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!

SPCA LIGHTS OF LOVE 2019

November 1, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

The SPCA Serving Erie County is bringing back its Lights of Love program for the 2019 holiday season!

November 4 through December 12, those wishing to purchase a labeled Christmas tree light in honor of or in memory of people or pets who have touched their lives can do so through the SPCA. The lights will adorn trees in the organization’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter Adoptions lobby, and will remain lit through the end of the year.

“In Memory Of” white lights and “In Honor Of” colored lights are available for a $20 donation. A string of 12 lights is available for $180. All donations will help give shelter animals a second chance at happy, healthy lives filled with light and love.

Lights of Love is sponsored by Adams Nursery and Garden Center.

Purchase one or more lights here, or call Amber at the SPCA: 716-875-7360, ext. 230.

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!