Severely-Emaciated Dog Found In Back of Van; Animal Cruelty Charges Pending as Teams Work to Save Logan’s Life

February 29, 2024
By: SPCA Communications Manager Bethany Kloc


Help Save Logan’s Life >>

Found during a traffic stop in a wheelbarrow in the back of an allegedly-stolen vehicle, Logan was hanging onto life. He was so weak and emaciated that he could barely move; he could only lift his head slightly.

The SPCA’s law enforcement team was contacted about this heartbreaking case of cruelty by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and representatives from the Town of Concord earlier this week (information on cruelty charges detailed below). Looking into his eyes, we knew we had to do whatever it took to try to save this dog’s life. No matter the cost.

Due to the severity of his emaciation with a body condition score of 1/9, we transported Logan to an emergency veterinary facility for the intensive care he required. Cases of emaciation this severe are so often deceiving, and due to internal complications, a prognosis can change within mere moments.

Today marks a small victory – for the first time, Logan is up with the assistance of the emergency veterinary team. However, his journey to recovery is long, and the veterinary bills have already surpassed $3,000 and continue to climb. We’re committed to helping Logan regain his strength, but we can’t do it alone.

Logan’s life hangs in the balance, and we urgently need your support. Donations will help us save Logan and other dogs in dire need. Please give here >>, and write “Logan” in the comments.

Your generosity can help us provide the care he desperately needs. Let’s unite and give Logan the second chance at life this good boy deserves!

Updates on this disturbing story of animal cruelty will be posted here as they become available.

Help Save Logan’s Life >>



February 14, 2024
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

SPCA Serving Erie County President/CEO Cait Daly, together with the organization’s board of directors, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kelly Wolfe, MSW as the SPCA’s new Chief Development Officer (CDO).

Wolfe most recently held the position of Donor Engagement Manager at the SPCA Serving Erie County for approximately two years.

“Kelly has an incredible talent for connecting people to the SPCA’s mission and getting folks excited about our work,” says Daly. “She is a gifted professional and I look forward to the successes we will experience with her at the helm of our fundraising efforts.”

With 20 years of non-profit leadership experience and more than 10 years of fundraising and animal welfare experience, Wolfe is excited to move into this new, challenging role.

“The SPCA has very strong executive leadership, and I am excited and honored to be joining that team, helping to change the landscape of animal welfare to better serve our community,” says Wolfe. “The mission of the SPCA is very close to my heart. Through the Development Department, we will be ramping up contact with supporters to ensure they know the scope of the important work being done on a daily basis.”

“The SPCA Board of Directors is incredibly excited that Kelly has become our new CDO,” says SPCA Board of Directors Chairperson P. Jeffrey Birtch. “She is stepping into some big shoes, and her years of successful development experience leave no doubt that she is the perfect choice. On behalf of the entire board, I congratulate Kelly on joining the SPCA’s senior leadership team.”

Wolfe, whose experience also includes creating and overseeing youth programs and working with the elderly, is excited to apply her fundraising experience in this new role.

“I’m eager to apply best practices in fundraising techniques to SPCA strategy, ensuring we are able to raise the funds to not only help more at-risk animals but to ensure this agency is sustainable, continuing to serve the ever-changing needs of this community for another 150 years and beyond.”

Outside of work, Wolfe fosters kittens, gardens, and enjoys spending time outdoors. She assumed her position as CDO in January.

Click here for more information on the SPCA Serving Erie County and its leadership team.

SPCA Rescues More Than 150 Animals from Cheektowaga Property

December 15, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

You can help care for these rescued animals >>

UPDATE, FEB. 6 — All of the chickens from the Cheektowaga cruelty case have been adopted at this time (the SPCA kept two of the chickens in its farm flock).  Twelve of 18 ducks have been adopted; six males remain available for adoption. Mortie the pig has also found his new farm home. When details are available on the dogs and cat rescued during this case, they will be shared here. There are rabbits from this case currently available for adoption; they can be viewed here >>

UPDATE, JAN.31 — Kerisa Schmitt appeared in Cheektowaga Town Court this morning on 154 counts of Overdriving, Torturing and Injuring Animals; Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance and 154 counts of Failure to Provide Proper Food and Drink to Impounded Animal (Class “A” misdemeanors under New York Agriculture and Markets Law). She is scheduled to return on Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 9 a.m. for a pre-trial conference. At the request of the SPCA, Cheektowaga Town Court Justice David Stevens issued a “no animal” order, which prevents Schmitt from owning or caring for any animals while this criminal case is pending. Schmitt also signed over to the SPCA possession of the five animals not previously surrendered: two goats, two dogs, and one cat.

According to a press release issued today from the office of Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, “Schmitt was also arraigned this morning on one count of Petit Larceny (Class “A” misdemeanor) in a separate case. It is alleged that on Saturday, January 6, 2023, at approximately 3:50 p.m., the defendant stole merchandise, with an estimated total value of $205.32, from a store on the 2500 block of Walden Avenue in the Town of Cheektowaga. The defendant is accused of failing to scan the merchandise in the self-check out and exited the store without paying for the items. She was released on an appearance ticket.”

The release continued, “At her arraignment today, our office requested that the Court set bail at $10,000 cash or bond under Penal Law 510.10(4)(t) based upon the defendant’s previous failure to appear and her intent to move to West Virginia. The Court released the defendant on her own recognizance, but issued a verbal warning that any future failure to appear will result in a warrant and bail. Schmitt is also scheduled to return on this case on Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 9:00 a.m.”

“I want to thank our partners at the SPCA Serving Erie County for their work in this investigation and the care they have provided to the many animals rescued from this home,” said Erie County DA John Flynn

DA Flynn also commended the SPCA Serving Erie County, SPCA Officer Melina Homsi, SPCA Agent Molly McLaughlin and the Cheektowaga Police Department for their work in this investigation.

Additional updates will be posted here when available.

UPDATE, JAN. 19 — The warrant for Schmitt’s arrest has been rescinded, according to reports received by the SPCA this afternoon, due to miscommunication regarding the open status of the courts. The new appearance date is January 31. One of two rabbits described below as having serious health-related complications upon rescue reportedly did not respond to treatment and, sadly, has been euthanized for humane reasons. The other is showing signs of responding to treatment and is currently in a foster home with an SPCA staff member.

UPDATE, JAN. 18 — Kerisa Schmitt failed to appear in Cheektowaga Town Court this morning.  Justice David Stevens has issued a warrant for Schmitt’s arrest. Updates on this story will be posted here when available.

UPDATE, JAN. 4 — Kerisa Schmitt was scheduled to appear in Cheektowaga Town Court this morning, but did not appear. The SPCA has filed 308 Class A misdemeanor charges. Recently, Schmitt signed over to the SPCA ownership of 151 animals:  117 chickens, 18 ducks/geese, 15 rabbits, and one farm pig. SPCA Educational Farm staff members say 76 chickens have been placed, but 41 of the chickens and all other animals are still being cared for by the SPCA. Schmitt did not sign over ownership of two goats, two dogs, and one cat. Schmitt’s arraignment is  adjourned until January 18 at 9 a.m. Updates on this story will be added here when available.

UPDATE, DEC. 18 — Veterinarians and SPCA staff worked throughout the weekend to complete medical evaluations on all of the animals rescued from the Colton St., Cheektowaga garage and home. All of the birds were banded by the SPCA with identification numbers. Many of them had animal body scores of one. There is respiratory illness, injuries, and some infection amongst the birds, which appear to be young in age. The goats are being treated for respiratory/lung issues, and the pig has an apparent infection in the scrotum area. These animals appear young as well. Two rabbits are in very poor condition; one has injuries and the other has an unspecified illness related to gastrointestinal symptoms. The other rabbits, the dogs, and the cat are in fair condition. At this time, none of the animals have been signed over to the SPCA. Those interested in fostering and/or adopting chickens and/or livestock can fill out an application here >>  and email to the attention of Educational Farm Staff at; fax to (716) 424-1165; or drop off at 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224. Questions on fostering farm animals? Please email or

Yesterday, officers and agents of the SPCA Serving Erie County rescued more than 150 farm and domestic animals from a Cheektowaga home and garage.

SPCA Officer Melina Homsi and Agent Molly McLaughlin visited 42 Colton Street in Cheektowaga the morning of Thursday, Dec. 14 to do a welfare check on a dog reported to be at the property; the dog was reportedly owned by Kerisa Schmitt (Schmitt’s name was spelled phonetically in an earlier version of this story since SPCA and Cheektowaga officers were not provided identification at the time of the initial investigation).

Two goats and a pig now safe at the SPCA.

When McLaughlin heard noises and detected foul odors coming from the garage at the property, she saw through a broken window several farm animals living in squalor.

The officers obtained a search warrant to enter the garage and home. Officers found approximately 138 animals in the garage space SPCA Chief Investigator Lindsey Wood estimates as a 20′ x 20′ area. More than 100 of the animals are chickens that were found crammed into two small makeshift pens, one 3’ x 4’, the other 5′ x 7′. The pens were packed with feces approximately six inches deep.

The SPCA rescued the following*:
From inside the garage, 117 chickens, 18 ducks, two goats and one pig. Seven rabbits were rescued from a hutch outdoors on the property. Two dogs, one cat, and eight rabbits were rescued from inside the home.

Just some of the 100+ chickens rescued from Cheektowaga, now at the SPCA

In addition to the animals that were alive, there were multiple deceased animals and body parts from deceased chickens throughout the garage.

All animals were rescued from the scene Thursday and immediately transported to the SPCA Serving Erie County’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location where they are being cleaned, housed, and fed, and currently receiving veterinary examinations and care.

“In just 24 hours, seeing a total transformation of the fowl from filth and distress to clean, comfortable, and happy is most rewarding, and why we do this job every day,” says Wood. “Our team worked together well into the night and started all over again today to ensure these animals are shown the proper respect and care they were not given previously.”

Assisting Homsi, McLaughlin, and Wood at the scene yesterday were SPCA Officers Heine, Jaworski, and Laird; SPCA Agents Abrams and Giles; Dr. Jean Feldman, DVM accompanied by a veterinary student; Town of Cheektowaga Housing Complaint/Code Compliance and Fire Company representatives; and Town of Cheektowaga Police, including Officer Jones who worked alongside SPCA officers for the duration of the rescue.

The animals have not been signed over to the SPCA Serving Erie County at this time.

Schmidt was issued an appearance ticket for Cheektowaga Town Court January 4, 2024 by Officer Homsi. Animal cruelty charges are pending.

Updates on this ongoing animal cruelty case will be provided here as they become available.

To help with the care of these animals in need, please visit Gifts of any amount are appreciated.

(*Numbers may fluctuate pending further investigation)

You can help care for these rescued animals >>

View this story in the Buffalo News >>



The Case Against Glue Traps

A glue trap is a small board covered with a sticky adhesive designed to ensnare any animal who wanders across its surface. These devices inflict slow, painful deaths on mice, rats, birds, chipmunks, bats, lizards, squirrels, and any other animals small enough to get caught in the glue. They can take days to die of starvation, dehydration, or blood loss, while they cry out in agony. Take steps to outlaw these cruel traps!

Make Your Voice Heard >>




A unique learning experience for children with at least one thing in common: THEIR LOVE FOR ANIMALS! Children will learn about a variety of animal-related topics while meeting and interacting with cool animals, learning to understand and appreciate the unique bond we share! Register children for one day, two days, or all days! Just select the appropriate button or click the image above!


Questions? Contact SPCA Director of Humane Education Christine Davis:
(716) 875-7360, ext. 262 or Provides New and Unique Opportunity to Memorialize Beloved Pets

January 12, 2024
By: Media Sales Plus, Inc.

Media Sales Plus, Inc., a leading provider of media sales and obituary notice services in North America, is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new website dedicated to pet obituary notices and memorialization located at provides pet lovers and their families with a platform to memorialize their pets for all eternity. The local WNY site will be part of a new global site on the web at, thereby filling a void for a global pet memorialization and services platform. Additionally, pet lovers will also have an opportunity to place the obituary notice in their local newspaper (where available, and for an additional fee) as part of an arrangement made by and many of their affiliated newspaper partners across the US and Canada.

Upon arriving at, pet owners will find a simple form that will be used to tell the life story of their pet. All notices will include an option for the pet owner to upload photos, videos, obtain messages from the guest book, and the ability to share the pet notice via social media. The pet notice will then be published on the website for a one-time posting fee of $29.99 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting various pet-related causes in Western New York.

Read more about this new pet memorialization service here >>


January 12, 2024
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Snow is predicted to return with a vengeance to Buffalo and surrounding areas. As many veterinary clinics (including the Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA) are dealing with smaller work forces, it’s a little more complicated to receive emergency veterinary care.  Plan ahead for the upcoming snowy days and nights now to ensure your pets stay safe and healthy today and throughout the rest of the winter. 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’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.



If making a significant difference in the lives of animals is something you’re passionate about, volunteering with the SPCA might be one of the most fulfilling parts of your life!

Depending on what volunteer position you decide is right for you, you’ll have the opportunity to provide compassionate care for animals, bring pets and families together, and perform purpose-driven work!

For more information about how you can get involved, go to! Have any questions about volunteering? Please reach out to our Volunteer Department!

Director of Volunteer Services:
Kelly Deschamps | (716) 875-7360 ext. 232 |

Assistant Director of Volunteer Services:
Desirea Mojica | (716) 875-7360 ext. 252 |

View current volunteer positions


SPCA Officers Rescue Coyote Stranded Near US Coast Guard Site in Buffalo, NY

December 26, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

How does the SPCA Serving Erie County, NY respond when the Department of Environmental Conservation calls about a coyote stranded on a log near the US Coast Guard’s Fuhrmann Blvd. station? With a resounding “Be right there,” of course.

That’s exactly what happened Friday when the SPCA’s Wildlife Department received the call about a stranded coyote seen swimming, then stranded and shivering on a log.

Shortly after receiving the call, SPCA Chief Lindsey Wood and Officer Melina Homsi, along with Agents Molly McLaughlin and Meghan Giles, headed out to the docks with the appropriate level of rescue equipment and determination necessary to get the job done.

Upon arrival, the team noticed the soaking coyote’s evident exhaustion. US Coast Guard Metalsmith Petty Officer 1st Class Taylor Foran told Wood via text message that the coyote was in the water and/or stranded at least three hours, but probably longer, and said the coyote was violently shivering and was so exhausted from swimming when first seen that she couldn’t lift her head.

The photos below depict the dramatic rescue, as Wood, assisted by Homsi, Giles, and McLaughlin, was able to snare the coyote and pull her up to safety. The coyote was immediately transported to the SPCA’s West Seneca location where she was examined and cared for overnight.

On December 23, as shown in the video below, officers released the now warm and fed coyote to a safe, wooded area at Wilkeson Pointe not far from where she was located!

Wildlife concern? Contact the SPCA Serving Erie County, NY Wildlife Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 247.



See this story in the Buffalo News >>

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UPI shares the coyote rescue >>

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