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 >>

 

DOMESTIC MALE RATS ADDED TO NEUTER LIST AT SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY

August 24, 2020
By: SPCA Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Allison Kean; Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth; Director of Behavior and Research Miranda K. Workman 

The SPCA Serving Erie County is now neutering male rats prior to adoption. Neutering male rats can have several benefits that result in improved welfare for the rats, their cagemates, and their humans.

Males can be neutered as early as eight to 12 weeks of age. A neuter is a less- risky procedure than a spay (ovariohysterectomy) for females, which is why the SPCA is limiting sterilization surgeries to males.

Benefits of neutering male rats include the following:

-The risk for testicular cancer is eliminated after neutering. Reproductive cancers are very common in rats; neutering can potentially increase their lifespan. The greatest increase in average lifespan for male rats is associated with early neuter (eight to 12 weeks old).

-Neutered rats can be housed with female rats (spayed or intact) without the risk of impregnating the females. This increases their potential adoption opportunities as they are not restricted to housing with males only. (Research indicates that most males are sterile by one week post-neuter, although introductions to females may be safest after two weeks post-neuter to ensure the males have completely healed from the procedure and are no longer experiencing post-operative pain.)

-Neutered rats are significantly less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior toward their cage mates, behavior that may result in injury and/or death. At sexual maturity, due to increased testosterone, it is common for male rats to display increased aggressive behavior.

-It is also easier to introduce new rats to neutered rats than intact males who are more likely to attack “intruders” to their housing space. Introducing new rats to adult, intact males resulted in death for 21% of the introduced rats in one study* (Flannelly & Thor, 1978).

-Neutered males urine mark much less often than intact males. This can help keep their housing units cleaner than if they are urine marking more frequently.

-Neutered males are also more prosocial with humans and are easier to handle due to the decreased influence of hormones on their behavior. The risk of aggressive behavior toward humans is decreased with neutering.

With all the benefits above, there is one small downside:

-Neutered males are at a slightly higher risk of obesity, which is why we encourage a good quality diet and regular exercise and enrichment.

Given the evidence provided by research combined with the experience of the SPCA’s Director of Behavior and Research Miranda K. Workman and Shelter Veterinarian Dr. Allison Kean, we can confidently say that neutering male rats increases the welfare of each individual rat, their cage mates, and their human companions. Thus, in line with the SPCA Serving Erie County’s mission, we are now neutering all male rats prior to adoption. The adoption fee for domestic rats is $15.00, and this fee includes the males’ neuter surgeries.

Web references for information above include:

*http://www.ratbehavior.org/Neutering.htm

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/neutering-in-rats

https://ratcentral.com/should-i-neuter-my-male-rat/

Read the entire article by clicking on the image below:

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

SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe

July 5, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Buffalo has moved full-speed-ahead into hot weather, with temperatures this week predicted to surpass 90 degrees. While many are happy with the warm weather forecast, it’s important to remember pets don’t fare as well as some of their owners on these hot days. Please keep the following hot weather pets tips in mind and share with pet owners you know:

HEATSTROKE CAN KILL, AND FAST. Most pet owners realize that keeping pets in hot cars can kill them…but not many realize just how quickly the effects of heatstroke can set in for a dog or cat. Heatstroke is a condition animals begin to suffer gradually, but it accelerates quickly; it’s easy for early signs of heatstroke to go unrecognized, and for the pet to be in an emergency situation within mere minutes.

On warm days, a vehicle acts like an oven.  It holds the heat inside, and that heat becomes very intense even on days that don’t seem too warm. On an 85-degree day, for example, even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can climb to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 120 degrees in 30 minutes.  With the humidity we experience here in Buffalo, it may go even higher.  Because a dog’s normal body temperature is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, he can withstand a body temperature of 107-108 degrees for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage…or death.

The typical signs of heatstroke are:
– Panting – High body temperature
– Dehydration – Red mouth/eye membranes
– Rapid, irregular heart rate – Diarrhea
– Weakness, looking dazed – Coma

If your pet begins exhibiting any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Here’s what New York State residents can do if a pet is seen in a hot vehicle.

Also, use caution during warm weather months when allowing animals outside for short sessions in yards or on porches. Never leave them outside extended periods of time. Ensure appropriate shade and water are always available. Keep close supervision on your pet when outdoors on hot, humid, sunny summer days. If you see an animal left on a porch or in a yard with no access to shelter, or with inadequate shelter, the SPCA may be able to intervene in accordance with New York State’s Animal Shelter Law.  Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363. Read more about the Animal Shelter Law here.

And remember…pets can get sunburned too. Speak with your veterinarian about applying sunblock to your pet’s sun-sensitive areas, such as nose and ears, even when the animal is only outdoors for short sessions.


ADMINISTER FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS CORRECTLY! Early last June, the SPCA received two cats on death’s door after cheap, incorrect flea products purchased from deep discount stores were applied. The SPCA has already received several phone calls this season from people who misapplied flea products to their pets.   DO NOT APPLY PRODUCTS MEANT FOR DOGS ON CATS, AND DO NOT APPLY CAT FLEA PRODUCTS TO DOGS, AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE VOLUME AND MANNER OF APPLICATION!  Read the directions carefully PRIOR to application, not during application. The application of improper flea products, low-quality flea products, or products applied incorrectly, can cause internal damage or death to your pet. Always consult a veterinarian before purchasing and applying flea products.


USE CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING SUMMER PET TOYS.  Flea products are not the only items that shouldn’t be purchased at deep discount stores. Some pet toys are not durable enough to withstand a pet’s play. This tip and photo came to us last summer from Patrick in South Dayton, NY. Patrick purchased a disc dog toy from a deep discount store for his dogs Roscoe and Titan. On the first throw, Titan caught the toy, which shattered, said Patrick, “…like a mirror.” (See photo, below.) Be sure the toys you purchase for your pets are safe and sturdy.

 


KEEP PETS HOME DURING OUTDOOR FESTIVALS.  This tip may not be as relevant in 2020 as it’s been in the past, since the pandemic has caused the cancelation of most events this summer. However, for future reference: art festivals, food festivals, summer fireworks displays, and other crowded outdoor events are no places for dogs.  Extremely hot weather, paired with immense crowds of people and strange noises and scents, heightens the stress level for many animals; the repetitive, exploding sound of fireworks is enough to make even the calmest animal frantic and sometimes aggressive. Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up much more quickly.

The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads when dogs are on pavement for any period of time. Check out this photo from a June, 2019 post on WGRZ-TV and click on the photo for the full story:


DON’T FORCE EXERCISE, primarily after a meal or in hot, humid weather. Instead, exercise pets in the cool of the early morning or evening. Be extra-sensitive to older and overweight animals, or those prone to heart or respiratory problems. Bring an ample supply of water along on the walk. For cool, indoor walks, bring pets to shop at the SPCA’s Petique or other pet-friendly stores.


BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK! Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals (see below), or have puddles or spots of auto coolant. The sweet taste of poisonous liquids attracts animals and can sicken or kill them if ingested. Clean any spills immediately or consider using animal-friendly products to help minimize risks.

Unfortunately, the use of wild rat poisons also increases during warm-weather months, which poses potential hazards for your pets. Be mindful of any poisons your pet(s) can reach on your property and other properties. Read the Humane Society of the United States’ recommendations on alternatives to rodent poisons here >>


WATCH WHAT THEY EAT & DRINK! In July of 2012, two family dogs in North Buffalo died after eating poisonous mushrooms (amanita) growing right in the backyard. Check yards and any areas pets frequent. If something looks suspicious, don’t take a chance….GET RID OF IT. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of contaminated animals. The bacteria can get into water (puddles, ponds, pools, etc.) or soil and survive there for months. Humans AND animals can be infected. Use caution when letting your pet drink, walk through, or swim in water that may have been exposed to infected animals (rodents, wildlife, infected domestic animals, and others).


KEEP YOUR PET WELL-GROOMED AND CLEAN to combat summer skin problems. If your dog’s coat is appropriate, cutting his hair to a one-inch length will help prevent overheating and will also allow you to watch for fleas and ticks. Don’t shave down to the skin, though; your pet can get sunburned (see below)! A cat should be brushed frequently to keep a tangle-free coat. Long-haired cats will be more comfortable with a stylish, summer clip.


USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING SUMMER LAWN/GARDEN PURCHASES! When purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels for ingredients toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. Fertilizers, weed killers, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals can be fatal to your pets. “Weed out” the toxic products from your garage, and learn more about non-toxic, pet-friendly seasonal items. Snail, slug, and rat/mouse baits, and ant/roach baits and traps are also hazardous. Metaldehyde, one of the poisonous ingredients in many baits, is often very appealing to pets, and metaldehyde poisoning can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications, seizures, liver complications, and death. If insect and nuisance animal control items must be purchased, keep them in locations impossible for pets to reach.


KEEP CORN COBS AWAY FROM DOGS! In August of 2013, SPCA veterinarians removed corn cobs from the intestines of not one but TWO dogs! Both survived, but without veterinary treatment the results could have been fatal. Read this article from VetsNow.com  discussing the dangers of corn cobs and corn to dogs.


DO NOT USE HUMAN INSECT REPELLENTS ON PETS! These items are toxic when ingested at high doses, and dogs and cats may lick it off and ingest it, potentially resulting in a toxicity. Read more about what you can use here.


BUNNIES NEED TO KEEP COOL TOO! Pet rabbits who live indoors with no air conditioning can benefit from an easy cooling technique. Rabbit owners can freeze a filled water bottle. Once the water bottle is frozen, it can be wrapped in a cloth and placed on the rabbit’s cage floor. If the rabbit becomes too warm, she’ll instinctively know to lie next to the bottle. Fans can also be pointed in the general direction of a rabbit cage, and rabbits will raise their ears (their natural cooling system) to catch the breeze and cool off. On hot days, pet owners with rabbits living in outdoor pens will want to ensure their pets are cool enough in outdoor locations; if not, rabbits and pens should come indoors.


If you witness animal cruelty or see any animal in need of rescue or emergency assistance this summer, the SPCA Serving Erie County may be able to help. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.

Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., please contact your local animal control, police department, or call your local after-hours emergency clinic for prices and services.

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Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards or on porches, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360 or cruelty@yourspca.org.