SPCA ISSUES WINTER PET SAFETY TIPS
February 5, 2021
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
It was a mild winter so far, but as Buffalonians, we knew that snow, wind, and frigid temps would return. This year is different from other years, however, in that it’s a little more complicated to receive emergency veterinary care, as veterinary clinics (including the low-cost Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA) strive to comply with COVID-related guidelines. Plan ahead for the upcoming freezing days and nights now to ensure your pets stay safe and healthy throughout the weekend and the remaining winter months. Read on for some of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s winter pet safety tips.
*OUTDOOR ANIMAL SHELTER MUST BE SUITABLE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER: …and if it’s not, animal welfare officers can rescue the pet even before he or she shows signs of suffering, thanks to New York State’s Shelter Law that went into effect in 2003. Thanks to a legislative push in late 2018 that led to stronger laws concerning the tethering of dogs within Buffalo city limits, the SPCA and other law enforcement organizations can now take even more steps to ensure dogs are protected from the elements.
* Keep a Tight Leash: Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Pets can lose their scent on snow and ice, especially if snow is falling at a fast rate, and your pet can easily lose his sense of direction. Pets may also panic during a snowstorm and run away; many pets are lost during the winter months. Remember to keep current identification on your pet at all times!
*Keep Pets At Home: Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your pet could literally freeze to death.
*Always Dry Pet’s Wet Feet: Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s legs and stomach when she comes in and out of the rain, snow or ice. Check her sensitive foot pads, which may be bleeding from snow or ice encrusted in them. Your pet may also pick up salt and other chemicals on her feet accidentally. These chemicals could hurt her if she swallows them while licking her feet.
*Lay Straw for Dogs’ Visits Outdoors: Can’t get your dog to wear booties? Lay straw on top of snow for trips outdoors by dogs reluctant to step out onto a freezing surface to relieve themselves.
*Check Cars for Cats: During the winter, stray or neglected cats outdoors sometimes sleep under the hood of the car where it’s warm and comfortable. If you start the motor, cats could get caught in or flung about by the fan belt, causing serious injury or death. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood and sides of your car before turning on the ignition to give the cat a chance to escape.
*Keep Outdoor ‘Sessions’ Short: Take your dog outside only for as long as it takes for him to relieve himself. Dogs, particularly small, short-haired breeds like Chihuahuas and terriers, suffer from the cold despite their seemingly warm fur coats. Live within Buffalo city limits? Don’t forget Buffalo’s new laws pertaining to tethering dogs in inclement weather..
*Bathe Pets Only When Necessary: Your pet runs the chance of catching a cold when wet, especially in cold weather. If you absolutely must bathe your pet, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian.
*Keep Pets Warm: Limit the clipping of your pet’s hair in the cold winter months, keeping your pet as warm as possible. Brush your pet daily in lieu of clipping to keep your pet’s coat healthy, shiny, clean and mat-free. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep far away from outside drafts.
*Hungry Pets: Speak to your veterinarian about increasing your pet’s supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy through the winter months. Inquire about vitamin and oil supplements.
*ANTIFREEZE IS POISON TO PETS: ANTIFREEZE, EVEN IN SMALL DOSES, IS A LETHAL POISON FOR DOGS AND CATS! Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to clean up spills thoroughly, and consider switching to an animal-friendly antifreeze. Ensure that, if you store Antifreeze in a garage, shed, or other places accessible to your pets, it is well out of pets’ reach.
If your pet becomes lost, be sure to visit YourSPCA.org’s Lost and Found page for recommendations on where to post lost pet listings, and tips for finding your lost pets.
For more tips regarding keeping pets safe and healthy during the winter, contact the SPCA at 716-875-7360, or call the Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA, 716-531-4700.
Lucia, Safe and Sound After Two Years Straying the Streets
December 29, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
UPDATE 1/14/2021: Yesterday was a big day for Lucia! She was adopted and went home to West Seneca with Katherine! Be a good girl, Lucia!
Sure, it takes a village to see some things through. But sometimes it takes an entire city. And this particular cat brought to the SPCA yesterday needed the City of Good Neighbors to help her see things straight!
Here is Lucia’s story, as told to us by our Director of Admissions Amy Jaworski and Admissions Counselor Tammi Cogswell:
Approximately two years ago, a calico kitty was admitted to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter (CBAS). While there, as part of the excellent care provided by CBAS, the kitty had eye removal surgery and was placed in foster care for several weeks before being ready for adoption. She was named Lucia, and, when her rehab was complete, Lucia was placed up for adoption at PetSmart in Buffalo.
Lucia was adopted quickly…but moments after her adoption, while the adopter was walking to her car to bring Lucia home, Lucia fell through the bottom of the cat carrier and was gone. Devoted CBAS volunteers, including SPCA employee Tammi Cogswell, searched for this cat, and in these two years, right up until this week, continued to put food out for her (courtesy of dedicated CBAS volunteer Mary, who made the search for Lucia a regular part of her life for two years!) in the hopes of capturing her, but with no success.
Several months ago, a woman named Susan came to the SPCA to surrender her mother’s cat, and Tammi, working at our Admissions Desk, asked Susan the general questions asked upon intake: how Susan’s mom acquired the cat, how long she owned the cat, etc. The conversation turned to stray cats when Susan responded that her mother’s cat had been a stray; Susan offhandedly mentioned that there was another stray cat who had been in the area a few years, a cat with beautiful colors and ONE EYE!
Tammi, acting as the ever-vigilant animal advocate that she is, asked Susan if this stray cat was in the vicinity of the PetSmart location in the city. The answer was a resounding “Yes,” the cat took up residence on Buffalo’s Rebecca Drive, and Susan promised to send Tammi photos of the cat next time the kitty came around.
Over the last few months, Tammi sent messages to Susan asking about the cat, but Susan was never able to grab another photo. Earlier this month, Susan contacted Tammi asking to borrow a live trap in an effort to safely capture and contain this one-eyed beauty.
We learned this cat had captured many hearts during her 2+-year stay in the neighborhood, and while the entire community came together to help care for her, Lucia had touched the life of one man in particular named Stephen, who was a primary caretaker (he even built a house for her, complete with a heated floor mat). Stephen had become very attached to this little girl and named her “Manechan” (Stephen later said he named this feisty cat Manechan after a feisty, Thai princess…so her full name, Stephen told us, is Lucia Manechan!).
Susan shared with Stephen the possible story behind this stray and put him in touch with Tammi at the SPCA.
Jump ahead to this week…the one-eyed stray Stephen and others in the neighborhood had been caring for was finally safely secured with no trap needed, and arrangements were made for Susan to bring the kitty to the SPCA to be scanned for a microchip.
The big scan happened yesterday, and it was finally confirmed: the beautiful, one-eyed stray is, in fact, Lucia! There were plenty of tears of joy at the SPCA and CBAS over this exciting news! Thanks to Stephen, Susan, and the other amazing, caring community members in the neighborhood unable to keep Lucia, yet dedicated to looking out for her wellbeing, Lucia is alive, safe, and unharmed more than two years after her escape!
Today, Lucia is, understandably, a little stressed, and we’re giving her time to relax and unwind after her adventures. At the time of this writing, SPCA representatives have contacted CBAS representatives to determine what happens next in little Lucia’s story!
The compassionate teams at the CBAS and SPCA, combined with a Buffalo neighborhood full of caring individuals including Stephen and Susan, exemplify an entire community coming together to care for the lives of its animals.
Keep watching this page and YourSPCA.org for updates on Lucia!
NO BONES ABOUT IT…KEEP PETS SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING
November 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
Yes, Thanksgiving looks very different this year than in years past. No matter how small the celebrations, however, many people are still planning on preparing holiday meals, and those delicious smells are enough to drive any four-legged critter into a food frenzy. The SPCA Serving Erie County has issued these holiday reminders to keep your pets safe, slim, and trim:
HUNGRY PETS: Too many holiday treats won’t only pack the pounds on us…they’ll pack them on our pets. Many pets are on standard, limited diets; feeding them large quantities of food they don’t normally receive could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, none of which are welcome during this festive holiday…or at any other time, for that matter. Use discretion. Turkey bones are also dangerous for pets. A brittle, spiky bone could cause irritation of the stomach or intestines, or could lodge in your pet’s esophagus.
NOTE: Dogs eating foods to which they’re not accustomed may experience BLOAT, a life-threatening condition. Dogs experiencing bloat may have difficulty breathing, may appear weak and/or depressed, may attempt to vomit but cannot, and/or may appear to be extremely uncomfortable for no apparent reason. If your pet exhibits signs of bloat, bring him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Speak with your veterinarian for more information on this condition.
NO BREAD FOR BARNEY: Think twice before leaving that homemade bread dough atop the oven to rise. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, when bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, disorientation and depression.
PEANUT BUTTER WARNING: Using peanut butter as a holiday treat for your pet? Remember to check the label! Xylitol is a sugar substitute now added to some peanut butters, along with other foods and candies. It’s safe for most humans, but deadly to pets, even in small quantities! Be sure to check labels for Xylitol or other ingredients that could be dangerous for your pet. It’s also a bad idea to give any animal caffeine-laced peanut butter or other foods; serious health problems could ensue.
GARBAGE PICKERS? Some animals patiently wait for the chance to pick through the garbage when you’re not around. Aluminum foils with juices, plastic wraps with frostings, even tasty strings from tying turkeys…well, the temptation can just be too much for your deprived pets. Keep your garbage bags away from where pets can chew through them to get to the goods. Ingestion of these items can be life-threatening.
SWEET TEMPTATIONS: CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO PETS! Chocolate contains a substance called Theobromine, a compound very similar to caffeine in structure. Theobromine can be toxic to dogs and cats in small quantities, causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, rapid and irregular heartbeats, muscle tremors, coma, even death. Keep chocolate safely away from all animals.
POTPOURRI PROBLEMS: Of course we want our homes to smell nice when guests arrive…but be mindful that liquid and other types of potpourri, especially sprinkled into rugs, along with many scented essential candles and oils are toxic to dogs, cats, even birds and other animals.
For additional holiday medical reminders, speak with your veterinarian, or call the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic: 716-531-4700.
The SPCA Serving Eeeerie County’s Scary-Good,
Spine-Tingling Cat Sale Starts October 26!
October 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
No tricks, all treats this week as the SPCA Serving Erie County presents its first-ever SCARY-GOOD, SPINE-TINGLING CAT SALE!
Monday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30, adopt a boo-tiful cat three years or older at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site or any off-site adoption location, and pay the cat’s age, $1 per year!
Adoption fees include spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, initial worming, feline leukemia test, microchip, temporary identification tag, certificate for the new pet’s first physical examination at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA or another member clinic of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, the option of a 30-day pet health insurance plan, and a free bag of Purina food (while supplies last).
Adoptions at the West Seneca shelter will open at 11 a.m. each day, and the final group of potential adopters will be allowed in the cat area (depending on number of people waiting) at 4 p.m.
And don’t let the thought of being in close proximity to too many people during the pandemic spook you. To comply with COVID occupancy guidelines and to keep visitors safe, the SPCA will continue to limit the number of visitors in the cat adoption areas at all times. When the cat rooms are at maximum occupancy, visitors can wait outdoors, or in an overflow area at the SPCA. All visitors are required to wear masks or appropriate face coverings and are asked to comply with social distancing regulations.
SPCA Treats Pet Owners to Tricks for Keeping Pets Safe This Halloween
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.
October’s Subaru Loves Pets Campaign at West Herr Will Benefit Animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County
September 30, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
West Herr Subaru is celebrating Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month this October in a different way…in a hundred different ways, to be exact! Plus, they’re letting the cats join in the celebration.
For every dog or cat adopted at the SPCA Serving Erie County this October, West Herr Subaru will donate $100 to the SPCA as part of the Subaru Loves Pets campaign! The donation will be made for up to 31 animals, one for each day of the month!
Subaru is a long-standing partner of a national animal cruelty prevention society, and since 2008 has helped to support more than 1500 adoption events that helped approximately 57,000 animal nationwide. Last year, West Herr Subaru hosted a Santa Paws event that pictured pets with Santa Claus, and the proceeds were donated to the SPCA Serving Erie County.
This year, West Herr Subaru, located at 3559 Southwestern Blvd. in Orchard Park, will once again keep its donation local, and by donating to the SPCA Serving Erie County, West Herr Subaru will be assisting homeless animals right here in our community.
“West Herr Subaru is honored and excited to partner once again with our friends at the SPCA Serving Erie County to provide great homes for our canine and feline friends with the Subaru Loves Pets commitment,” says Patrick Schiske, general manager of West Herr Subaru/Kia. “We look forward to another successful event in October, and appreciate the Western New York community’s continued support of the SPCA Serving Erie County.”
“Partnering with the West Herr Subaru team is always an absolute pleasure and we are so grateful for their continued commitment in helping the animals in our community,” says SPCA Annual Giving Manager Phillip Weiss. “This promotion will not only help more animals get adopted but it will also earn more funds to help the animals who are in need of medical attention, food, shelter, and comfort when they have nowhere else to turn. West Herr Subaru is a true friend of animals and the SPCA Serving Erie County!”
To see available dogs and cats at the SPCA Serving Erie County, visit YourSPCA.org/adoptable-animals. Appointments to visit and adopt dogs only are still required and can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.
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