HALLOWEEN: MAKE IT A TREAT FOR YOUR PETS TOO!

October 22, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

WITH A FEW EXTRA PRECAUTIONS, PETS CAN HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOO!

Halloween is meant to be fun for children of all ages, but according to the SPCA Serving Erie County, pets often experience the dark side of Halloween fun.  With extra precautions, seasonal problems can often be avoided:

-HUNGRY PETS:  CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO YOUR PET!  Please share this tip with children, who may be tempted to share their Halloween take with their best four-footed friends! The sweet smell of Halloween chocolate and other candy left by a door pleases pets, as do cookies and cakes served at Halloween parties. Sweets can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or worse.  Purchase Halloween treats made specifically for pets and keep the “people” treats away from where pets can reach them.

-PETS AS VICTIMS:  Halloween is traditionally known for trick-or-treaters…and pranksters.  KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE on Halloween night, and the nights immediately preceding and following October 31.  This will prevent them from being stolen, teased, kicked, blinded by flashlights or abused in other ways.

-NERVOUS/TERRITORIAL PETS:  Constant door-knocking or doorbell-ringing may cause an extremely nervous pet to shake or tremble uncontrollably, or have an “accident” in the house.  Territorial pets may become aggressive at the sound of unfamiliar visitors.  Keep nervous or territorial pets distracted in another room with the door closed.

-CURIOUS PETS:  Keep pets away from costume-making areas, where sequins or buttons can be swallowed.  Scissors used for cutting patterns, or knives used for carving jack o’lanterns, can harm your pet.  Also remember to keep pets away from a candle-illuminated jack o’lantern.  Halloween has become a popular season for decorations as well.  Keep decorations out of your pet’s reach, or securely attached in place to prevent your pet from pulling the decorations down.  Swallowing a decorative object may cause intestinal problems and present a potential emergency.

-KEEP CURRENT ID ON PETS: Exuberant or nervous pets may bolt out doors opened for trick-or-treat candy handouts. Ensure they are wearing proper identification (even if they are microchipped) in case they become lost. Collars are available for purchase at the SPCA Petique, located at the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter, and other pet supply shops. If you lose or find a pet, visit the SPCA’s Lost & Found page for tips on what to do next.

Contact the SPCA Serving Erie County with any questions or concerns: 716-875-7360.

Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane and Wife Hayley Kick Off “Bills Muttfia” for SPCA Serving Erie County Animals

September 12, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The Beane Family

Another member of the Buffalo Bills will be scoring for the animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County this football season!

Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane and his wife, Hayley, will pay the adoption fee of one animal for every home game touchdown all season long!

The Bills Muttfia program, conceived by the Beanes, picks up where Hauschpups left off.

Last season, former Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka and his wife, Lindsey, paid the adoption fee of one dog, or Hauschpup, for every home field goal kicked. Because Stephen is no longer with the team, Lindsey, an ardent animal lover, asked friend Hayley if there was any way the program could be continued in some form.

The Beanes, staunch supporters of pet adoption and owners of two rescue dogs (Bodie and Peanut Beane, pictured here!), immediately jumped at the chance to reimagine a similar program to help the SPCA Serving Erie County place animals with loving families more quickly.

For every home game touchdown scored by the Buffalo Bills, the Beanes will pay the adoption fee of one SPCA animal. Dogs, cats, small animals, birds, reptiles, even farm animals will be drafted into the Bills Muttfia depending on the SPCA’s population on game day. New Muttfia team members will be announced on the SPCA’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) at noon the day after each home game.

“No matter what happens at work, good day, bad day, you win 40 to nothing, lose 40 to nothing, your dogs are fired up to see you when you come in the door, and that’s a cool feeling, the love and nurturing that they bring to the family,” Brandon Beane says in a BuffaloBills.com video focused on the Beanes and the importance of pet adoption.

“I think adopting is so important because you have shelters that are just full,” says Hayley, who toured the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter Sept. 10, in the same video.

This season’s Bills Muttfia draft will begin with the Buffalo Bills’ first home game Sunday, September 13, against the New York Jets.

For more on Bills Muttfia, watch this BuffaloBills.com video or read Vic Carucci’s article in the Buffalo News.

See the animals drafted into the Bills Muttfia this season right here >>

See adoptable animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County >>

 

BID NOW!
Remember when there was hockey in Buffalo? Think back. When last we left the ice, the Buffalo Sabres were in the midst of celebrating their 50th anniversary….and announcer Dan Dunleavy is one of the people you’d often hear calling each Sabres’ goal. Now, Dan, longtime SPCA supporter, is the one scoring for the animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and you can get the assist!

Buffalo Sabres broadcasters Marty Biron, Brian Duff, Rick Jeanneret, Dan, and Rob Ray are auctioning off the commemorative gold blazers they wore this season, and Dan is donating the proceeds from his blazer auction to the animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County! Dan will personally sign his jacket to the winning bidder, and to complete the hat trick, his jacket will also be signed by fan favorites Jeanneret and Ray!

YOU can get the assist on this goal! Bid now through
9:15 p.m. August 23, and bring a little hockey history home! Place your bid and learn more at https://auctions.nhl.com/iSynApp/auctionDisplay.action?auctionId=3280575

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WELCOMES THREE NEW STAFF MEMBERS IN VETERINARY SERVICES AND ALL-NEW ANIMAL BEHAVIOR & RESEARCH DEPARTMENTS

August 10, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County is pleased to announce the hiring of three new staff members, two in its Veterinary Services Department and one in its redesigned Animal Behavior & Research Department.

MELANIE RUSHFORTH (holding Sophie) is the SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services. After working in the human services industry, Rushforth became the Executive Director of Northwest Spay & Neuter Center in Tacoma, WA in 2014. During her tenure, Rushforth stabilized the clinic’s income stream while maintaining a focus on cost-management. More than 70,000 animals were altered, the organization’s animal transport program expanded from three to 16 counties served, and registered partner relationships with other animal welfare organizations grew from one to 83. Rushforth has presented at national animal welfare conferences and symposiums.

Together with her staff in the SPCA’s infirmary and in the public Stanford & Judith C. Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA, Rushforth will help the SPCA design and deliver compassionate, efficient medical services to the animals in its care. Rushforth is committed to increasing efforts to keep pets in loving homes by making the SPCA a resource for affordable care and by providing educational resources surrounding prevention and ongoing wellness.

“I’m excited to be at the SPCA Serving Erie County because it is such a cornerstone of Western New York,” says Rushforth. “It is rich with history and deep roots that demonstrate compassionate service and the ability to evolve over time to meet the needs of the community. I’m looking forward to being part of the work that meets the whole family, human and animal, where they are in an effort to preserve and maintain a healthy bond for life.”

Rushforth shares her home and heart with four cats and “…one perfect, senior dog.”


DR. ALLISON KEAN is returning to the SPCA Serving Erie County, this time as Shelter Veterinarian. Her duties will include performing surgery and managing medical cases for the SPCA’s shelter population alongside those who she calls, “…a  very dedicated group of technicians, assistants, and volunteers.”

Originally from Western New York, Dr. Kean volunteered at the SPCA prior to attending veterinary school. She completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University after attending Canisius College, where she majored in psychology with a concentration in animal behavior.

After veterinary school, Dr. Kean, Fear Free-certified and certified in veterinary acupuncture, worked in small animal non-profit and shelter medicine in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Kean volunteers with multiple organizations and performs surgeries around the world; she has most recently been involved with “Spayathon” for Puerto Rico.

Excited to bring her experience and enthusiasm for shelter medicine to the SPCA, and to be able to continue helping the animals in our community, Dr. Kean is happy to be closer to her family, and enjoys hiking and spending time with her own pets. “I volunteered at the SPCA before veterinary school,” Dr. Kean says, “and I was always impressed with the various programs and the people. I knew that if I moved back to the area, this is where I wanted to be.”


MIRANDA K. WORKMAN, anthrozoologist and former owner of Purrfect Paws Animal Behavior Center, LLC, also returns to the SPCA Serving Erie County as the Director of the all-new Animal Behavior & Research Department. Workman has spent the last decade as a professor at Canisius College and is lead trainer/mentor and program developer for the Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive programs at GreaterGood.org; she is also a current PhD candidate in Sociology at the University at Buffalo, focusing on exploring the intersection of humans, other animals, family, and the environment. Workman currently serves as a council member for the American Sociological Association’s Animals & Society section council. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. and as the Chair of the Cat Division for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Workman is looking forward to developing a new, top-notch Behavior & Research Department focused on the behavioral welfare of the animals in the care of the SPCA. “I’m excited to return to the SPCA, this time as the Director of Animal Behavior and Research,” she says. “It’s a position that allows me to combine my academic and applied experiences in animal behavior, anthrozoology, and sociology. I look forward to using my unique skill set, knowledge, and experience to maximize the behavioral welfare of sheltered animals, and endeavor to create a rich research program aimed at improving the human-animal relationship through evidence-based programs and networking with research scientists.”

Workman and her husband share their home with three dogs, four cats, four rats, and one mouse.

All three professionals have started their work at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and the organization’s Board of Directors and staff members are excited over the collective level of experience added to both the Veterinary Services and Animal Behavior & Research Departments.

Information and news from both departments will continue to be shared at YourSPCA.org.

SPCA Set to Receive Animals from Two Massive TN Hoarding Cases

July 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Next week the SPCA Serving Erie County will receive approximately 27 animals rescued from two massive hoarding cases in Tennessee.

The SPCA is an emergency placement partner of the Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to conducting large-scale rescues throughout North America. Organization members rescue animals from abusive and neglectful situations including puppy mills, hoarding situations, fighting rings, exotic animal cases, and more, along with conducting rescues during natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air

On June 23, the ARC assisted the Henry County Sheriff’s Department in Paris, TN with Operation Fresh Air, the removal of 45 dogs living in what the Corps called “…horrendous conditions in a single-family trailer.” See video from this rescue here, and see coverage from Knoxville, TN CBS affiliate WVLT-TV 8 here.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

Just two days later, on June 25, the organization again assisted the Sheriff’s Department with Operation Caged Hell, a rescue of 726 animals from a home in Buchanan, TN that included the rescue of an 18-month-old toddler living in an animal cage mere feet away from a 10-foot boa constrictor and other snakes. (See video from this rescue here, along with the full story, videos, and photos from the rescue as covered by Nashville, TN Fox affiliate Fox-17 here.)

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

As one of several ARC emergency placement partners, two volunteers from the SPCA Serving Erie County are scheduled to meet ARC drivers just outside of Cleveland, OH on Tuesday, July 28, to receive two dogs and four pups from Operation Fresh Air, and four dogs, four pups, four parakeets, eight domestic rats, and one gecko from Operation Caged Hell.

Barring any last-minute changes or delays, you can watch the SPCA’s Facebook page to see these animals arriving at our West Seneca shelter live on Tuesday. Estimated time of arrival is not yet determined, but will be announced on our Facebook page Tuesday.

Each animal has already received initial examinations and crucial care, and will receive further examination and any necessary additional care at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter infirmary. Most of the animals are expected to be temporarily placed in volunteer foster homes.

There is no word on when the animals will be available for adoption, but as they become available the animals will be listed on the SPCA’s Adoptable Animals website page.

Updates on this story will be provided as they become available.


YOU can help stop the puppy mill pipeline in New York State! The NYS Senate passed the “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill. Now we’re asking YOU to contact your assembly members to bring this bill to the floor for a vote! Find out how & read the full story here >>  

INTERNET PUPPY SCAM HITS CLOSE TO HOME

July 9, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

It was just last month that the American Kennel Club issued a warning about online “puppy scams” in its article How to Spot a Puppy Scam Online.

The scams have hit close to home.

One Buffalonian and friend of the SPCA who wishes to remain anonymous cautions those looking for puppies to avoid a scam to which he fell victim this week.

“Sam” has been looking for a puppy for several months and has sent online applications, which included his mobile number, to various local and national groups. When he received a text from, the sender claimed, a representative of one animal organization based in Tennessee (although the text was from a 916 Sacramento, CA area code), Sam was delighted to learn the organization had a Golden Retriever puppy available right in New York. Fulton, NY, to be exact. The text message included photos of a puppy that looked very similar to the puppy in this photo: two photos of the puppy with a red ribbon around his neck standing next to a red Valentine’s Day heart, and one photo of the puppy on a blue mat next to a pail and flowers.

The pictures looked vaguely familiar, and since Sam had been looking for a puppy for a few months, he assumed he saw the photos at some point during his search. The puppy was too appealing to pass up. Sam expressed interest and asked when he might be able to purchase and pick up the pup.

The representative said he’d hold the puppy with a 50% “reservation deposit,” nearly $400,  payable through mobile payment service Cash App. The balance would be paid upon puppy pick-up the following day. The address was a home on West 3rd Street South in Fulton, NY, approximately 2 1/2 hours away.

Upon Sam’s arrival at the home yesterday, there was no animal organization representative, no puppy, and Sam was told he was the fourth person this month who arrived at the home looking for this very Golden Retriever pup.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), most victims of puppy scams lose between $100 and $1000, although some report losing considerably more. The BBB recommends reporting fraud to the BBB Scam Tracker, Petscams.com, the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-FTC-HELP), and others. Find this information and more in the BBB’s November, 2019 article Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers / A BBB Study .

The Humane Society of the United States shares warnings about Internet pet sale consumer scams, how to find a reputable dog breeder, and more in Consumer Scam: Internet Pet Sales.

SPCA Summer Camp Offers Three Active Options for 2020

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

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s annual Summer Kindness Camp program has been modified to teach important lessons while keeping kids active, entertained, safe, healthy, and distant!

Three different camp options will be offered this summer:
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! (Update 7/15: Off-Leash Registration Closed)
KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks is a non-interactive kindness camp experience providing children with fun, engaging, hands-on activities and games that can be enjoyed at their convenience. Backpacks include one week’s worth of materials and instructions needed for the themed activities, art projects, educational handouts, and fun swag items…all children will need are safe scissors, glue, and a table cover for messy projects! There are three backpack themes available for $30 per backpack for children ages 5-12 and 12-15. See more on backpacks and register for your child’s backpack here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! (Update 7/15: Registration Closed) is a kindness camp with backpack projects that take place in the child’s home and yard, but the backpacks also go “off-leash” with some interactive, virtual experiences! Each day, 30-60-minute live, virtual interactions with people and animals will take place; campers will virtually meet different animals, participate in interactive games and activities, and learn lots of new things! Also included are on-demand videos, and additional, downloadable activity sheets! Themes, age ranges, dates, and costs vary; see more about KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! here. (Update 7/15: Registration Closed)

KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience is a veterinary camp series for children who love animals and are interested in exploring veterinary careers! Campers will learn what it takes to be a veterinarian through a combination of live virtual content and fun activities, plus enjoy a take-home kit of materials. They will learn how to check a pet’s vital signs, discover what heartworms are, watch an animal exam, observe a neuter surgery, and so much more. Both live, virtual experiences, Introduction to Veterinary Science and Advanced Veterinary Science, are open to children ages 9-14 and cost $120. More information, dates, and registration are available here.

All backpacks and take-home materials have been handled by healthy staff members at the SPCA who were wearing gloves and masks. All materials have been thoroughly disinfected.  Backpacks are available via curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping.

To find more information on all three types of camp experiences and to register your child for one camp (or all three!), please visit our all new SPCA Kindness Camp page here.

The SPCA Serving Erie County has revised its COVID-19 phase adoption policies. This new policy was put into effect July 6, 2020. Please note, while we are waiving the need for adoption appointments for cats and small animals at this time, we may revert to adoption appointments for these animals again in the future. The current adoption policy is as follows:

THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WHEN YOU DECIDED TO BRING HOME A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!

FOR YOUR PROTECTION AND OURS, THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WILL REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH OCCUPANCY GUIDELINES DURING OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE PHASE.  FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED!

-Except for cats, bunnies, & other small animal adoptions, an adoption appointment is required to enter the Adoptions Lobby.

-To make an adoption appointment for any type of animal besides cats, bunnies, and other small animals, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 207. Please understand it may take up to 48 business hours to receive a return call. With the exception of required “meet and greets” with pets at home, animals cannot be placed on hold.

-Beginning July 6, it is not necessary to make an adoption appointment for cats, bunnies, and other small animals ONLY. This may change at any time, and we may revert to appointment adoptions for cats/small animals.

-Upon entering the building, it is imperative that you sign in with contact information. We require the name of every guest in your party, including children, for tracing purposes.

-Three people will be allowed per guest pass in the cat room or small animal areas, which means only 3 family members or friends should come together to the SPCA to adopt. Please remember if you are planning to adopt a cat/small animal, only three people per party will be allowed on each guest pass.

-Five families (5 guest passes) will be allowed in the cat/small animal adoption areas at any given time.

-Each guest pass allows a family one hour in the cat/small animal adoption areas to help accommodate all potential adopters and increase the number of animals who find homes each day. (Please note: time limits with adoptable animals are only being enforced during our COVID-19 Response phase. Normally, we encourage visitors to spend as long as possible with an animal prior to adoption!)

-If you are here to adopt a cat, bunny, or other small animal and the maximum number of people are present in the cat/small animal rooms, you have the opportunity to wait in a small overflow area in our lobby or, if you prefer not to wait there or if that area is filled, outdoors. Your sign-in information determines the order of admission into the building. If you choose to wait outdoors, we will call you on your mobile phone when it is your turn to visit!

-Wait times will vary depending on shelter population, so please plan accordingly. Traditionally, the busiest adoption day is Saturday, so if you plan to visit Saturday, please allow yourself enough wait time and understand the cat/small animal visitation 1-hour time limit described above.

-Adoption hours remain 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The final appointment(s) for adoption will be made at 3 p.m. Our final group of potential adopters will be allowed in adoption areas one hour prior to closing.

-We may not be able to accommodate everyone on any given day. Depending on the number of people who have arrived at the shelter before you, it is possible you will not be able to see animals on the day you visit. Believe us, we don’t like it either. We’re in the business of placing these animals in new homes…including YOURS! But we understand, and hope you understand, this is for your safety as well as the safety of our volunteers and staff members. 

-See animals available for adoption on this page! Remember, our population changes several times each day, so you’ll want to check back frequently!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP PEOPLE & ANIMALS SAFE & HEALTHY!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

BILL THE CAT: One in a Million (or one in 3,000, to be exact)!

June 24, 2020
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

UPDATE, JUNE 24, 6:30 p.m.: Bill has been adopted! When his story made national news today, we received more than 100 phone calls from potential adopters from all over the country! Fortunately, our boy will be staying home! Now named Milo, he’ll be living in Buffalo with Jomaira & Kiara!


BILL THE CAT is one in a million…or to be more specific, one in 3,000! Why? Because he’s a tortoiseshell kitty, and he’s a boy!

If you’re new to the cat world, that might not seem too exceptional. But those who have spent a little time in feline circles are paying close attention right now, especially after seeing Bill’s photo with that blue collar around his neck and realizing that this is a male tortoiseshell cat, an incredible rarity.

Genetics are pretty interesting when it comes to calico cats, and the same goes for tortoiseshell cats…even the “pastel” or dilute ones like Bill, with softer colors. Several genetic mutations cause these cats to develop coats with patterns that seem marbleized, much like the shell of a tortoise. And with the most common chromosome combos, all calicos and tortoiseshell felines are female. Well….almost all.

Think back to high school. Females have XX chromosomes, males have XY.

X carries the gene for coat colors; Y determines gender.

According to this article issued by Falls Village Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh, NC, “Orange coloring in cats comes from a gene in X chromosomes. Biology refresher: females have XX chromosomes. Males have XY chromosomes. So, it stands to reason that either a male or female cat can be or have orange coloring. The girls, though, are commonly calico, tortie, or orange tabby whereas the vast majority of males are only orange tabby. This is because only a cat with XX chromosomes can be calico or tortie.”

So if two X chromosomes are necessary in a calico or tortie kitten, and males are XY with just one X, how are male calico or tortie cats possible?

Very rarely, an extra strand of DNA (three chromosomes) is apparent in a male, making the male XXY. What does this mean? While the Y determines he is a male, the two Xs can, in fact, give him a calico or a tortoiseshell coat!

This is an incredibly rare occurrence. In fact, several sources researched cite a study by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine that found only about 1 in 3,000 of these calico/tortoiseshell cats are male!

Undoubtedly, it must have occurred to someone throughout history to try and breed these cats, however, cats with three chromosomes are usually also sterile. Neutering is still important to help prevent negative medical or behavioral developments.

Because we don’t see many male calico or tortoiseshell cats at the SPCA Serving Erie County, Bill the cat is feeling pretty special these days, but he’s trying not to let it get to his head. Bill is waiting to meet his new family at our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter! We have a feeling Bill will be scooped up quickly, but plenty of animals are at the SPCA waiting to become a part of your family! See our available animals here.

Adoption appointments can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.

Thanks to the SPCA’s Lindsey Wood for Bill’s photos and videos!