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.



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UPI shares the coyote rescue >>

Wildlife Killing Contests Will be Illegal in New York After Governor Hochul Signs Bill; New York is the Tenth State Outlawing ‘Cruel Kill Contests’

December 26, 2023
By: Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On December 22, New York State became the tenth state in the nation to outlaw wildlife killing contests after Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.4099/A.2917 to protect wildlife by ending such competitions, derbies, and tournaments, killing of which Sierra magazine says most New Yorkers were unaware.

A press release issued by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states that the historic new law prohibits competitive events during which contestants compete to kill the most, the heaviest, and the smallest coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and other ecologically vital species for cash and prizes. Hundreds of animals may be killed at a single event and countless others may be injured. The HSUS release goes on to say that, during springtime contests, dependent young may be orphaned and left to die from starvation, predation or exposure. After the killing is over, the animals are often dumped like trash, away from the public eye.

The contests have no impact on population management, an argument often used by contest organizers and participants to justify the activity. Additionally, the legislation does not ban hunting or fishing.  

Championed by Assembly Member Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, and Senator Tim Kennedy D-Buffalo, this legislation was approved by bipartisan majorities in both the Assembly and Senate earlier this year. (See the full HSUS story >>)

SPCA Serving Erie County President/CEO Cait Daly says, “Once again, Governor Hochul has demonstrated her support for the kind and ethical treatment of animals. The Governor has asked us all to rise to a higher standard, and because of her fortitude, New York State is now one of a handful of states leading the nation in this effort: ending the senseless killing of our magnificent wildlife.”

“We are grateful for the governor’s action and recognize the bold leadership of Assembly Member Glick and Senator Kennedy for championing this law,” says Brian Shapiro, New York State director for the HSUS. “These inhumane, wasteful competitions must come to an end across the country once and for all.”

“The SPCA Serving Erie County’s mission is to create a more humane community that nurtures the bond between animals and people, and thanks to Governor Hochul and the choice to eliminate cruel kill contests, New York State can say that it is a more humane community for wildlife,” said Barbara Haney, SPCA director of wildlife. “Thank you, Governor Hochul, and all of our community members who stood up to voice their opposition to these heinous contests. May we continue to grow in kindness and compassion for wildlife and each other.”

Read the full HSUS announcement >>

VICTORY! NYS Outlaws Wildlife Kill Contests >>

From Sierra, The Magazine of the Sierra Club:

Thousands of Wild Animals Are Killed Annually in New York for Fun; New Yorkers urge Governor Hochul to sign a wildlife killing contests bill before the end of the year

By: Lindsey Botts
November 13, 2023

Sierra magazine featured  a thorough and comprehensive article today written by Lindsey Botts, digital editor at the magazine. In the article, Botts says, “Many wildlife organizations, such as Project Coyote and the Humane Society, say most New Yorkers have no idea animals are killed in this way and warn these contests are an ineffective way to manage a species. One Humane Society survey from last year found that over 80 percent of respondents opposed wildlife killing contests. As far as impacts on livestock, the number of sheep in New York—the state’s primary livestock—has remained steady around 80,000, for years, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. And the NY Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that the state may have too many deer.  

“The coalition of advocates also says that rapacious killing is unnecessarily cruel and unethical. Small- to medium-sized predators play a crucial role in keeping ecosystems healthy. They prey on rodents such as mice, reducing the spread of ticks and Lyme disease, and they eat sick and weak animals, ensuring that healthy individuals live on the landscape. These contests also undermine the state’s ability to recover wolves, an endangered species at the federal and state levels. In December 2021, a hunter shot a wolf and told the state wildlife agency that he thought it was a coyote. ”

Read the informative article in its entirety here >>

Read the full article in Sierra >>


Buffalo News subscribers can read the full article written by the SPCA’s Cait Daly & Barbara Haney! Just click on the image below! 

No Buffalo News subscription? No problem! Read the full
letter by clicking here >>

Contact Govenor Hochul by phone:
1-518-474-8390 | Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Contact Govenor Hochul by website contact form:

Contact Govenor Hochul by mail:
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

August 7, 2023

From The Buffalo News:

Letter: Governor should sign wildlife bill into law
As a proud Eagle Scout and Buffalo native, I’ve been following national coverage of Sen. Tim Kennedy’s bill to end wildlife for cash competitions (“New York considers ban on cash prize contests for hunting coyotes, squirrels, some other wildlife” July 20).

The Outdoor Code is an integral part of every scout’s commitment to treat our land with respect and follow principled outdoor ethics. “I will learn about and practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife and energy. I will urge others to do the same.”

More on ending wildlife kill contests >>

Therefore, I respectfully ask Gov. Kathy Hochul to protect our natural resources by signing S.4099 into law. Doing so will ensure proper stewardship and care of our state’s precious wildlife.

Nicholas Hassett

See this letter at BuffaloNews.com >>

Bill to Ban Brutal Wildlife Killing Contests in NYS Passes Both Houses, Now Heads to Gov. Hochul

July 13, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA and other animal welfare organizations across the nation have been diligent in efforts to end barbaric wildlife killing contests (see original story and accompanying articles here >>) and the New York State bill that would outlaw these cruel acts passed both the state Senate and Assembly last month. The bill is now headed to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk, and the SPCA Serving Erie County is working hard to spread the message about the realities of such barbaric activities, asking people to contact Governor Hochul to urge her to sign the bill outlawing these brutal acts once and for all.

More on wildlife killing contests >>

SPCA President/CEO Cait Daly and Director of Wildlife Barbara Haney have written the following emotional message regarding the importance of outlawing this immoral activity, further encouraging community members to contact the Governor asking for her support. Governor Hochul’s contact information is included below the message. 


The SPCA Serving Erie County has continually been a leader in rallying the moral fiber of our community on issues of animal cruelty. For 156 years we have been there for our animals to champion them and to mature with the community in our efforts to protect them. We must cry out once more, this time for our wildlife.

Over the last few years, we have watched some of our local communities and counties participating in wildlife kill contests, encouraging participants to compete for cash and other prizes for killing the most, the largest, or even the smallest foxes, bobcats, coyotes, squirrels, crows, and other species over a weekend.

We were horrified at the documentation and photos that the Humane Society of the United States acquired that showed dumpsters filled with discarded carcasses of animals. What makes this especially sad is that there is no logical, scientific reason that we can find that may justify dumpsters of dead animals.

Indeed, science unequivocally refutes the claims that this is population control. The evidence goes back for over a century that indiscriminate killing in some species only causes population numbers to grow. This is clearly shown in coyote population biology and cited in numerous studies and recognized by several wildlife agencies across the country, including the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Indiscriminate, wanton killing does not manage the population. In fact, quite the opposite. The indiscriminate killing of coyotes can cause a population spike, disrupting the family units, wreaking havoc on the environment. Reason and science alone beg one to find these contests immoral, but it goes further when we consider that wildlife is sovereign and should be a resource held in the public trust for ALL New Yorkers.

S4099 is the legislation that would finally end the wildlife kill contests. Nothing in the proposed legislation changes hunting seasons, bag limits, or any other regulations. Deer, turkey, and bear are exempt from the bill as the state already tightly regulates the seasonal hunting of these species. This bill focuses solely on one thing, ending the use of killing wildlife for cash profits.

In June, this bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support. It now sits in the hands of our very own Governor Kathy Hochul. We implore Governor Hochul to eradicate this practice for the public good.

The SPCA Serving Erie County, one of only a handful of humane societies in the country with a fully-outfitted Wildlife Department, sets the standards for ethics and best practices in caring for and living with wildlife. Let us become the ninth state* to ban these contests. Let us finally put an end to this antiquated practice of killing contests that have no scientific or moral foundation.

Supporters and WNY residents, please contact Governor Hochul using the contact information below and voice your support for this important bill. We respectfully urge Governor Hochul, a Buffalo native, to sign this bill into law. We would be proud to become the ninth state to prohibit these selfish and unnecessary competitions!

SPCA Serving Erie County President/CEO Caitlin Daly
(716) 875-7360, ext. 250

SPCA Director of Wildlife Barbara Haney
(716) 875-7360, ext. 220

Contact Governor Hochul by phone:
1-518-474-8390 | Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm

Contact Governor Hochul by website contact form:

Contact Governor Hochul by mail:
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

*Wildlife killing contests are banned in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington.


A coyote in the woods.

Submit form urging Gov. Hochul to sign bill banning wildlife killing contests >>

A message from the SPCA’s Cait Daly & Barbara Haney >>

Words from HSUS NYS Director Brian Shapiro >>

Update, July 2023 — Last month the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the bill to end brutal wildlife killing contests. It now heads to the desk of Governor Kathy Hochul, whose approval would make New York State the ninth state in the nation to outlaw such kills. Those interested in encouraging Governor Hochul to sign S. 4099 into law can call (518) 474-8390, or contact her using an on-line contact form here >>


In wildlife killing contests, participants compete to kill coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and other ecologically vital species for cash and prizes. Hundreds of animals may be killed at a single event and countless others may be injured. During springtime contests, dependent young may be orphaned and left to die from starvation, predation or exposure. After the killing is over, the animals are often dumped like trash, away from the public eye.

“It is not a sport, it is not hunting, it is the killing of wildlife.” –NYS Senator Timothy Kennedy told WGRZ-TV in February.

Stopping these contests would not reduce opportunities to hunt coyotes or other wildlife, prohibit big buck competitions or fishing tournaments, prevent the lethal control of wildlife to protect livestock or outlaw field dog trials. It would simply prohibit the competitive killing of wildlife for frivolous prizes. All wildlife species play an important role in healthy ecosystems. It’s time for New York to join Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland and the five other states that have already outlawed these cruel, unsporting and ecologically destructive events.


Please send a message to your state legislators urging them to support A.2917/S.4099 to end wildlife killing contests, using the form found here >>> . You can also take action using the Wolf Conservation Center form here >>>. Be sure to personalize it so your message stands out.

Send a message to legislators here >>

Additional action through Wolf Conservation Center >>

FAQs on wildlife killing contests >>

See this story on WGRZ-TV >>

Editorial in The Buffalo News >>

Editorial in The Daily Gazette >>

June article by ESPN Radio >>

August letter by local Eagle Scout to Buffalo News Editor >>

Cait Daly & Barb Haney letter in Buffalo News Aug. 30 >>


–SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

June 7, 2023 — In light of the dangerous air quality in New York State as a result of the Canadian wildfires, the SPCA shares important information on animals and wildfire smoke from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) . Find that information, which includes caring for pets, livestock, horses, and wildlife, at  bit.ly/AVMA-WildfireSmoke.

Dogs at the SPCA Serving Erie County will only be taken outdoors to relieve themselves, and there will be a pause on the Doggie Entourage program until the poor air quality warnings are lifted. Thank you for your understanding.

See this story on WGRZ-TV >>

SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Injured Bald Eagle Rescued by SPCA Serving Erie County After Buffalo Police Hear “Loud Crash” Outside Building Yesterday

May 25, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

See the full story from WGRZ-TV on “2 The Outdoors” >>

UPDATE 5/31/23: Congratulations to WGRZ-TV Ch. 2 photographer Terry Belke! This month, Terry won an award for his story on this bald eagle rescue and release from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association! Terry received first place in the Excellence in Craft for TV, Radio, and Audio category! (By the way, he also tied for third place in the same category!) See more on this coveted distinction here >>.
Terry, we are honored you chose to tell this story, and convey the emotion and sentiment associated with this beautiful animal, her rehabilitation, and her release!  

UPDATE 9/12/21: This afternoon, the injured bald eagle found by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County returned to the skies of Western New York! As detailed below, the eagle was operated on by staff at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital on May 27, and on June 30, the incredible team at Messinger Woods Wildlife Care & Education Center, Inc. in Holland, NY  picked up the eagle for extensive rehabilitation led by Marianne Hites! Today, the Messinger Woods team (pictured here), joined by members of the SPCA and local media, released the bald eagle at Wendt Beach in Derby, NY! Check out video of the release below:

See the full release video complete with photos here >>

To learn more about Messinger Woods and the fine work the organization does in caring for the wildlife of our community, please visit their Facebook page here >>

Thank you to all who played a part in this gorgeous creature’s return to our skies. An entire community came together to save her life, from the Buffalo Police to members of the SPCA Serving Erie County, to the team at Cornell, and finally to the crew at Messinger Woods. Neither the SPCA Serving Erie County or Messinger Woods would be able to do the work the organizations do and save the lives of so many animals each year if it wasn’t for the donors who make our work possible. On behalf of Messinger Woods and the Wildlife team at the SPCA Serving Erie County, thank you to the donors who help us give these animals second chances.

UPDATE 5/28/21: On Wednesday, May 26, the bald eagle spotted by members of the Buffalo Police Department & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was transported to Ithaca, NY. The eagle was dropped off at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital for surgery on a severely fractured femur; the center wanted him immediately because, as our own Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote and Wildlife Director Barbara Haney explained earlier this week, after that fracture the muscles contract and can make surgery much more difficult.

Today, we heard from staff there that the eagle is doing “great” after surgery! Now he’ll have time to rest and they will create a rehabilitation plan for him. Exciting news for the eagle, and for this community!

Also of note: in the photo here, you’ll notice a thin, thread-like spike (for lack of a better word!) at the tip of the eagle’s wings. Barbara Haney tells us that is indicative of the eagle’s status as a first-year eagle born sometime this calendar year, probably February or March. According to the National Eagle Center website, bald eagles fledge at approximately 10 – 14 weeks, which tells us he has not been out of the nest for long.

We may not receive another eagle update from the wildlife hospital for a few weeks, but when we do, we will definitely share that update with you.

Once again, we thank the members of this community for your care and compassion. Your constant support of all types is what makes our work possible.

UPDATE 5/26/21: The bald eagle spotted by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was dropped off moments ago by the SPCA’s Gina Lattuca at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, an annex of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. He was photographed upon admission. We will provide updates on his progress as they are made available. Thank you to this caring, compassionate community, for all of the interest in and prayers for this magnificent bird. Your concern, your donations, and your constant support of all types are what make our work possible.

A juvenile bald eagle is in critical condition at the Wildlife Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a high building window in the City of Buffalo yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

The SPCA received the call yesterday afternoon from Tracy Masiello, crime analyst for Erie County, after Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino and Officer David O’Brien heard a loud crash outside of their offices at Court and Franklin Streets in Buffalo. They ran outside and there, across the street, a large bird was struggling on the sidewalk. The crash they heard was the bird flying into a window of a building across the street, approximately 30 feet high.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

“He tried to raise himself four or five times, but he was struggling and we could see he couldn’t lift up,” Detective Costantino said today. Despite the fact that the bird didn’t have a full white-feathered head, Detective Costantino said he knew right away that the bird was a bald eagle. “He was enormous, and his talons were so large, I could tell we were looking at an eagle.”

After receiving the call from Masiello, SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Rescue Team Officers Jennifer Maleskis and Tyler Robertson arrived at the location, retrieved the young bird, and rushed him to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department hospital, where they were met by Wildlife Director Barbara Haney and, within the hour, SPCA Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote.

  “By the time the bird made it to us, he was obviously quite stressed,” says Haney. “In addition to not being able to stand, he had an injury on his beak and blood in his mouth. He was open-mouthed breathing, a clear sign of his high stress level.”

Dr. Slote was able to provide an initial examination and determined the bird, a first-year bald eagle, has a fractured femur. Further assessment and radiographs this afternoon confirmed a severe fracture.

“We are doing everything we can for this magnificent bird, considering its compromised state at the moment,” said Haney, when asked whether the bird will survive. “We’re careful not to provide any solid prognosis at this time because the bird is still in critical condition and the outcome is uncertain.”

At this time, Dr. Slote will consult with wildlife professionals at Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Center, and will send them her assessment of the eagle along with the radiograph images. If the bird survives and responds to the supportive care, fluids, and medications it is receiving at the SPCA, Haney says, “…then it’s our hope that, once he is strong and stable, Cornell will accept the bird for surgery. The surgical team at Cornell is much better-suited for this sort of surgery…they perform it much more frequently…and they have the equipment and the pins and the other necessities large enough and strong enough for this extremely large animal.”

Haney adds, “Our primary hope right now is that the bird does, in fact, survive. That’s what we’re focused on right now. We’re doing everything in our power to help his survival so that we can actually have that discussion with Cornell about surgery and rehabilitation.”

This eagle is not the first cared for by the SPCA Serving Erie County Wildlife Department. “Eagles have made quite a comeback in the last 30 years or so,” Haney said, “and we’re starting to see them in all parts of Western New York, the City of Buffalo included. It’s possible this bird became disoriented for what could be one of several reasons, possibly even due to his reflection in the window of the high building, or he may have been in a territorial scuffle with a peregrine falcon, as hypothesized by our contacts at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”

The SPCA wishes to thank Buffalo Police Detective Costantino, Buffalo Police Officer O’Brien, and Erie County Crime Analyst Masiello for their cooperation, and for contacting our officers when they found the eagle and saw that it was in distress.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org/EagleRescue2021 for updates on the bald eagle.

Thank you to Detective Costantino, for providing us with the video and photographs from the scene of the rescue.

YOU can be part of saving these beautiful, wild animals in Erie County! Consider making a gift to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department right here >>



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