SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe

June 26, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

For the second time this month, Buffalo’s high temperatures have been close to record-breaking, nearing or reaching 90 degrees in some areas. 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:

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN NEW YORK STATE TO LEAVE ANIMALS IN A VEHICLE IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES, HOT OR COLD >>

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. And we’re not only referring to 90-degree days; animals suffer heatstroke even on much cooler days.

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. The image below is provided courtesy of VeterinaryClinic.com; please click on the image for a downloadable copy of this chart:

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, even parked in the shade with the windows open, the temperature inside a car will climb to 104 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 119 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.

CAN I LEGALLY BREAK INTO A CAR TO SAVE A SUFFERING ANIMAL? As of May 2020, while a handful of states allowed good Samaritans to legally break car windows in an effort to save a suffering animal, unfortunately New York was NOT one of those states.

If you see an animal alone in a vehicle in extreme temperatures:

-Immediately record the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number, and record the time you first noticed the animal(s) alone in the vehicle.
-Next, immediately call 911 to report the incident. If the vehicle is located in Erie County, NY and the time is between 8 a.m. and 6:45 p.m., contact the SPCA Serving Erie County as well: (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.
-If you are at a location with a public announcement system (a retail establishment, office, public event, etc.), provide managers, directors, employees, or event coordinators with the details of the situation, and ask for a public announcement that the animal in the vehicle is in severe distress.
-If possible, stay at the scene until help arrives.


PORCHES AND YARDS: Short stays ONLY!

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 Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

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 in the summer of 2019 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). 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 (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. Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 6:45 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

Between 6:45 p.m. and 8 a.m., please contact your local animal control, police department, or your local after-hours emergency clinic.

_________________________________________

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.

See this story on WIVB-TV >>

Western New York Elvis Appreciation Society’s Donation of $3000 Brings Four-Year Total to $10,000+

It’s only appropriate that, during our Summer of Love, the SPCA Serving Erie County has a big, ol’ hunk of burning love for the WNY Elvis Appreciation Society [WNYEAS]!

In April, the WNYEAS held a fundraiser featuring Buffalo Music Hall of Fame member Terry Buchwald to benefit our hound dogs and other animals! Last night, WNYEAS President Kevin Kedzierski, Secretary/Treasurer Sylvia Walworth, and other members of the group were taking care of business, presenting a check for more than $3000 to the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Gina Lattuca!

Sylvia says, “Many people don’t realize that Elvis Presley gave so much of his money away. Donations, taking care of others…this was very important to Elvis. Part of the reason our group is in existence is to honor that caring quality, which was a big part of who this remarkable man was.”

To date, the WNYEAS has donated more than $10,000 to the SPCA Serving Erie County, and we couldn’t be more shook up!

Thank you, WNYEAS! Thank you very much!

-Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

SPCA Serving Erie County Offers Free Adoptions to Current and Past Military Members During Vets & Pets

May 17, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

To thank the men and women of the armed services this Memorial Day, the SPCA Serving Erie County offers “Vets & Pets,” waiving adoption fees on most animals for individuals and immediate families of individuals on active duty, reserves, and honorable discharge, along with service-disabled veterans and those retired from military service. This program, a longtime SPCA tradition, is proudly brought to our community by philanthropist and SPCA supporter Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo!

Vets & Pets begins Monday, May 23 and runs through Monday, May 30* at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter and all SPCA off-site adoption locations.

Photos of all adoptable animals can be found here >>.

See a list of our off-site locations here >>.

Military ID or DD214 will need to be presented. If an individual is currently serving outside of New York State, that individual’s spouse can adopt during Vets & Pets if a military spouse identification card is presented. Adopters can apply the Vets & Pets waived adoption fee promotion toward a total of two animals.

Please contact SPCA Adoptions Supervisor Krissi Miranda with any questions: (716) 875-7360, ext. 233.

Vets and Pets, & the Effect of Animals on the Lives of Veterans: An open letter from the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth >>

*Please note: The SPCA’s West Seneca shelter is closed on Sunday and Monday, May 29 and 30, but many of the SPCA’s off-site adoption locations are open those two days! See a list of our off-site locations and photos of the animals available here. To be pre-approved to adopt an off-site pet, please call the SPCA’s Offsite Adoptions Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 235, or visit the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


May 16, 2022

 

Dear SPCA Friends & Family:

On Saturday morning May 14, members of our SPCA’s Humane Education Department embarked on a visit to Buffalo Public School #99, the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center, 1095 Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo. We were participants in an event teaching children about the different ways to safely express themselves and their feelings through art, words, music, and more.

Mere hours later, less than one mile away, ten lives were taken in a barbaric act of violence, rage, and racism.

The people we lost to this hatred, members of our community, were exceptional individuals who, we have learned, truly made the world a better place for those in their lives and for so many they didn’t even know. Our hearts go out to the victims, to their families, to all the people in our towns and cities and counties who are suffering from this hateful brutality.

The violence inflicted upon these individuals, and the violence that affects community members every single day in our neighborhoods, is something we must continue to fight together. With one voice. As one community.

The SPCA Serving Erie County stands committed to its work of putting an end to such violence. Our specific efforts in response to this weekend’s killings are slowly unfolding, but we are ready to bring our existing programs where they are needed most. Our Paws for Love therapy pet visitation teams are on notice, ready to step in at counseling events, therapy sessions, stress-relief events, and more to help suffering individuals cope with their feelings, fears, and emotions. Our Humane Education team is ready to bring our important message of anti-violence, inclusion, empathy, respect, compassion, and love to our community’s children. Our pet food pantry is already in the process of delivering pet food and litter to neighborhoods filled with pet owners who may have difficulty acquiring these items at this time.

We are certain there will be more opportunities for our humane society to assist in efforts designed to not only help with what happened this weekend, but to fill the needs that arise in Erie County every day.

Our SPCA has and will remain diligent in its contribution to the creation of a society more humane, more inclusive, more accepting, and more loving. This can only be accomplished when our entire community works together in solidarity against acts of bigotry, racism, hatred, and violence.

As always, we remain honored to serve the people of Erie County and beyond.

Committed to Kindness,


Cait Daly
President & CEO
SPCA Serving Erie County
CaitD@yourspca.org

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

This Month’s Vets and Pets, and the Effect of Animals on the Lives of Veterans

An open letter from the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth

May 1, 2022

Dear Fellow Veterans of Erie County (and beyond!),

First, thank you for your service!

Second, as a small token of appreciation for the service dedicated to this country we share, the SPCA Serving Erie County wants to invite the community at large to spread the word about an incredible promotion happening.  Between May 23rd and May 30th, the SPCA Serving Erie County is waiving adoption fees on most animals for individuals and immediate families of individuals on active duty, reserves, and honorable discharge, along with service-disabled veterans and those retired from military service.  This special offer for these special humans applies at our Harlem Rd location and multiple offsite locations.

As a veteran myself, of the US Army, I know firsthand the benefits of pet companionship.  My pets have seen me off on an overseas deployment and greeted me with unbridled enthusiasm upon my return(s) home.  The comfort of a pet is unlike anything else.  From a scientific standpoint, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Some studies have even found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.  Pets offer a sense of community and a safe haven in a world that sometimes just doesn’t make sense all the time.

People may often hear military troops refer to each other as brothers or sisters. The military creates a structure of shared work and deepens relationships through tough times.  After leaving the military, or even transitioning from active duty to the reserves, a veteran might find this part of their life lacking. There aren’t always built-in friendships in a new workplace or neighborhood. For single veterans, it could feel as though no one needs their presence to survive.

A furry friend can provide friendship and love, plus a reason to get out of bed every day. Our pets are entirely dependent on us to survive.  Pets are there 100% of the time. Dogs and cats are ready for snuggles, long conversations and play time. Many dogs, and even some cats, enjoy going for walks with their humans. Relationships and bonds are formed and deepen over time.

This promotion wouldn’t be available without the support of longtime friend and supporter of the SPCA, Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo.

If you have a former service-member in your life, please encourage them to take advantage of this Pets for Vets celebration.  The SPCA Serving Erie County is currently beyond capacity with animals that need loving homes.  They would be honored to share their lives and love with an area veteran.

Thank you for your support of the work of the SPCA Serving Erie County and for your service.

-Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services
United States Army



Veterans Day Reflections From the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth

Veterans Day 2021 — After almost 30 years of holding a role that serves the public in some way, I’m never without gratitude. I began my social service career following military service, and while the two may seem quite different, they are actually more similar than not.  These days I wake up and look forward to the moments and challenges that come with being the Vice President of Veterinary Services at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and around Veterans Day I tend to lean heavily towards reflection. This year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on what being a veteran off of the battlefield looks like through my eyes.

November 11, formally celebrated as Armistice Day, has been known as Veterans Day since 1954 when it was renamed. Veterans Day officially marks the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918 and honors those who served in the armed forces.

To those who served, and for those who love the men and women who have served, Veterans Day is more than just a holiday, and for some (myself included) it is a time of reflection on years of service and the impact that service has on the work in which we are involved now.  The ongoing pandemic may be fostering an environment in which resilience is front and center, but this year seemed to call for a written reflection on the ways in which my military service shows up in my work as an animal welfare professional.  Dogs and cats are very different than tanks and battlefields, yes.  But the basics of teamwork, trust, and training span across different industries where veterans may find themselves serving in a different capacity.

As a United States Army veteran, I’m proud of my service.  It was never easy, but it was always meaningful.  I could probably apply that statement to my work in animal welfare, especially as animal welfare has shifted over time to serve whole communities and commit to tackle issues from a social justice approach, versus simply treating the symptoms over and over.  My time in service shows up on a daily basis with regards to the value I place in people, and the trust we need to have with one another to do good work in an effort to really make lasting change.

Veterans bring a sense of resourcefulness, boldness, and leadership that is often not replicated in employees with civilian backgrounds. They’ve been faced with the challenge of getting a job done without access to the resources that would ideally be available.  This resourcefulness is a highly-desirable employee trait within the nonprofit sector, since it is always trying to grow, adapt, and meet the needs of people and animals with limited resources at hand. Veterans also bring a sharp ability to stick through difficult tasks and see them through to completion.

The military cultivates many traits that serve well in business and community service. It champions collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving. Innovation shows up because of people having to think on their feet. There were many circumstances where no one knew what was around the corner, or what challenge would arise, but a standing belief that runs deep in the military is that ‘there is always a way.’ When it comes to executing a mission, there’s a strong adherence to relying heavily on the collective creativity of the team to get the job done.  Teamwork truly does make the dream work.

The military produces individuals with uncanny adaptive thinking and a capacity and passion for continuing to learn. This learning environment focuses on personal development, as well as training and developing subordinates and peers. This acts as a force multiplier when a veteran is added to the staff of any organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit. Veterans work to develop a crew that can perform well together rather than focusing on the individual. This commitment to a greater cause becomes an ingrained culture that can improve the work habits of the entire team.

For fellow veterans, I thank you for your service.  For the loved ones of fellow veterans, I thank you for your support, trust, and commitment.  In the community where we all intersect, I invite us all to continue to find ways to collaborate, grow, and strengthen the bonds that truly unite us.  We are stronger together.

— Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Serving Erie County Vice President of Veterinary Services and former member of the United States Army


SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR
to benefit the SPCA Serving Erie County
In-person fair May 2-3 & 5-7, 2022

Online Book Fair >>

Ages 5 – 16
25% of your purchase benefits the SPCA!
Family-friendly pricing!

IN-PERSON
Visit the SPCA 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday & Tuesday, May 2 & 3, or Thursday -Saturday, May 5 – 7!

ONLINE
CLICK HERE to purchase books online, to meet popular authors, to watch book videos, and for direct access to more than 6,000 additional titles (plus nearly 300 titles listed by grade)!

MORE INFORMATION
Contact Director of Humane Education Christine Davis
(716) 875-7360, ext. 262 or
ChristineD@yourspa.org

Lab? Spaniel? Shepherd? Terrier? Chihuahua? Boxer? Husky? Hound? Bulldog? Newfie? We’ve asked these questions for 155 years. ONE. HUNDRED. FIFTY. FIVE. YEARS. It’s taken us this long to become unstuck! Watch as SPCA Pres/CEO Cait explains the SPCA’s newest dog breed ID policy!

See the science behind this change >>

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

 

 

SPCA Serving Erie County Assists BISSELL Pet Foundation in Air Transport of 150 Animals to Buffalo

April 21, 2022
By: Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

More than 150 animals will take to the skies the morning of Saturday, April 23 as the BISSELL Pet Foundation, assisted by the SPCA Serving Erie County, engages in a major animal transport to Buffalo.

The dogs and cats will arrive by air from Baton Rouge, LA to Buffalo, NY in “…an effort to relieve overcrowded shelters due to seasonal high intake, short-staffing, a shortage of shelter veterinarians, and slowing adoptions for larger dogs,” according to the BISSELL Pet Foundation in a recent press release.

The press release stated, “This lifesaving flight has been organized and made possible through BISSELL Pet Foundation. Our trusted partner, the SPCA Serving Erie County in Buffalo, NY, will be leading the ground team for unloading and distribution to other shelter partners.”

Fifteen of the transported dogs will stay at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and the other animals will be divided between eight other animal shelters in NY, OH, PA, even Toronto and Windsor, Canada.

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s Annual Giving Manager, Phillip Weiss, will depart for Louisiana from Buffalo Friday, April 22 and will return with the animals Saturday. The flight is scheduled to arrive in Buffalo between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at TAC-Air BUF, 50 North Airport Dr. in Cheektowaga.

“This will be such an exciting experience and I am very blessed to be a part of it,” Weiss says. “I can’t wait to represent the SPCA Serving Erie County and our region during this transport, and most importantly, help get these precious animals to Buffalo safely. These animals are coming from unfavorable situations and from shelters that do not have the resources and staffing to provide the care needed; they’ll now receive that care from us and the other receiving shelters. We are very fortunate to have such generous communities in our region that help us provide for these high-risk animals. Thank you to the Bissell Pet Foundation for making a huge difference in the lives of so many animals! ”

SPCA President/CEO Cait Daly couldn’t agree with Phil more. “We are honored to be working with the Bissell Foundation on this transport that will save the lives of these precious animals. We are incredibly grateful to our community for stepping up to foster, adopt, and donate. We could never do what we do without that support!”

“Transport is a lifeline to at-risk adoptable pets as shelters throughout the nation struggle with overcrowding,” said Cathy Bissell of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “BISSELL Pet Foundation is incredibly grateful for our shelter and rescue partners who have opened their doors to give these deserving pets a second chance.”

Photos and videos of the transport will be shared on the SPCA’s Facebook page >>  and other platforms. When the transported animals are available for adoption they will be listed, along with all other available animals, on the Adoptable Animals page of YourSPCA.org >>

 

A few behind-the-scenes photos sent by Phil on Friday afternoon:

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