SPCA Summer Camp Offers Three Active Options for 2020

July 7, 2020
By:  SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s annual Summer Camp program has been modified to keep kids active and entertained while remaining safe, healthy, and distant!

Three different camp options will be offered this summer:
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH!
KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks is a non-interactive kindness camp experience providing children with fun, engaging, hands-on activities and games that can be enjoyed at their convenience. Backpacks include one week’s worth of materials and instructions needed for the themed activities, art projects, educational handouts, and fun swag items…all children will need are safe scissors, glue, and a table cover for messy projects! There are three backpack themes available for $30 per backpack for children ages 5-12 and 12-15. See more on backpacks and register for your child’s backpack here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! is a kindness camp with backpack projects that take place in the child’s home and yard, but the backpacks also go “off-leash” with some interactive, virtual experiences! Each day, 30-60-minute live, virtual interactions with people and animals will take place; campers will virtually meet different animals, participate in interactive games and activities, and learn lots of new things! Also included are on-demand videos, and additional, downloadable activity sheets! Themes, age ranges, dates, and costs vary; see more about KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience is a veterinary camp series for children who love animals and are interested in exploring a career as a veterinarian! Campers will learn what it takes to be a veterinarian through a combination of live virtual content and fun activities, plus enjoy a take-home kit of materials. They will learn how to check a pet’s vital signs, discover what heartworms are, watch an animal exam, observe a neuter surgery, and so much more. Both live, virtual experiences, Introduction to Veterinary Science and Advanced Veterinary Science, are open to children ages 9-14 and cost $120. More information, dates, and registration are available here.

All backpacks and materials have been handled by healthy staff members at the SPCA who were wearing gloves and masks. All materials have been thoroughly disinfected.  Backpacks are available via curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping.

To find more information on all three types of camp experiences and to register your child for one camp or all three types of camps, please visit our all new SPCA Kindness Camp page here.

The SPCA Serving Erie County has revised its COVID-19 phase adoption policies. This new policy was put into effect July 6, 2020. Please note, while we are waiving the need for adoption appointments for cats and small animals at this time, we may revert to adoption appointments for these animals again in the future. The current adoption policy is as follows:

THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WHEN YOU DECIDED TO BRING HOME A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!

FOR YOUR PROTECTION AND OURS, THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WILL REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH OCCUPANCY GUIDELINES DURING OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE PHASE.  FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED!

-Except for cats, bunnies, & other small animal adoptions, an adoption appointment is required to enter the Adoptions Lobby.

-To make an adoption appointment for any type of animal besides cats, bunnies, and other small animals, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 207. Please understand it may take up to 48 business hours to receive a return call. With the exception of required “meet and greets” with pets at home, animals cannot be placed on hold.

-Beginning July 6, it is not necessary to make an adoption appointment for cats, bunnies, and other small animals ONLY. This may change at any time, and we may revert to appointment adoptions for cats/small animals.

-Upon entering the building, it is imperative that you sign in with contact information. We require the name of every guest in your party, including children, for tracing purposes.

-Three people will be allowed per guest pass in the cat room or small animal areas, which means only 3 family members or friends should come together to the SPCA to adopt. Please remember if you are planning to adopt a cat/small animal, only three people per party will be allowed on each guest pass.

-Five families (5 guest passes) will be allowed in the cat/small animal adoption areas at any given time.

-Each guest pass allows a family one hour in the cat/small animal adoption areas to help accommodate all potential adopters and increase the number of animals who find homes each day. (Please note: time limits with adoptable animals are only being enforced during our COVID-19 Response phase. Normally, we encourage visitors to spend as long as possible with an animal prior to adoption!)

-If you are here to adopt a cat, bunny, or other small animal and the maximum number of people are present in the cat/small animal rooms, you have the opportunity to wait in a small overflow area in our lobby or, if you prefer not to wait there or if that area is filled, outdoors. Your sign-in information determines the order of admission into the building. If you choose to wait outdoors, we will call you on your mobile phone when it is your turn to visit!

-Wait times will vary depending on shelter population, so please plan accordingly. Traditionally, the busiest adoption day is Saturday, so if you plan to visit Saturday, please allow yourself enough wait time and understand the cat/small animal visitation 1-hour time limit described above.

-Adoption hours remain 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The final appointment(s) for adoption will be made at 3 p.m. Our final group of potential adopters will be allowed in adoption areas one hour prior to closing.

-We may not be able to accommodate everyone on any given day. Depending on the number of people who have arrived at the shelter before you, it is possible you will not be able to see animals on the day you visit. Believe us, we don’t like it either. We’re in the business of placing these animals in new homes…including YOURS! But we understand, and hope you understand, this is for your safety as well as the safety of our volunteers and staff members. 

-See animals available for adoption on this page! Remember, our population changes several times each day, so you’ll want to check back frequently!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP PEOPLE & ANIMALS SAFE & HEALTHY!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

TIPS FOR FINDING LOST PETS

July 5, 2020 — There were still some fireworks set last night, whether they were part of the very few large displays that still took place, or a couple firework pops in your neighbor’s yard. Did your pet become fearful and bolt? Check out the top ways to find your lost pet:
https://YourSPCA.org/Lost-FoundStray-Animals

See this story on WIVB-TV >>

SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe

July 5, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Buffalo has moved full-speed-ahead into hot weather, with temperatures this week predicted to surpass 90 degrees. While many are happy with the warm weather forecast, it’s important to remember pets don’t fare as well as some of their owners on these hot days. Please keep the following hot weather pets tips in mind and share with pet owners you know:

HEATSTROKE CAN KILL, AND FAST. Most pet owners realize that keeping pets in hot cars can kill them…but not many realize just how quickly the effects of heatstroke can set in for a dog or cat. Heatstroke is a condition animals begin to suffer gradually, but it accelerates quickly; it’s easy for early signs of heatstroke to go unrecognized, and for the pet to be in an emergency situation within mere minutes.

On warm days, a vehicle acts like an oven.  It holds the heat inside, and that heat becomes very intense even on days that don’t seem too warm. On an 85-degree day, for example, even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can climb to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 120 degrees in 30 minutes.  With the humidity we experience here in Buffalo, it may go even higher.  Because a dog’s normal body temperature is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, he can withstand a body temperature of 107-108 degrees for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage…or death.

The typical signs of heatstroke are:
– Panting – High body temperature
– Dehydration – Red mouth/eye membranes
– Rapid, irregular heart rate – Diarrhea
– Weakness, looking dazed – Coma

If your pet begins exhibiting any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Here’s what New York State residents can do if a pet is seen in a hot vehicle.

Also, use caution during warm weather months when allowing animals outside for short sessions in yards or on porches. Never leave them outside extended periods of time. Ensure appropriate shade and water are always available. Keep close supervision on your pet when outdoors on hot, humid, sunny summer days. If you see an animal left on a porch or in a yard with no access to shelter, or with inadequate shelter, the SPCA may be able to intervene in accordance with New York State’s Animal Shelter Law.  Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363. Read more about the Animal Shelter Law here.

And remember…pets can get sunburned too. Speak with your veterinarian about applying sunblock to your pet’s sun-sensitive areas, such as nose and ears, even when the animal is only outdoors for short sessions.


ADMINISTER FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS CORRECTLY! Early last June, the SPCA received two cats on death’s door after cheap, incorrect flea products purchased from deep discount stores were applied. The SPCA has already received several phone calls this season from people who misapplied flea products to their pets.   DO NOT APPLY PRODUCTS MEANT FOR DOGS ON CATS, AND DO NOT APPLY CAT FLEA PRODUCTS TO DOGS, AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE VOLUME AND MANNER OF APPLICATION!  Read the directions carefully PRIOR to application, not during application. The application of improper flea products, low-quality flea products, or products applied incorrectly, can cause internal damage or death to your pet. Always consult a veterinarian before purchasing and applying flea products.


USE CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING SUMMER PET TOYS.  Flea products are not the only items that shouldn’t be purchased at deep discount stores. Some pet toys are not durable enough to withstand a pet’s play. This tip and photo came to us last summer from Patrick in South Dayton, NY. Patrick purchased a disc dog toy from a deep discount store for his dogs Roscoe and Titan. On the first throw, Titan caught the toy, which shattered, said Patrick, “…like a mirror.” (See photo, below.) Be sure the toys you purchase for your pets are safe and sturdy.

 


KEEP PETS HOME DURING OUTDOOR FESTIVALS.  This tip may not be as relevant in 2020 as it’s been in the past, since the pandemic has caused the cancelation of most events this summer. However, for future reference: art festivals, food festivals, summer fireworks displays, and other crowded outdoor events are no places for dogs.  Extremely hot weather, paired with immense crowds of people and strange noises and scents, heightens the stress level for many animals; the repetitive, exploding sound of fireworks is enough to make even the calmest animal frantic and sometimes aggressive. Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up much more quickly.

The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads when dogs are on pavement for any period of time. Check out this photo from a June, 2019 post on WGRZ-TV and click on the photo for the full story:


DON’T FORCE EXERCISE, primarily after a meal or in hot, humid weather. Instead, exercise pets in the cool of the early morning or evening. Be extra-sensitive to older and overweight animals, or those prone to heart or respiratory problems. Bring an ample supply of water along on the walk. For cool, indoor walks, bring pets to shop at the SPCA’s Petique or other pet-friendly stores.


BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK! Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals (see below), or have puddles or spots of auto coolant. The sweet taste of poisonous liquids attracts animals and can sicken or kill them if ingested. Clean any spills immediately or consider using animal-friendly products to help minimize risks.

Unfortunately, the use of wild rat poisons also increases during warm-weather months, which poses potential hazards for your pets. Be mindful of any poisons your pet(s) can reach on your property and other properties. Read the Humane Society of the United States’ recommendations on alternatives to rodent poisons here >>


WATCH WHAT THEY EAT & DRINK! In July of 2012, two family dogs in North Buffalo died after eating poisonous mushrooms (amanita) growing right in the backyard. Check yards and any areas pets frequent. If something looks suspicious, don’t take a chance….GET RID OF IT. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of contaminated animals. The bacteria can get into water (puddles, ponds, pools, etc.) or soil and survive there for months. Humans AND animals can be infected. Use caution when letting your pet drink, walk through, or swim in water that may have been exposed to infected animals (rodents, wildlife, infected domestic animals, and others).


KEEP YOUR PET WELL-GROOMED AND CLEAN to combat summer skin problems. If your dog’s coat is appropriate, cutting his hair to a one-inch length will help prevent overheating and will also allow you to watch for fleas and ticks. Don’t shave down to the skin, though; your pet can get sunburned (see below)! A cat should be brushed frequently to keep a tangle-free coat. Long-haired cats will be more comfortable with a stylish, summer clip.


USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING SUMMER LAWN/GARDEN PURCHASES! When purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels for ingredients toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. Fertilizers, weed killers, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals can be fatal to your pets. “Weed out” the toxic products from your garage, and learn more about non-toxic, pet-friendly seasonal items. Snail, slug, and rat/mouse baits, and ant/roach baits and traps are also hazardous. Metaldehyde, one of the poisonous ingredients in many baits, is often very appealing to pets, and metaldehyde poisoning can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications, seizures, liver complications, and death. If insect and nuisance animal control items must be purchased, keep them in locations impossible for pets to reach.


KEEP CORN COBS AWAY FROM DOGS! In August of 2013, SPCA veterinarians removed corn cobs from the intestines of not one but TWO dogs! Both survived, but without veterinary treatment the results could have been fatal. Read this article from VetsNow.com  discussing the dangers of corn cobs and corn to dogs.


DO NOT USE HUMAN INSECT REPELLENTS ON PETS! These items are toxic when ingested at high doses, and dogs and cats may lick it off and ingest it, potentially resulting in a toxicity. Read more about what you can use here.


BUNNIES NEED TO KEEP COOL TOO! Pet rabbits who live indoors with no air conditioning can benefit from an easy cooling technique. Rabbit owners can freeze a filled water bottle. Once the water bottle is frozen, it can be wrapped in a cloth and placed on the rabbit’s cage floor. If the rabbit becomes too warm, she’ll instinctively know to lie next to the bottle. Fans can also be pointed in the general direction of a rabbit cage, and rabbits will raise their ears (their natural cooling system) to catch the breeze and cool off. On hot days, pet owners with rabbits living in outdoor pens will want to ensure their pets are cool enough in outdoor locations; if not, rabbits and pens should come indoors.


If you witness animal cruelty or see any animal in need of rescue or emergency assistance this summer, the SPCA Serving Erie County may be able to help. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.

Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., please contact your local animal control, police department, or call your local after-hours emergency clinic for prices and services.

_________________________________________

Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards or on porches, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360 or cruelty@yourspca.org.

BILL THE CAT: One in a Million (or one in 3,000, to be exact)!

June 24, 2020
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

UPDATE, JUNE 24, 6:30 p.m.: Bill has been adopted! When his story made national news today, we received more than 100 phone calls from potential adopters from all over the country! Fortunately, our boy will be staying home! Now named Milo, he’ll be living in Buffalo with Jomaira & Kiara!


BILL THE CAT is one in a million…or to be more specific, one in 3,000! Why? Because he’s a tortoiseshell kitty, and he’s a boy!

If you’re new to the cat world, that might not seem too exceptional. But those who have spent a little time in feline circles are paying close attention right now, especially after seeing Bill’s photo with that blue collar around his neck and realizing that this is a male tortoiseshell cat, an incredible rarity.

Genetics are pretty interesting when it comes to calico cats, and the same goes for tortoiseshell cats…even the “pastel” or dilute ones like Bill, with softer colors. Several genetic mutations cause these cats to develop coats with patterns that seem marbleized, much like the shell of a tortoise. And with the most common chromosome combos, all calicos and tortoiseshell felines are female. Well….almost all.

Think back to high school. Females have XX chromosomes, males have XY.

X carries the gene for coat colors; Y determines gender.

According to this article issued by Falls Village Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh, NC, “Orange coloring in cats comes from a gene in X chromosomes. Biology refresher: females have XX chromosomes. Males have XY chromosomes. So, it stands to reason that either a male or female cat can be or have orange coloring. The girls, though, are commonly calico, tortie, or orange tabby whereas the vast majority of males are only orange tabby. This is because only a cat with XX chromosomes can be calico or tortie.”

So if two X chromosomes are necessary in a calico or tortie kitten, and males are XY with just one X, how are male calico or tortie cats possible?

Very rarely, an extra strand of DNA (three chromosomes) is apparent in a male, making the male XXY. What does this mean? While the Y determines he is a male, the two Xs can, in fact, give him a calico or a tortoiseshell coat!

This is an incredibly rare occurrence. In fact, several sources researched cite a study by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine that found only about 1 in 3,000 of these calico/tortoiseshell cats are male!

Undoubtedly, it must have occurred to someone throughout history to try and breed these cats, however, cats with three chromosomes are usually also sterile. Neutering is still important to help prevent negative medical or behavioral developments.

Because we don’t see many male calico or tortoiseshell cats at the SPCA Serving Erie County, Bill the cat is feeling pretty special these days, but he’s trying not to let it get to his head. Bill is waiting to meet his new family at our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter! We have a feeling Bill will be scooped up quickly, but plenty of animals are at the SPCA waiting to become a part of your family! See our available animals here.

Adoption appointments can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.

Thanks to the SPCA’s Lindsey Wood for Bill’s photos and videos!

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SPCA, CONTINUING TO SERVE



June 16, 2020
— We think they were just trying to follow the grocery store rules. They’re just too young to really understand how far 6 feet is. On Saturday, June 13, SPCA Serving Erie County Officers Heine and Maleskis assisted Officer Cindy Griffin of Amherst Animal Control as, together, the animal rescue agents engaged in the second duck rescue of last weekend….ducklings who had fallen down a sewer grate near Wegmans on Transit Road in Williamsville (see Saturday’s other duck rescue at Cazenovia Creek here). Eight ducklings in all were rescued and brought to the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter for care.

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

FANIMAL’s $64,000 Goal: MET!

Watch our “personal” thanks to EVERYONE who helped push our FANIMAL competition to a victorious finish line: a WIN for ALL ANIMALS!

** IT’S A VIRTUAL FANIMAL PEP RALLY! **
Watch these cheerleaders work their magic to get YOUR votes for their favorite teams:
Team Dog, Team Cat, or Team All Animals!

** KEEP CHECKING BACK! **
More videos will be added through June 10 after they premiere on the SPCA’s Facebook Page!

** CAST YOUR FANIMAL VOTE *TODAY*  HERE >> **

 

Cheers from our Board & Staff Members:

Inspiration from our TEAM CAPTAINS:

 

SPCA, CONTINUING TO SERVE 

May 19, 2020 — This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigator / Animal Rescue Officer Tyler Robertson:

“On May 18, SPCA Officers Paul LeShay and Jennifer Maleskis rescued this injured red-tailed hawk from 3500 River Rd. in Tonawanda.  The hawk was transported back to our Wildlife Department and radiographs were done to reveal a fractured humerus. Unfortunately the injury was inoperable.”

While our Wildlife staff were forced to make the difficult decision to euthanize the hawk, this humane passing saved the hawk from what most likely would have been a longer, slower, painful, and perhaps much more vicious death.

The SPCA Serving Erie County is continuing to provide animal rescue, rehabilitation, and other important services during its COVID-19 response period. For details on services offered by the SPCA as the organization continues to serve the animals and people of our community, please visit https://YourSPCA.org/COVIDResponse .

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer


Are you a FANIMAL? Vote Team Cat, Team Dog, or Team All Animals TODAY in the SPCA Serving Erie County’s all-new, socially-distant fundraiser!  Cast your vote HERE!