John Lattimer’s Fortieth Employment Anniversary with the SPCA
By Barbara Haney, Wildlife Department Director
June 25, 2021: This week marked the 40th anniversary of John Lattimer’s employment at the SPCA and it’s my understanding that he was a volunteer prior to being on staff. What a huge accomplishment!! In the world of animal welfare, John has lived and worked through tremendous changes. Indeed, when he started 40 years ago it was not routine to have veterinary services at humane societies, nor were there routine spay and neuter surgeries at animal shelters. John’s contributions to the SPCA cannot be overstated. We are tremendously blessed by having him as part of our SPCA family and his skills as a veterinary technician have influenced our industry and most certainly this community.
John’s compassion for animals led to his founding of the Wildlife Department and for that I can say that I’m truly grateful for his compassion and innovation. In the late 1980s wildlife rehabilitation was not a part of most humane societies and even today it is the exception if a shelter cares for wildlife. The SPCA Serving Erie County is only one of a handful of humane societies that has a Wildlife Department. We are quite lucky in Western New York to be able to provide care for more than our domestic friends. John’s foresight and caring has led to one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centers in New York state and we lead the industry in our innovation and skills at providing care for wildlife.
For many years after starting the Wildlife Department, John was a veterinary technician in the infirmary working mainly with domestic animals. John has been called on to do some of the saddest things in animal welfare and has had his heart broken due to numerous animals’ sad stories, but what makes him different is that instead of retreating, he just keeps trying to do more for animals. In fact, no matter when you call him, he’ll answer the call and help. He rarely says no. John now works part-time in the Wildlife Department, and he is flexible and helps whenever he can, changing his schedule to cover shifts whenever needed. He does what’s needed to care for wildlife in our community. He’ll drive to pick up injured wildlife, work late to attend to animals, and listen to the community who call with concerns and questions.
John has fostered hundreds of animals over the years, caring for animals on his time off. But, during all his compassionate work caring for animals, John has maintained a healthy personal life in which he enjoys camping, playing golf, and even starting the SPCA’s softball team years ago! He is a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Anyone who knows John knows he’s a kind and solid individual. I am honored to work with John and value my time with him. I think of John as the heart and soul of the SPCA and we wouldn’t be where we are right now without. Thank you, John for all that you’ve done and all that you continue to do for the animals and the people of this community. We are eternally grateful for your contributions.