PUPS AT THE PEN Trainee Sora Receives the Best Graduation Gift of All: A New Family!

January 21, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Erie County Jail Management Superintendent Tom Diina adopts inmate-trained pup

More than 50 dogs have graduated from the locally-dubbed “Pups at the Pen” program sponsored by the SPCA Serving Erie County and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. But it took one dog’s eyes, resemblance to a pet recently lost, and charisma that jumped right out of the photo to catch the eye…and heart…of Tom Diina, Erie County jail management superintendent.

Pups at the Pen began in the summer of 2016 and allows dogs from the SPCA Serving Erie County to reside with female inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility. The women are trained by a professional dog trainer to work with the dogs, providing a level of behavior lessons and attention that wouldn’t be possible in a shelter setting. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office credits the program as leading to better behavior by inmates at the facility and a reduced re-offense rate, while it helps shelter dogs learn important behavior lessons that contribute to faster adoptions.

In December, Sora, a one-year-old brown-eyed girl, was sent to the correctional facility as the SPCA’s latest Pups at the Pen candidate, and it didn’t take long for staff there to send Diina photos of their newest temporary resident. Noting a resemblance to a pet to whom the Diina family recently had to say sad goodbyes, Diina decided to meet Sora. The connection was immediate and led to the best grad gifts Sora could have hoped for six weeks later on graduation day: a new family and a new home!

Jan. 20, 2020 — Sora is the newest family member of the Diina family! Here, she and dad Tom prepare for the ride home from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden!

With the help of the SPCA’s Matt Cicatello and trainer Melissa Staniszewski of Sit n Stay Pet Services in Orchard Park, Monday’s graduation ceremony and adoption turned into a heartwarming story shared locally and by media outlets throughout the nation on Monday!

After two days in her new home, Diina tells us Sora has already made their home her own and is keeping her new four-footed sister, Marci, very busy!

Check out some of the stories as told by Newsradio 930 WBEN, WIVB-TV, WKBW-TV, Spectrum News, and just a few of the other news outlets elsewhere in the country that carried the story:
– ABC7 in NYC
KMOV4 in St. Louis
– CBS 46 in Atlanta

For more information on Pups at the Pen or SPCA adoptions, please contact the SPCA Serving Erie County at 716-875-7360.

SPCA Chief Development Officer Jennifer Kathleen Gurz Has Been Awarded the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) Designation

From CFRE INTERNATIONAL:

Alexandria, VA – CFRE International has named Jennifer Kathleen Gurz as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

Jennifer Kathleen Gurz, Chief Development Officer for SPCA Serving Erie County joins over 6,700 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation.

Individuals granted the CFRE credential have met a series of standards set by CFRE International which include tenure in the profession, education, and demonstrated fundraising achievement. They have also passed a rigorous written examination testing the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of
a fundraising executive, and have agreed to uphold Accountability Standards and the Donor Bill of Rights.

“The CFRE credential was created to identify for the public and employers those individuals who possess the knowledge, skills, and commitment to perform fundraising duties in an effective and ethical manner,” states CFRE International President and CEO Eva E. Aldrich, Ph.D., CAE, (CFRE
2001-2016). “As the certification is a voluntary achievement, the CFRE certification demonstrates a high level of commitment on the part of Jennifer Kathleen Gurz to the fundraising profession and the donors who are served.”

CFRE recipients are awarded certification for a three-year period. To maintain certification status, certificants must demonstrate on-going fundraising employment and fundraising results and continue with their professional education. Employers and donors who work with CFREs know they are getting a professional who is committed to the best outcomes for their organization and has the requisite knowledge and skills.

The CFRE certification signifies a confident, ethical fundraising professional.

Since 1981, CFRE has set standards for fundraising professionals. As the only globally-recognized fundraising certification, CFRE indicates professionalism, confidence, and ethics. It is how today’s fundraiser shows accountability, service, and commitment to making a difference for good. The CFRE  certification program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute and is the only accredited certification for fundraising professionals.

As the premier global credential for career fundraisers, the CFRE designation is endorsed and supported by the world’s leading professional and philanthropic associations, including:

Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP)
Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC)
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE)
Association of Philanthropic Counsel (APC)
Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BCGA)
Brazilian Fundraisers Association (ABCR)
China Association of Fundraising Professionals (CAFP)
Canadian Association of Gift Planners—Association Canadienne des Professionnels en Dons
Planifies (CAGP-ACPDP)
Educate Plus
European Fundraising Association (EFA)
Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA)
Fundraising Institute New Zealand (FINZ)
The Giving Institute
Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)
Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA)
International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC)
Japan Fundraising Association (JFRA)
Kenya Association of Fundraising Professionals (KAFP)
Korea Society of Philanthropy (KSoP)
National Association of Cancer Center Development Officers (NACCDO)
National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP)
National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC)
Nepal Center for Philanthropy and Development (NCPD)
New England Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (NEAHP)
North American YMCA Development Organization (NAYDO)
Texas Association of Community College Foundations (TACCF)
United Way Worldwide (UWW)
Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives

CFRE International congratulates Jennifer Kathleen Gurz for achieving the CFRE designation.

For more information please visit http://www.cfre.org or call +1 703.820.5555.

Further details on the 2019 CFRE class are available here.

SPCA CONTINUES ‘TALE FOR TWO’ READING PROGRAM IN 2020

January 7, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Register your child for Tale for Two here >>

The SPCA Serving Erie County will continue its popular Tale for Two reading program throughout the 2020 school year!

Tale For Two encourages children ages 6 – 15 to read aloud to adoptable animals at the SPCA. Animals benefit from the increased socialization and reduced stress levels, while children work on their literacy and reading skills, building their self-esteem and confidence.

This year’s reading sessions, available in groups of 6 sessions (program cost: $40 for 6 sessions; discounts on additional sessions) or 12 sessions (program cost: $70 for 12 sessions; discounts on additional sessions) are available on Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter. Sibling discounts are available. Reading sessions are 30 minutes in length.

Children can bring their own reading materials, or make a selection from the SPCA’s library.

Register your child for Tale for Two here >>

Please contact SPCA Humane Education Director Christine Davis with questions: HumaneEducation@yourspca.org.

See additional Tale for Two photos here >>

LOCAL BAKERIES: SUGAR-COATING THE HOLIDAY SEASON FOR THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WITH “SWEETS UNLEASHED!”

November 27, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

This year, six local bakeries will brighten the spirits of animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County by participating in “Sweets Unleashed!”

December 1-12, visit one of these local bakeries for a special Sweets Unleashed deal! A portion of your fee will be donated to the SPCA Serving Erie County!

JUST SAY CHEESECAKE
106 Webster Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120 * https://www.justsaycheesecakecafe.com/
($2 from every petit four sold will be donated)

DONUT KRAZE
365 Somerville Avenue, Tonawanda, NY 14150 * http://donutkrazebuffalo.com
($2 from every dozen donuts sold at Tonawanda location ONLY will be donated)

EARLY BIRD BAKERY & CAFÉ
85 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY 14086 * https://www.earlybirdlancaster.com
(50 cents from every cinnamon bun sold will be donated)

FRY BABY DONUT COMPANY
336 S. Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 * https://www.facebook.com/FRYBABYDONUTS
(Item to be determined)

MUSCOREIL’S FINE DESSERTS, GOURMET CAKES & BISTRO
3960 Niagara Falls Boulevard, North Tonawanda, NY 14120 * https://muscoreils.com
($1.50-$5 per every bag of gourmet dog treats sold will be donated)

WHEATBERRY BAKE SHOP
3985 Harlem Road, Snyder, NY 14226 * http://www.wheatberrybakeshop.com
(15% of all vegan sales will be donated)

For more information, visit our Sweets Unleashed page here!

Buffalo Bills Visit SPCA Veterans in NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’

November 13, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, members of the Buffalo Bills visited veterans connected in some way with the SPCA Serving Erie County as part of the NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’ program!

From the Buffalo Bills: “In recognition of the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign, the Buffalo Bills joined local military veterans at the SPCA Serving Erie County on Tuesday to engage with adoptable animals, and promote the good work the SPCA does for our community. The SPCA’s Paws & Patriots program was developed for veterans in our community in need of giving and receiving special love and attention, and for animals at the SPCA who need exactly the same.”

Honored for past or current service were Joseph Browning, Brian Buck (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Sam), Bruce Clugston, Peter Cooley, Keith Foss, Gary Gonzalez, Dennis Hennessey, Timothy Joyner (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Bruno), Anthony Lattuca, Ray Mandel, John Miller, Allan Monaco (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Jake),  Richard Sansone (posthumous recognition), Steven Tuttle, and SPCA staff member Laura Zaranek.

Also on hand to add to the evening’s excitement were SPCA Paws for Love volunteers Brittany Betts (with Brody), Marcy Baumgarden (with Yankee and Dodger), and Deborah Williams (with Sam)!

The SPCA Serving Erie County extends a heartfelt thanks to the NFL and the Buffalo Bills for helping us honor veterans while shining a spotlight on the Paws and Patriots program here at the SPCA for the second year in a row.

If you are a veteran or active service man or woman and would like to learn more about the SPCA’s Paws and Patriots program, encouraging those who have served to work with SPCA shelter pets, please send an email to PawsandPatriots@yourspca.org.

Check out the Buffalo Bills’ photo album here, or by clicking the image below:

See WKBW-TV Ch. 7’s story here, or by clicking the image below:

See WIVB-TV Ch. 4’s story here, or by clicking the image below:

For more information, please contact Terry Belke: Terry.Belke@wgrz.com

From the Amherst Bee: click the image below to see how Amherst Middle School is dedicating the year to helping the SPCA Serving Erie County’s “Paws for Love” program!


To celebrate the men and women of the armed services this Veterans Day, the SPCA Serving Erie County offers “Vets & Pets,” waiving adoption fees on most animals for individuals on active duty, reserves, and honorable discharge, along with service-disabled veterans and those retired from military service!

Vets & Pets begins Friday, November 1 and runs through Monday, November 11 at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter and all SPCA offsite adoption locations.

Photos of adoptable animals are available here, and a list of offsite adoption locations, their addresses, and photos of animals at these sites can be found here.

Military ID or DD214 will need to be presented.

Vets & Pets is proudly sponsored by the Buffalo Bills Foundation, philanthropist Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo, and Paul’s Jewelry Designs!

In fact, all this week, Paul will be offering custom-engraved pet ID tags for $19.95, with proceeds donated to the SPCA Serving Erie County! Pet ID tags are available in store at 12 N. Ellicott Creek Rd., Amherst, or pre-order online and pick up in store. For more information on pet ID tags, contact Paul’s Jewelry Designs at 716-691-0000 or paul@paulsdesigns.com.

More information to follow. Contact SPCA Adoptions with any questions: 716-875-7360, ext. 233.