The SPCA Says Goodbye After 38 Years of ‘Butler Service,’ as Joe & Fran Butler Retire
August 28, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
This week, we at the SPCA Serving Erie County say goodbye to a husband and wife team whose names are practically synonymous with the organization. Joe Butler, a 38-year employee and former dog control officer in the town of Evans, and Fran Butler, a 33-year employee, will be retiring August 30 after a history with the SPCA that brought them to three different shelters: Pontiac Rd. in Angola, Ensminger Rd. in Tonawanda, and now Harlem Rd. in West Seneca.
For 24 and 23 years respectively, Joe and Fran managed the SPCA’s satellite shelter in Angola. Because they lived nearby, the two often worked around-the-clock helping thousands of animals along with thousands of people (many who were known to knock on the Butlers’ door at all hours of the night). They were involved in animal cruelty investigations, rescues, adoptions, admissions, public relations, special events…every single aspect of shelter work was handled by Joe and Fran, along with their small team of staff members and volunteers.
When that satellite shelter was closed, the two relocated to the Tonawanda shelter (Joe had worked there prior to the opening of the satellite shelter) and eventually to our current West Seneca site. Here, their important work with animals continued in the Behavior & Training and Adoptions Departments.
Last week, I asked Joe and Fran a difficult question…consider the last 30+ years at the SPCA and share with me something you love now, or a favorite memory. For Joe, a significant time was in the early 90s, when the SPCA started performing early-age spay/neuters. Fran is thankful for the fact that the Adoptions Department is like a group of family members who can count on each other for help.
For the 29 years I’ve known her, Fran continues to teach me the importance of making a human connection no matter how busy you are. I’d watch her at a very busy Angola shelter adoption desk with several people waiting for attention; no matter how busy she was, she took the time to look each patron in the eye, thoughtfully respond to questions, and in doing so, made each and every patron feel valued. I still see her doing this today in West Seneca. That is a gift, and it’s one she shares with all of us.
I was a little afraid of Joe when I first met him. I was 24 and even in heels had to look up at this serious, steadfast man who was in charge of our Angola shelter. It didn’t take long to realize I now knew one of the most genuine, determined people I’d ever meet in my life. The love he exhibited for animals was unsurpassed, as evidenced by the work he did 24/7 (not an exaggeration), and I’ll always be thankful for his never laughing at how much I didn’t know, and how he helped me learn about the most difficult parts of the job while becoming acclimated to a small, insightful, tightly-knitted staff.
Sheila Foss, SPCA educational farm manager and 34-year employee, says, “When I think of Joe and Fran, the words that spring to my mind are respectful, dedicated, concerned, thoughtful, humble, gracious, helpful, humorous, calming, and mentors.”
She adds, “Fran & Joe demonstrate these descriptors to everyone they encounter: each other, co-workers, visitors, and patrons. I am blessed to have had the pleasure of being on their team, and hope their journey continues to bring forth an abundance of treasures, small and large.”
SPCA Petique Retail Store Manager Jessica Tyler, a 12-year employee, says “Over the last 12 years at the SPCA, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these two. Joe is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does here, and his love for animals shows.
“I worked with Fran doing adoptions for nine years, and we shared many laughs, many tears, and overall had a great time at work,” Jessica said. “She is more than a co-worker; she is family to me. She’s always there for me, and….I will miss talking to her and seeing her smiling face every day. Joe and Fran will be missed, but it’s time for more fun to happen!”
The impact Joe and Fran have made on the SPCA, its programs and services, its staff members and volunteers, and most of all its animals, will not be forgotten.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Thank you, Joe and Fran, for spending nearly four decades putting others’ happiness ahead of your own, and for living lives that truly made a difference in our community!
Susan Royce, Administrative Financial Assistant:
Fran is one of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege of working with. When I stepped into my position of Administrative Financial Assistant I was constantly going to her with questions regarding Adoptions procedures and the reports they generated. She was always right there to help me with a kind heart and gentle demeanor. She is the Adoptions matriarch and her retirement will leave such a void; knowing Fran she will make sure that the staff is well-prepared in stepping in and picking up where she left off. A sweet, kind and genuinely nice person. I am going to miss her terribly!
I learned so much from Joe in how to handle and work with dogs. He was always there to answer any questions with dogs and delivered information in a succinct and clear method so even a novice dog handler could understand. It was always a comfort knowing that he was on the job taking great care of the animals, comforting the dogs who came in frightened and unsure. The admiration and respect I have for him is huge, and he will be missed in so many ways. Here’s to a job well done!!
Stephanie Pepper, Shelter Manager:
Fran has an amazing way of treating every adopter/potential adopter with kindness. I have never seen Fran frazzled; she always remains calm with a “can- do” attitude…no matter what came her way. I love how she refers to every animal while going over adoption paperwork as “your baby” – always made me smile!
Fran was a great asset to the Adoptions Department. Every morning Fran comes in, and she cleans and prepares for the day. There is so much that Fran does behind-the-scenes that having her gone will definitely leave a void. Every morning when I come in I always said, “Good morning Fran!” I will miss her!
Krissi Miranda, Adoptions Supervisor:
Fran, you have the kindest heart of anyone I know! I’m going to miss the way you called every animal being adopted the adopters new baby. From coming in early every morning and making sure we were ready to hit the ground running as soon as the doors opened, making sure this place didn’t look like it went to the dogs, to working from the moment you came in until the moment you left, this place will not be the same without you!!!
I will miss your smile and your kind heart. I am so excited that you are retiring and able to do the things you enjoy most! I’ll miss you but you deserve to retire while you’re still young enough to enjoy it!!!!!!
Joe, you have a kind heart and it shows in the love you have for your family. The thousands of animals whose lives you changed I’m sure would thank you if they could. This place will not be the same without you. I am so excited for you and Fran and in some way I’m envious of you both. Take care, live large, and enjoy your golden years! You deserve it!!!!
Jennifer Grzeskiewicz, Adoptions:
One thing I have learned from Fran is that there is no “I” in team. Teamwork is a very important part of our jobs and without it we wouldn’t be able to function the way we do. I love that Fran welcomed me into our Adoptions family – without them to talk to or rely on for help, things would be much more difficult.
Tina Corcoran, Adoptions:
I remember bringing my daughter Devan to the Angola shelter when she was young. We would walk the dogs and even adopted our second family dog named Bojangles from Fran and Joe!
Sandy Comes, Adoptions:
To Fran: I will miss the morning stories and jokes; you always made the mornings silly! Thank you for always being there as a co-worker and a friend to help me when I was stuck with anything. You always made it seem easy. I will miss you my dear friend. You were a joy to work with and honor to become friends with. I hope you and Joe get to enjoy all the wonderful things retirement offers! Always remember you can volunteer anytime as a greeter! Love you!!
To Joe: Over time I got to know you and learned what a wonderful person you really are. You have done the work of many in this shelter and I am sure [there were times that were not] easy, so please enjoy your retirement! You have more than earned it!
Julia Walsh, Lipsey Clinic & former Veterinary Department Assistant:
Joe and Fran are very passionate and dedicated to the SPCA.
I look up to them and am inspired by their relationship- it must have not always been easy to work with your spouse for 30 + years 🙂 !
I looked forward to Fran’s warm greetings every morning. It has been a pleasure working with them both! Best wishes!
Lydia Stineman, Veterinary Technician/Lincoln Memorial University Program Support:
I [had heard] about “Fran and Joe from the Southtowns” and when that shelter closed, heard they were coming to the “Northtowns” shelter [in Tonawanda]. I was excited to meet them, because I had heard so much about them but had never seen them! Fran was so sweet, and we connected right away. Joe is a big teddy bear! He gets right to the point, and that’s THAT! It was awesome working with them, and I will miss them both! 😘
SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY TO BRING BACK ‘NAME YOUR OWN PRICE’ ADOPTIONS FOR KITTENS & CATS 20 WEEKS AND OLDER
Starting Monday, August 19 for 19 days, the SPCA Serving Erie County will bring back its Name Your Own Price adoption special for kittens and cats ages 20 weeks and older. The adoption special will run through Friday, September 6 and applies to felines temporarily residing at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site, or one of several offsite adoption locations.
Included with the adoption is the cat’s spay/neuter surgery; age-appropriate vaccinations; initial worming; flea control medicine; feline leukemia test; microchip; temporary identification; a certificate for the new pet’s first physical examination at the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic or at the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society’s veterinarian of choice; the option of a 30-day pet health insurance plan provided by 24PetWatch; and while supplies last, a bag of Purina cat food.
See photos of cats available in West Seneca here, and for a list of offsite adoption locations along with photos of cats available at those sites, click here. Questions about Name Your Own Price adoptions? Call SPCA Adoptions: 716-875-7360, ext. 233.
UPDATE, AUGUST 16, 2019: Jarrod Dillman appeared in Buffalo City Court this morning. He has waived his felony hearing and his case will now proceed to the grand jury. Please keep watching YourSPCA.org for further information on this animal cruelty case.
August 13, 2019
DOG DAYCARE WORKER CHARGED WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY FOR BEATING DOG TO DEATH
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 23-year-old Jarrod Dillman of Buffalo has been arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee on one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals, a felony, and one count of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals; failure to provide proper sustenance, a misdemeanor.
It is alleged that on Saturday, August 3, 2019, the defendant, while working as a [daycare attendant and bather] at PawPrints by Penny & Co. on Niagara Street in the City of Buffalo, caused the death of “Alessio,” a three-year-old Havanese, by throwing the dog against a wall and repeatedly kicking the dog while wearing boots. The preliminary necropsy results determined that the dog died as a result of blunt force trauma.
Dillman is scheduled to return on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. for a felony hearing. Judge Johnson-Lee set bail at $5,000 cash, bond or property.
DA Flynn commends the SPCA Serving Erie County, including Officers Paul LeShay, Amy Jaworski and Lindsey Styborski, for their work in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Erin E. Hart of the DA’s Animal Cruelty Unit.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
By Harold McNeil
Published August 13, 2019|Updated August 13, 2019
An attendant for a Buffalo dog groomer was arraigned Tuesday in Buffalo City Court on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, after an animal in his care died, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said 23-year-old Jarrod Dillman of Buffalo was additionally charged with overdriving, torturing and injuring an animal, as well as failure to provide proper sustenance.
“We’re horrified and saddened by the death of the dog that was in our care, and this is the first that I’ve learned that he was arrested,” said Penelope Lanich, proprietor of PawPrints by Penny & Co., when contacted by The Buffalo News Tuesday.
“We’ve been working closely with the SPCA to make sure justice is served here,” she added.
On Aug. 3, while working as a day care employee at PawPrints by Penny & Co. on Niagara Street in Buffalo, Dillman allegedly caused the death of a 3-year-old Havanese named Alessio by throwing the dog against a wall and repeatedly kicking the animal while Dillman was wearing boots. The preliminary necropsy results have determined that the dog died as a result of blunt force trauma, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Dillman initially was identified by the District Attorney’s Office as a dog groomer at PawPrints, but Lanich said that is not a position Dillman ever held at the business during his 1 1/2 years of employment there.
“I’ve been in business for over 15 years and I’ve never had anything like this happen,” Lanich said.
Dillman is scheduled to return to court Friday for a felony hearing before City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee, who set bail at $5,000.
SPCA OFFERS PET FIRST AID CLASS
July 11, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
The SPCA Serving Erie County will offer its third Pet First Aid Class of the year Saturday, August 3, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at its 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location.
Instructors will cover the symptoms of serious emergencies that require immediate treatment, hands-on animal CPR with CPR mannequin resusci-dog Spot, muzzling demonstrations, bandaging demonstrations, and will offer a comprehensive lecture portion on recognizing and appropriately handling life-threatening emergencies.
Included in the $20.00 registration fee is a take-home booklet for easy reference, and contact information for area emergency veterinarians.
Registration is required and interested parties can register here. Space is limited, so hurry! Please watch YourSPCA.org, Facebook, or Twitter for future class announcements!
SPCA LAUNCHES ‘TALE FOR TWO’ SUMMER READING CHALLENGE SCHEDULE; PROGRAM ENCOURAGES CHILDREN TO READ TO SHELTER PETS
May 28, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
(6/10/19: Tale for Two summer orientation dates have passed, but you can register children any time for the challenge! Just contact Humane Education Director Christine Davis: HumaneEducation@yourspca.org.)
The SPCA Serving Erie County will present its first annual Tale for Two Summer Reading Challenge this year, with prizes for children who read multiple books!
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 summer’s reading challenge sessions, available in groups of 6 (program cost $40) or 12 (program cost $70), are available on Tuesdays, June 18 – September 3, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter. Reading sessions are 30 minutes in length.
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade who read three books will receive a certificate of achievement, an SPCA pencil, and a wristband; five books earn the certificate, pencil, and humane-themed book; seven books earn the certificate, book, and an SPCA
Children in grades six through 11 who read two books receive the certificate, pencil, and wristband; three books earn the certificate, book, and T-shirt; and five books earn the certificate, book, and an SPCA sweatshirt.
Children can bring their own reading materials, or make a selection from the SPCA’s library.
Readers and parents/guardians are required to attend one hour-long orientation session at the SPCA either Thursday, May 30,
5 p.m. or Saturday,
June 8, 3 p.m. (Please see below for information on how to register children for the challenge after June 8.)
Register for the Tale for Two Summer Reading Challenge and one orientation session right here >> (orientation dates have passed, but you can still register children for the challenge! Just contact Humane Education Director Christine Davis: HumaneEducation@yourspca.org.)
Please contact SPCA Humane Education Director Christine Davis with questions: HumaneEducation@yourspca.org.
SPCA Serving Erie County Offers Free Adoptions to Current and Past Military Members During Vets & Pets
May 13, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
To celebrate the men and women of the armed services this Memorial 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 Saturday, May 18 and runs through Monday, May 27* at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter (closed on May 27) and all SPCA offsite adoption locations.
Vets & Pets is proudly sponsored by Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo, NY.!
Contact SPCA Adoptions with any questions: 716-875-7360, ext. 233.
*Please note: The SPCA’s West Seneca shelter is closed on the final day of Vets & Pets Monday, May 27, but many of the SPCA’s offsite adoption locations are open that day! That means you can still take advantage of the Vets & Pets adoption special! See a list of our offsite locations and photos of the animals available here!
BUFFALO BREWPUB PRESENTS ‘PAWS AT THE PUB’ TO BENEFIT THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY
April 18, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
BREAKING ‘PAWS AT THE PUB’ NEWS: This Sunday’s event at Buffalo Brewpub may be for people only…but that doesn’t mean the beverages have to be! 12 Gates Brewing Company and Buffalo Brewpub have collaborated on their version of a ‘doggie bag’ with a doggie BOTTLE: PUPS N/A malt beef-flavored ale to bring home for your four-legged canine connoisseur!
The bottles will be available for just $5.00 each and will be available ONLY during Paws at the Pub on Sunday! Quantities are limited, so don’t miss this chance to find out whether your pup has a future as a canine cicerone (yes, we had to look that up).
Break out the brews! For the second time, Buffalo Brewpub, located at 6861 Main Street in Williamsville, will host “Paws at the Pub” to benefit the SPCA Serving Erie County!
The free rain-or-shine event for people of all ages (no pets, please) is scheduled for Sunday, April 28,
12 p.m –5 p.m. All tips received by servers and bartenders, as well as a portion of food and beverage sales, will be donated to the SPCA. A special drink menu will also be available featuring Tommyrotter Distilling products.
Buffalo Brewpub and 12 Gates Brewing Co. have collaborated on a Blood Orange Hefeweizen beer which is currently being served, and will be served at the event. There will also be a basket raffle and silent auction featuring prizes that include a week’s stay at Tropical Winds Daytona Beach, a
60” Smart TV, field tickets for June 14’s Taste of Country, a campsite & two tickets to Jam in the Valley, a Magic Hat bass guitar, a Yeti tank, a golf bag, and much more.
“We are big animal lovers and greatly admire the work the SPCA Serving Erie County does in our community every day,” says Christopher Townsell, Buffalo Brewpub general manager. “We saw an opportunity to contribute towards their efforts, and our whole staff was excited over the idea.”
Event partners include 12 Gates Brewing Company, Community Beer Works, Sato Brewpub, Ellicottville Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Resurgence Brewing Company, and Flying Bison Brewing Company. Celebrity bartenders include some of the actual brewers from these companies.
Snow and frigid temps are on the way! Learn how to keep pets safe and brush up on the new law concerning the tethering of dogs in Buffalo. Learn more.