. Plan ahead for the upcoming snowy days and nights now to ensure your pets stay safe and healthy today and throughout the winter months. Read on for some of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s winter pet safety tips.

*OUTDOOR ANIMAL SHELTER MUST BE SUITABLE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER: …and if it’s not, animal welfare officers can rescue the pet even before he or she shows signs of suffering, thanks to New York State’s Shelter Law that went into effect in 2003. Thanks to a legislative push in late 2018 that led to stronger laws concerning the tethering of dogs within Buffalo city limits, the SPCA and other law enforcement organizations can now take even more steps to ensure dogs are protected from the elements.

* Keep a Tight Leash:
Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Pets can lose their scent on snow and ice, especially if snow is falling at a fast rate, and your pet can easily lose his sense of direction. Pets may also panic during a snowstorm and run away; many pets are lost during the winter months. Remember to keep current identification on your pet at all times!

*Keep Pets At Home: Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your pet could literally freeze to death.

*Always Dry Pet’s Wet Feet: Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s legs and stomach when she comes in and out of the rain, snow or ice. Check her sensitive foot pads, which may be bleeding from snow or ice encrusted in them. Your pet may also pick up salt and other chemicals on her feet accidentally. These chemicals could hurt her if she swallows them while licking her feet.

*Lay Straw for Dogs’ Visits Outdoors: Can’t get your dog to wear booties? Lay straw on top of snow for trips outdoors by dogs reluctant to step out onto a freezing surface to relieve themselves.

*Check Cars for Cats: During the winter, stray or neglected cats outdoors sometimes sleep under the hood of the car where it’s warm and comfortable. If you start the motor, cats could get caught in or flung about by the fan belt, causing serious injury or death. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood and sides of your car before turning on the ignition to give the cat a chance to escape.

*Keep Outdoor Sessions Short: Take your dog outside only for as long as it takes for him to relieve himself. Dogs, particularly small, short-haired breeds like Chihuahuas and terriers, suffer from the cold despite their seemingly warm fur coats. Live within Buffalo city limits? Don’t forget Buffalo’s new laws pertaining to tethering dogs in inclement weather.

*Bathe Pets Only When Necessary: Your pet runs the chance of catching a cold when wet, especially in cold weather. If you absolutely must bathe your pet, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian.

*Keep Pets Warm: Limit the clipping of your pet’s hair in the cold winter months, keeping your pet as warm as possible. Brush your pet daily in lieu of clipping to keep your pet’s coat healthy, shiny, clean and mat-free. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep far away from outside drafts.

*Hungry Pets: Speak to your veterinarian about increasing your pet’s supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy through the winter months. Inquire about vitamin and oil supplements.

*ANTIFREEZE IS POISON TO PETS: ANTIFREEZE, EVEN IN SMALL DOSES, IS A LETHAL POISON FOR DOGS AND CATS! Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to clean up spills thoroughly, and consider switching to an animal-friendly antifreeze. Ensure that, if you store Antifreeze in a garage, shed, or other places accessible to your pets, it is well out of pets’ reach.

If your pet becomes lost, be sure to visit YourSPCA.org’s Lost and Found page for recommendations on where to post lost pet listings, and tips for finding your lost pets.

For more tips regarding keeping pets safe and healthy during the winter, please contact your veterinarian.



It’s a Win for Animals Throughout NYS! Governor Kathy Hochul Signs the “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill Into Law!

December 16, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County joins animal welfare organizations throughout New York State in sharing the exciting news that Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law! Read the full story here >>

“New York State will no longer allow brutally inhumane puppy mills around the country to supply our pet stores and earn a profit off animal cruelty and unsuspecting consumers,” said New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal. “By ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to partner with these stores to showcase adoptable animals and place them into forever homes.”

The SPCA Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, donors, and friends commend Governor Hochul for protecting the animals of our state while helping animal welfare agencies showcase animals in need of new families!


New York State Legislature Joins Senate in Passing Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline; Bill Now Awaits Signature from Governor Kathy Hochul

June 6, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

UPDATE, December 2 — The SPCA Serving Erie County continues to ask for increased support from the community in urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law. It’s important that this bill is signed before the end of the year. In an article on ASPCA.org, details are as follows:
“ASAP—call the Governor’s office at (518) 474-8390, ext. 3, and say: ‘Hello. I am a resident of New York, and I am calling to ask Governor Hochul to please sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill into law.’ ”

In that ASPCA.org article, you will also find a pre-drafted email form to submit to the Governor at the touch of a button.

Your support in this matter is of utmost importance! Please act quickly!

UPDATE, August 16 — The SPCA Serving Erie County asks for increased support from the community in urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law.

In a press release issued earlier this year by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), New York State Director for the HSUS Brian Shapiro said, “New York’s remaining pet stores are joined at the hip with puppy mills. This long-overdue legislation seeks to protect our state’s consumers and companion animals from the scourge of puppy mill cruelty. We applaud [sponsoring legislators] for championing this game-changing bill and for their tireless work aimed at shutting down the horrible puppy mill-to-New York pipeline.”

Your voice matters. Urge Governor Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law, and help stop puppy mills in New York State today!

Ask Gov. Hochul to stop NYS puppy mills >>

The “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” bill passed in the New York State Legislature on June 3, 2022! 

The bill passed in the New York State Senate on July 21, 2020 (see full story below) and strengthened protection on May 10, 2022 (info here >> ).

That means it will now be placed in front of Governor Kathy Hochul to sign into law.

If the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill becomes a law, third-party retailers, such as pet stores, will have one year to strategize acquisition of dogs, cats, and rabbits from animal shelters and rescues rather than from sources that could include barbaric puppy mill breeding industries. The SPCA Serving Erie County joins other state animal welfare organizations in thanking NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYS Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal for their efforts in furthering the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill.  Read the full story on PRNewswire.com >>

See this story on WGRZ-TV >>

New York State Senate Passes “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill; Community Members Asked to Contact Assembly Members

July 22, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On Tuesday, July 21, the New York State Senate passed S.4234-A (Gianaris), the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill.

Now, the SPCA Serving Erie County joins the New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF) in asking members of the community to take action in encouraging the Assembly to pass this important piece of legislation.

The Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill was one of the top legislative initiatives on the New York State Animal Protection Federation’s (NYSAPF) 2020 Humane Agenda.

From https://nysapf.org/legislation:
“Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline (A6298-A Rosenthal/S4234-A Gianaris): This bill would stop the puppy mill pipeline into New York State. Instead of selling animals (puppies, kittens and rabbits) that come from breeding factories, pet stores would have the opportunity to rebrand as humane businesses and host shelter and rescue adoption events. In 2018, pet owners across the globe spent over $72.5 billion on their animals. It is estimated that only 2% of those sales are for puppies, kittens and rabbits from mills. It is time for New York to say no to these mills which are actual factories. In the case of puppies, female dogs are placed in cages day in and day out purely to breed. They are impregnated. They deliver. Within weeks, they’re impregnated again. When they are no longer “of use” to the puppy mill, they are usually euthanized.”

More information on the passing of this bill >>

Visit the NYSAPF Action Center to find an automated email form that you can send to your Assembly member urging him or her to bring A6298-A to the Assembly floor for a vote right here >> 

For more information on this and other NYSAPF legislative initiatives, visit the organization’s Legislation page here.

The information for this article was provided by the New York State Animal Protection Federation.



Celebrity Tree Lighters at ‘Lights of Love’ Radiothon Kick-Off!

See today’s tree lighting ceremony >>

December 2, 2022 — The Rockefeller Center tree has NOTHING on the trees at the SPCA Serving Erie County!

It was a festive afternoon at the SPCA as the Lights of Love trees were officially lit! The tree lighting kicks off the Radiothon season at the SPCA!

Radiothon hosts Rob Lucas (Star 102.5), Susan Rose (Newsradio 930 WBEN), and Liz Mantel (The Wolf 107.7/104.7) were on hand to help us celebrate and officially set the trees aglow! 

Special thanks goes out to Northtown Garden Center for a special discount they gave us on the trees this year! You can purchase one light or a string of lights in memory or in honor of a special person or pet and have your light(s) displayed on the trees! Learn more here >>

Lights of Love >>

We also send a special thanks to our friends at Just Say Cheesecake, 106 Webster St. in North Tonawanda, for donating the delicious cake to help us celebrate today!

None of this would be possible without the folks at Newsradio 930 WBEN, Star 102.5, and The Wolf 107.7/104.7. This year marks the 20th year of the SPCA Radiothon! Since 2002, WBEN and Star 102.5 have donated this important fundraiser to the SPCA, and last year Buffalo’s New Country, The Wolf joined the Radiothon team. 

The Radiothon will take place Thursday, Dec. 8, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. on all three stations! Find amazing Radiothon stories, learn more about how you can get involved, how you can make your Radiothon gift, and about our Radiothon adoption specials right here >>

Radiothon 2022 >>








See this story on WBEN >>

— Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer


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