UPDATE, AUGUST 16, 2019: Jarrod Dillman appeared in Buffalo City Court this morning. He has waived his felony hearing and his case will now proceed to the grand jury. Please keep watching YourSPCA.org for further information on this animal cruelty case.


August 13, 2019


Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 23-year-old Jarrod Dillman of Buffalo has been arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee on one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a felony, and one count of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor.

It is alleged that on Saturday, August 3, 2019, the defendant, while working as a [daycare attendant and bather] at PawPrints by Penny & Co. on Niagara Street in the City of Buffalo, caused the death of “Alessio,” a three-year-old Havanese, by throwing the dog against a wall and repeatedly kicking the dog while wearing boots. The preliminary necropsy results determined that the dog died as a result of blunt force trauma.

Dillman is scheduled to return on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. for a felony hearing. Judge Johnson-Lee set bail at $5,000 cash, bond or property.

DA Flynn commends the SPCA Serving Erie County, including Officers Paul LeShay, Amy Jaworski and Lindsey Styborski, for their work in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Erin E. Hart of the DA’s Animal Cruelty Unit.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


From BuffaloNews.com:

Dog day care attendant arraigned on felony aggravated animal cruelty charge

By Harold McNeil
Published August 13, 2019|Updated August 13, 2019

An attendant for a Buffalo dog groomer was arraigned Tuesday in Buffalo City Court on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, after an animal in his care died, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said 23-year-old Jarrod Dillman of Buffalo was additionally charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal, as well as failure to provide proper sustenance.

“We’re horrified and saddened by the death of the dog that was in our care, and this is the first that I’ve learned that he was arrested,” said Penelope Lanich, proprietor of PawPrints by Penny & Co., when contacted by The Buffalo News Tuesday.

“We’ve been working closely with the SPCA to make sure justice is served here,” she added.

On Aug. 3, while working as a day care employee at PawPrints by Penny & Co. on Niagara Street in Buffalo, Dillman allegedly caused the death of a 3-year-old Havanese named Alessio by throwing the dog against a wall and repeatedly kicking the animal while Dillman was wearing boots. The preliminary necropsy results have determined that the dog died as a result of blunt force trauma, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Dillman initially was identified by the District Attorney’s Office as a dog groomer at PawPrints, but Lanich said that is not a position Dillman ever held at the business during his 1 1/2 years of employment there.

“I’ve been in business for over 15 years and I’ve never had anything like this happen,” Lanich said.

Dillman is scheduled to return to court Friday for a felony hearing before City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee, who set bail at $5,000.

Community Members Donate Hundreds of Supplies to SPCA Serving Erie County Through Senator Mike Ranzenhofer’s Donation Drive

August 7, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Senator Mike Ranzenhofer, in cooperation with Amherst Town Clerk Jeffrey Zeplowitz and Clarence Town Clerk Nancy Metzger, spent the month of July hosting a donation drive for the animals here at the SPCA Serving Erie County!

Earlier this summer, Senator Ranzenhofer said, “I am pleased to be hosting a donation drive for the SPCA.  The SPCA has saved countless animals and does wonderful work. I am happy to be giving back to them [and] appreciate Clerks Metzger and Zeplowitz having drop-off locations at their offices.”

August 7, 2019 was drop-off day at the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter. SPCA Annual Giving Manager Phil Weiss welcomed Senator Ranzenhofer, his team, and especially their big truck full of donations! See the video here!

Thanks to each and every community member who contributed, and tail wags to Senator Ranzenhofer and Town Clerks Metzger and Zeplowitz for supporting the animals helped by our humane society!

See more on this year’s drive here >>

Eggertsville Firefighters Rescue Kitten Trapped In Storm Sewer

Patricia, rescued from a storm drain by Eggertsville Firefighters July 22, 2019

From Buffalo News; see additional photos and read more here >>

By Keith McShea | Published 10:51 a.m. July 23, 2019

Firefighters actually do save cats from trees sometimes. And they also rescue them from storm sewers.

The Eggertsville Hose Company, with some help from neighborhood residents and children, rescued a stray kitten who had fallen into a storm drain on Harcroft Court in Amherst Monday night.

After neighborhood children heard the kitten crying from the sewer, firefighters arrived, opened three storm drains to isolate the cat, and used some sardines supplied by a neighbor to lure the cat to within arm’s reach.

The effort, which lasted just over an hour, ended when firefighter Pat Boyle was able to get a hold of the kitten and lift him out of the sewer to applause from children and photo-snapping neighbors.

“It was great, it was almost like heart-melting to see all the kids when I brought it out,” said Boyle. “Everybody brought their phones out, everyone wanted a picture of it … it was a great feeling.”

Ten firefighters including First Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Peters were involved in the nontraditional rescue, which lasted from 8:20 to 9:35 p.m. No residents knew where the kitten came from, while firefighters estimated it to be 2- to 4-weeks-old. The SPCA took custody of the kitten following the rescue.

“There was a lot of community involvement, it was really kind of fun, and it’s always fun when there’s a good outcome,” said past chief and public information officer John Buttino, who was also on scene. “We’re a volunteer department and we answer over 1,200 calls a year – that was our fourth call of the day. It was a non-routine call and definitely unique.

“It just goes by what residents do: When they can’t solve a problem, they’ll call the fire department, and they seem to fix things.”

Firefighters engaged in a game of cat and air hose to rescue the kitten. Firefighters had to find out which parts of the maze of storm sewers the cat was in, and then used an air hose to make a commotion in an effort to direct the cat to a location where they could reach it.

“The storm sewers are all connected via tubing, and the cat was probably halfway through one sewer under the road when we got there,” said Boyle.

Firefighters then opened a cover on the opposite side of the road and put an air line down to try and direct it back to the other side. They never had to enter the tubes; the storm sewers were relatively shallow, coming up chest-high to firefighters.

“We turned on some air on very low volume, trying to entice it to come out the other side, which it did … it came running out, but then it ran into another hole on the other side,” said Boyle.

Eggertsville Hose Company firefighters check out the storm sewers in search of a trapped kitten. (photo courtesy of Chris Pyzynski)

Firefighters then opened another manhole cover to block that escape route.

“We missed him on the first try and he went shooting down another pipe, so we capped the one pipe off and went down the other end,” said Buttino.

Meanwhile, a crowd of residents had gathered.

“At first we could hear it crying a little bit,” said Harcroft Court resident Chris Pyzynski, who said she lives two houses down from the scene. “Then finally we could hear it quite a bit, it sounded distressed.”

While Buttino and other firefighters used the air hose to direct the kitten back to the original manhole, Boyle could see it getting closer and closer.

“It was sitting in there crying and we could hear it meowing,” Boyle said. “That’s when we took the sardines and placed it down on the edge of the hole, and he came to the edge of the hole, but he kept scooting back in. Finally, he came out enough that I was able to grab him by the scruff of the neck and remove him from the hole.”

Buttino and his crew were about 150 feet away at the other manhole.

“You could hear the uproar down the street,” Buttino said. “They all started cheering and applauding down there, and we were like, ‘I think they got it.’ ”

Four members of the Town of Amherst engineering department were called in for their expertise; the engineers had just left to get their equipment when the cat was rescued.

“It was really cool – we all thanked them, and clapped a little bit and cheered a little bit – we didn’t want to scare the kitten,” said Pyzynski. “People stayed around there the whole time to make sure it was alright. We were proud of our firemen, and we told them that.”

The kitten, named Patricia by the SPCA in honor of firefighter Patrick Boyle, will be put in foster care.

Firefighters treated the kitten with oxygen via an animal mask right after rescuing it, Boyle said, “just to make sure it was OK.” Boyle wrapped up the kitten in a towel and it got a ride back to the Eggertsville station on a fire truck, where representatives from the SPCA retrieved the cat later Monday night.

SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca said the kitten, which is a female, was in an incubator Tuesday afternoon and will undergo an exam today.

“We wanted to make sure she got some nice, clean, pure air,” said Lattuca. “Since she was in a storm drain, sometimes animals can breathe things in that can cause internal damage.”

Lattuca said a foster family has been lined up to care for the kitten, and that foster care families have the first chance to adopt foster-care animals. The kitten will be picked up Wednesday morning, and the foster family was not aware of last night’s rescue.

“We have the best people who provide foster care – they don’t care if it’s a celebrity kitten,” Lattuca said.

Lattuca said the kitten has been named “Patricia” by the SPCA in honor of firefighter Patrick Boyle.

From Buffalo News; see additional photos and read more here >>

SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe

June 25, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

UPDATE, July 1, 2019: From WGRZ-TV, 6/29/19 – Tonawanda Law Bans Dogs At City Events, Cites Canine Safety.

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 leaving animals outside 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: (716) 875-7360. In after-hours emergencies, call the SPCA at (716) 449-0363. Read more about the Animal Shelter Law here.

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.

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 this 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. 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, 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.

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.

KEEPS PETS SAFE WHILE OUTSIDE. Cats should be kept indoors at all times of the year and never allowed to roam loose, unprotected and unsupervised.  If dogs are allowed outside for an extended period of time, ensure there is proper shade and fresh water available at all times.  During the hottest and most humid parts of the day, bring dogs in the house. Keep identification on all animals at all times. 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.

USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING SUMMER 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. Please call the following numbers depending on the day and time:
Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.: 716-875-7360
Monday – Saturday, 4 p.m. – midnight: 716-449-0363
Sunday, 8 a.m. – midnight: 716-449-0363

Between midnight 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.


July 11, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County will offer its third Pet First Aid Class of the year Saturday, August 3, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at its 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location.

Instructors will cover the symptoms of serious emergencies that require immediate treatment, hands-on animal CPR with CPR mannequin resusci-dog Spot, muzzling demonstrations, bandaging demonstrations, and will offer a comprehensive lecture portion on recognizing and appropriately handling life-threatening emergencies.

Included in the $20.00 registration fee is a take-home booklet for easy reference, and contact information for area emergency veterinarians.

Registration is required and interested parties can register here. Space is limited, so hurry!  Please watch YourSPCA.org, Facebook, or Twitter for future class announcements!

The Roar of Hakuna CATata: This July at the SPCA!

July 11, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Love will find a way, anywhere we go. We’re home if we are there together. Simba, Disney’s “The Lion King”

We can’t promise no worries for the rest of your days…but we can promise a purring, little lion by your side while you figure out your problem-free philosophy!

Hakuna CATata begins at the SPCA Serving Erie County Monday, July 15, when all cats one year of age and older will be available for half off their regular adoption fees! Cats one year through five years of age will be available for $60 and cats older than five will be available for $25 through Wednesday,
July 31. Bonded pairs are available for one adoption fee.

Hakuna CATata roars through the SPCA July 15 – 31, 2019

(Cats 21 weeks through one year of age and kittens 20 weeks of age and younger will be available for their regular adoption fees of $120.00 and $175 respectively.)

Included with the adoption fee is the cat’s spay/neuter surgery; age-appropriate vaccinations; initial worming; flea control medicine; feline leukemia test; microchip; temporary identification; a certificate for the new pet’s first physical examination at the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic or at the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society’s veterinarian of choice; the option of a 30-day pet health insurance plan provided by 24PetWatch; and while supplies last, a bag of Purina cat food.

The special applies to cats temporarily residing at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site, or one of several offsite adoption locations.

See photos of cats available in West Seneca here, and for a list of offsite adoption locations along with photos of cats available at these sites, see our Offsite Adoptions page here. Questions about Hakuna CATata? Call SPCA Adoptions: 716-875-7360, ext. 233.


Kitty Crew Member Returned to Tall Ship After Brief Port of Call in Buffalo

July 8, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

All hands were on deck at the the SPCA Serving Erie County’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site late Friday night and early Saturday morning.

When a good Samaritan brought a stray kitty to the SPCA at approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, she was certain the cat had an owner somewhere. After all, the young cat was wearing a harness, and her ID tag said Fiji.

To ensure the four-legged visitor found on Erie Street in Buffalo didn’t require critical veterinary care, SPCA Veterinary Technician Lana Bilger immediately examined the friendly feline, who appeared unharmed, unhurt, and in excellent condition. But after scanning the cat, the SPCA crew realized she clearly had no microchip identification, and further examination of the ID tag on the cat’s harness raised questions; on the back of that tag, Lana noticed the words ‘Picton Castle.’

The SPCA;s Lana examines Fiji, brought in as a stray late Friday evening, July 5

Unaware of whether this was the name of the cat’s owner, the name of the cat’s hometown, or even, possibly, the name of the cat, SPCA representatives did a quick internet search of the words “Fiji,” “Picton Castle,” and “cat”…and within seconds, it became clear that this cat was a crew member of one of the tall ships, the Picton Castle, currently visiting Buffalo, NY!

Fiji’s bio on the Picton Castle’s ‘Ship and Crew’ page at https://www.picton-castle.com/ship-and-crew/the-crew.html

Understanding that the ship’s departure was scheduled for the weekend, Lana and SPCA Veterinary Assistant Chelsea knew that it was critical a reunion happen in a short period of time. SPCA Cruelty Investigations Officer Jay Ivory  made a call to the ship’s headquarters in Nova Scotia at approximately 12 a.m. EST Saturday morning, Lana sent an email to the address provided on the ship’s website, Fiji was set up in her own personal suite with refreshments and blankets, and the wait began.

Chelsea and Fiji

By Saturday afternoon, SPCA reps still had not heard back from the Picton Castle and started to create an alternate plan, when SPCA volunteer and AdvoCAT Cary Munschauer heard the cat’s tale and remembered that another SPCA volunteer, Donna Camp, was also volunteering to work the Tall Ships Port of Call: Buffalo.

As a volunteer, Donna was given a list of ship contact names and personal phone numbers. One call from the SPCA to one of those numbers led to three response calls from ship representatives in less than thirty minutes!

Fiji was, indeed, the ship’s four-year-old cat, has traveled the world twice over, and often disembarks the Picton Castle to explore the locations being visited before heading back to the ship when the engines start.

By the time the SPCA was contacted, Picton Castle crew members were already on their way to the West Seneca shelter to retrieve their little stowaway (who was actually adopted onto the ship at six weeks of age in 2014, during a Fiji port of call).

Fiji was microchipped by the SPCA. Staff members also worked with crew members on identification information and contact numbers to ensure that, should Fiji’s visit to a future port of call be extended, she will always be returned before the ship shoves off!

Lana caring for Fiji in the SPCA infirmary
Let’s microchip Fiji

An ardent “Ahoy” goes out to the SPCA’s Lana, Chelsea, Cary, Donna, Jay, along with Hilary Lemperle, Aaron Kandefer, and visiting Lincoln Memorial University veterinary student Marissa, who made sure Fiji was cared for, cuddled, properly identified, and prepped for her vessel’s next voyage!

Learn more about Fiji and keep up on her adventures by visiting the Barque Picton Castle!  


See this story on WGRZ-TV

See this story on NewsRadio 930 WBEN

See this story on WKBW-TV

(Please note: the SPCA and its Petique will be closed Thursday, July 4 in honor of Independence Day)

For information and application guidelines, click the image below!

Click on the link below to see last night’s WIVB-TV story on Tale for Two!

Tale for Two on WIVB-TV June, 2019