First Dog Adoption at SPCA’s New West Seneca Shelter Unites Pups at the Pen Dog with the Former Erie County Correctional Facility Inmate Who Trained Him

April 17, 2017
By: Gina Browning, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

Dog adoptions opened for the first time at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter this afternoon, and the very first dog adoption was special for a number of reasons!

Jed, an eight-month-old Pit Bull Terrier mix, was transported from the overcrowded Humane Society of the Delta in Arkansas via the Wings of Rescue Flight of the Valentines on February 14. When he arrived at the SPCA Serving Erie County, he was very timid; because SPCA representatives were concerned over whether he’d adapt to shelter life, Jed was placed in the Pups at the Pen program, a joint effort between the SPCA Serving Erie County and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department.

Through Pups at the Pen, SPCA dogs are sent to live with female inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, NY. The dogs live with the inmates for six weeks learning valuable skills and socialization techniques, all while receiving a level of attention and training they may not be able to receive in a busy shelter setting.

The inmates working with the animals report improved self-esteem and increased senses of responsibility and accountability.

When Jed first arrived at the correctional facility, the SPCA received reports that he gravitated toward one inmate in particular, Mercedes Castillo, and the two formed a close bond during training sessions. Castillo was released from the facility just a short time before Jed’s graduation, and upon her release, contacted SPCA officials to tell them she’d be in to adopt Jed when dog adoptions finally opened in West Seneca!

That day was today, and late this morning Castillo visited the new shelter to adopt Jed in what turned out to be the SPCA Serving Erie County’s first official dog adoption from the new West Seneca site.

Read more about today’s adoption in Aaron Besecker’s Buffalo News article.

For more information on Pups at the Pen or animal adoptions, contact the SPCA: 716-875-7360.