October’s Subaru Loves Pets Campaign at Northtown Will Benefit Animals at the SPCA Serving Erie County

September 29, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Northtown Subaru in Amherst is celebrating Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month this October in a different way…in about 3,100 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, Northtown 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.

This year, Northtown Subaru, located at 3930 Sheridan Dr. in Amherst, will keep Subaru’s donation local, and by donating to the SPCA Serving Erie County, Northtown Subaru will be assisting homeless animals right here in our community.

“Northtown Subaru is excited to add the October Adopt-A-Thon program to our annual sponsorship efforts along with the Subaru Share the Love program to support the Erie County SPCA,” said, Thomas Riggs, general gales manager of Northtown Subaru. “We’re fortunate in Western New York to have such a worthy organization.”

“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. Northtown 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 every day, and cats on Saturdays only, are still required and can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.

Check out the SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth’s Subaru, prepped for her move to New York State last year! Melanie says, “My trusty Outback got me, 4 cats, one dog, and houseplants from WA to NY during a pandemic!” Another reason we’re thrilled to be the beneficiaries of this Northtown Subaru campaign!

 

 

Injured Bald Eagle Rescued by SPCA Serving Erie County After Buffalo Police Hear “Loud Crash” Outside Building Yesterday

May 25, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

See the full story from WGRZ-TV on “2 The Outdoors” >>

UPDATE 9/12/21: This afternoon, the injured bald eagle found by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County returned to the skies of Western New York! As detailed below, the eagle was operated on by staff at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital on May 27, and on June 30, the incredible team at Messinger Woods Wildlife Care & Education Center, Inc. in Holland, NY  picked up the eagle for extensive rehabilitation led by Marianne Hites! Today, the Messinger Woods team (pictured here), joined by members of the SPCA and local media, released the bald eagle at Wendt Beach in Derby, NY! Check out video of the release below:

See the full release video complete with photos here >>

To learn more about Messinger Woods and the fine work the organization does in caring for the wildlife of our community, please visit their Facebook page here >>

Thank you to all who played a part in this gorgeous creature’s return to our skies. An entire community came together to save her life, from the Buffalo Police to members of the SPCA Serving Erie County, to the team at Cornell, and finally to the crew at Messinger Woods. Neither the SPCA Serving Erie County or Messinger Woods would be able to do the work the organizations do and save the lives of so many animals each year if it wasn’t for the donors who make our work possible. On behalf of Messinger Woods and the Wildlife team at the SPCA Serving Erie County, thank you to the donors who help us give these animals second chances.


UPDATE 5/28/21: On Wednesday, May 26, the bald eagle spotted by members of the Buffalo Police Department & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was transported to Ithaca, NY. The eagle was dropped off at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital for surgery on a severely fractured femur; the center wanted him immediately because, as our own Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote and Wildlife Director Barbara Haney explained earlier this week, after that fracture the muscles contract and can make surgery much more difficult.

Today, we heard from staff there that the eagle is doing “great” after surgery! Now he’ll have time to rest and they will create a rehabilitation plan for him. Exciting news for the eagle, and for this community!

Also of note: in the photo here, you’ll notice a thin, thread-like spike (for lack of a better word!) at the tip of the eagle’s wings. Barbara Haney tells us that is indicative of the eagle’s status as a first-year eagle born sometime this calendar year, probably February or March. According to the National Eagle Center website, bald eagles fledge at approximately 10 – 14 weeks, which tells us he has not been out of the nest for long.

We may not receive another eagle update from the wildlife hospital for a few weeks, but when we do, we will definitely share that update with you.

Once again, we thank the members of this community for your care and compassion. Your constant support of all types is what makes our work possible.


UPDATE 5/26/21: The bald eagle spotted by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was dropped off moments ago at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, an annex of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. He was photographed upon admission. We will provide updates on his progress as they are made available. Thank you to this caring, compassionate community, for all of the interest in and prayers for this magnificent bird. Your concern, your donations, and your constant support of all types are what make our work possible.


A juvenile bald eagle is in critical condition at the Wildlife Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a high building window in the City of Buffalo yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

The SPCA received the call yesterday afternoon from Tracy Masiello, crime analyst for Erie County, after Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino and Officer David O’Brien heard a loud crash outside of their offices at Court and Franklin Streets in Buffalo. They ran outside and there, across the street, a large bird was struggling on the sidewalk. The crash they heard was the bird flying into a window of a building across the street, approximately 30 feet high.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

“He tried to raise himself four or five times, but he was struggling and we could see he couldn’t lift up,” Detective Costantino said today. Despite the fact that the bird didn’t have a full white-feathered head, Detective Costantino said he knew right away that the bird was a bald eagle. “He was enormous, and his talons were so large, I could tell we were looking at an eagle.”

After receiving the call from Masiello, SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Rescue Team Officers Jennifer Maleskis and Tyler Robertson arrived at the location, retrieved the young bird, and rushed him to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department hospital, where they were met by Wildlife Director Barbara Haney and, within the hour, SPCA Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote.

 
  “By the time the bird made it to us, he was obviously quite stressed,” says Haney. “In addition to not being able to stand, he had an injury on his beak and blood in his mouth. He was open-mouthed breathing, a clear sign of his high stress level.”

Dr. Slote was able to provide an initial examination and determined the bird, a first-year bald eagle, has a fractured femur. Further assessment and radiographs this afternoon confirmed a severe fracture.

“We are doing everything we can for this magnificent bird, considering its compromised state at the moment,” said Haney, when asked whether the bird will survive. “We’re careful not to provide any solid prognosis at this time because the bird is still in critical condition and the outcome is uncertain.”

At this time, Dr. Slote will consult with wildlife professionals at Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Center, and will send them her assessment of the eagle along with the radiograph images. If the bird survives and responds to the supportive care, fluids, and medications it is receiving at the SPCA, Haney says, “…then it’s our hope that, once he is strong and stable, Cornell will accept the bird for surgery. The surgical team at Cornell is much better-suited for this sort of surgery…they perform it much more frequently…and they have the equipment and the pins and the other necessities large enough and strong enough for this extremely large animal.”

Haney adds, “Our primary hope right now is that the bird does, in fact, survive. That’s what we’re focused on right now. We’re doing everything in our power to help his survival so that we can actually have that discussion with Cornell about surgery and rehabilitation.”

This eagle is not the first cared for by the SPCA Serving Erie County Wildlife Department. “Eagles have made quite a comeback in the last 30 years or so,” Haney said, “and we’re starting to see them in all parts of Western New York, the City of Buffalo included. It’s possible this bird became disoriented for what could be one of several reasons, possibly even due to his reflection in the window of the high building, or he may have been in a territorial scuffle with a peregrine falcon, as hypothesized by our contacts at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”

The SPCA wishes to thank Buffalo Police Detective Costantino, Buffalo Police Officer O’Brien, and Erie County Crime Analyst Masiello for their cooperation, and for contacting our officers when they found the eagle and saw that it was in distress.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org/EagleRescue2021 for updates on the bald eagle.

Thank you to Detective Costantino, for providing us with the video and photographs from the scene of the rescue.

YOU can be part of saving these beautiful, wild animals in Erie County! Consider making a gift to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department right here >>

 

 

Reading to SPCA Animals is Back!
New Tale for Two Season Offers In-Person and Virtual Options.

September 1, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County is now welcoming readers into its 2021 – 2022 season Tale for Two program, encouraging children ages six through 16 to read aloud to adoptable animals at the SPCA, or therapy pets who are volunteers of the SPCA’s Paws for Love program! 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.

If registered for in-person reading, one adult and one child can visit the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter to read aloud to shelter pets. To remain consistent with COVID-related occupancy guidelines, only six child/adult teams will be allowed on the Adoptions floor at any given time, so space is extremely limited.

Virtual reading will take place on a Zoom call, during which participants will read to a Paws for Love therapy animal. Each virtual session will conclude with an opportunity for the child to ask the shelter representative questions about the animal or the SPCA.

This year’s reading season begins October 4, and is available in a three-month package (program cost: $50 for one 30-minute in-person reading session per week, or unlimited 30-minute virtual reading sessions); a ’21-’22 school year package (program cost: $85 for one 30-minute in-person reading session per week, or unlimited 30-minute virtual reading sessions; this package has an end date of June 9, 2022); or a full year 12-month package (program cost: $125 for one 30-minute in-person reading session per week, or unlimited 30-minute virtual reading sessions; this package has an end date of September 15, 2022).

In-person shelter reading opportunities along with virtual reading slots are available Mondays and Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter. 

Children can read from their own reading materials, or make a selection from the SPCA’s library.

REGISTER NOW  to choose your reading package and to select your desired virtual orientation date (orientation is mandatory for adults and recommended for the child readers). Space is extremely limited. For more information on Tale for Two, please contact SPCA Director of Humane Education Christine Davis at 716-875-7360, ext. 262, or christined@yourspca.org .

Register for TALE FOR TWO now!


From the SPCA’s Humane Education Department regarding the safety of children participating in one of the Humane Ed programs:

“The SPCA Serving Erie County has and always has had strict cleaning and safety policies in place due to the nature of animal sheltering and the potential for zoonotic disease exposure. During the age of COVID-19, we will follow all CDC guidelines and recommendations. At this time, the SPCA Humane Education Department requires social distancing and masks for all participants, regardless of vaccination status. There will also be a temperature check and COVID screening prior to entry.”

Just click on the image below to find out if the SPCA’s Foster Care program is right for you! Our greatest need is feline foster parents, but we will accept applications from those willing to foster other kinds of animals as well!

The Parakeet and the Juggler

UPDATE, August 23, 2021 After a few close calls, no owner came to claim Hilby the parakeet. He went up for adoption today at 11:05 a.m. We didn’t have to wait long for the end to Hilby’s story…at 11:14 a.m. he was adopted! A nine-minute adoption floor length-of-stay may be the shortest on SPCA record, and that’s a 154-year-old history! We of course won’t give too many details on Hilby’s new residence other than to say this…Hilby is now called DION, and if you see a “wanderer” that looks like the bird pictured above flying the West Seneca, NY skies, well, please give us a call, because it might be Dion!


August 17, 2021 — If you have seen Hilby The Skinny German Juggle Boy at the #ErieCountyFair or elsewhere, you already know his remarkable talent is unmatched. Now you can add “….and Compassionate Animal Lover Who Takes Action When Needed!” to his long resume! As caring as he is skilled, check out this saga that unfolded yesterday! Read about it here >>

The bird’s name? Why, it’s Hilby, of course, at least while he’s with us! Hilby’s stray hold period lasts until August 23, so hopefully his owner will hear of this story and come to our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter!


ERIE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
John J. Flynn, District Attorney

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2021


DEPEW MAN INDICTED ON ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGE FOR BEATING HIS CAT TO DEATH WITH A BASEBALL BAT

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 52-year-old Boyd C. Baker of Depew was arraigned yesterday afternoon before Erie County Court Judge Sheila A. DiTullio on an indictment charging him with one count of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (Class “E” felony).

It is alleged that on February 14, 2021, at approximately 10:48 p.m., Depew Police officers responded to a residence on Penora Street after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor. The defendant is accused of hitting his cat multiple times with a baseball bat, causing its death. The incident allegedly occurred in the driveway outside of the defendant’s home.

Baker is scheduled to return on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. for a pre-trial conference. He remains released on his own recognizance as the charge is non-qualifying for bail.

Judge DiTullio issued an order prohibiting the defendant from owning any animals.

If convicted of all charges, Baker faces up to four years in prison.

DA Flynn commends the Depew Police Department, the SPCA Serving Erie County and SPCA Investigator Bill Heine for their work in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Megan E. Mahoney 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.

 

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Please click on the image below for more information on the SPCA’s Guest Services Coordinator job opening:

Scentimental SPCA Tale Blooms at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses 

July 29, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

People find love at the SPCA Serving Erie County every day.

They’ve called us Match.com. eHarmony.

But Ancestry.com? This was a first.

To be fair, this magic moment did not actually happen at the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter. It actually started nearly eight years ago at our former shelter in Tonawanda…November 30, 2013, to be exact…and continued this summer at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville.

That’s where Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s, brings his dog, Foster, to work each day. As Yadon tells us, Foster happily greets customers as they begin their shopping…just for a few moments, Yadon said…then makes his way back to “dad.”

One day this summer, Foster left Yadon’s side to greet a male customer and didn’t immediately return. Yadon, wondering why Foster was uncharacteristically gone so long, headed to where the customer was shopping, and there with the shopper was Foster. Yadon says Foster simply would not leave the man’s side and kept sniffing his ankle and leg. When Yadon commented on this unusual behavior exhibited by Foster, the shopper replied that Foster may smell his own dog on him and that could be why Foster remained next to him.

Yadon and the customer started talking dogs, and the customer mentioned that he and his wife, Cheryl, had adopted their dog, an Australian Shepherd mix like Foster, from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago. He explained that their dog, Luke, was just  a puppy at the time, transported to the SPCA from Kentucky days earlier.

Yadon marveled at this adoption story because, like Luke, FOSTER was adopted from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago, and…yes…FOSTER was a puppy just transported to the SPCA from Kentucky.

Foster’s original name, Yadon shared, was “Randy.” Luke’s original name, the customer said, was “Travis.”

Randy. Travis. Littermates, it turns out, from the City Animal Shelter in Menifee, KY, transported from that overcrowded shelter to the SPCA Serving Erie County on November 26, 2013. Randy was adopted November 30, 2013 at 12:38 p.m., and Travis, the same day at 1:01 p.m.

The customer, Patrick Baird of Tonawanda, returned to Mischler’s the following week with Luke (Luke Skywalker is his full name) and the former Randy/Travis, now Foster/Luke, enjoyed a happy family reunion, all thanks to one expert sniffer who overstayed his welcome with a customer!

We know we speak for these two canines when we say being reunited must have felt so good. In the words of Randy Travis, they were too gone for too long.

You can meet the famous Foster at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Road in Williamsville!

See the story on WGRZ-TV here >>

A special thank you to Mark and Foster Yadon and Patrick, Cheryl, and Luke Baird for allowing us to share this heartwarming tale!

Take This Job and Love It:
Great Benefits Program with Perks for
Blue Collar Working Cats

June 21, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca



They’re a little too temperamental to be considered perfect, in-home, companion cats. Some are even feral. What’s to be done about these categories of cats when agencies like the SPCA Serving Erie County receive them as surrendered animals, or as part of an animal hoarding situation or other type of animal rescue or cruelty case?

For more than a decade, East Aurora-based Feral Cat FOCUS Inc. (FCF) has provided an answer for this agency and other cat welfare organizations in the state. Historically called other names such as the Adopt-A-Barn-Cat program and the Adopt-A-Working-Cat program, the Blue Collar Working Cats program now encompasses more of the varied establishments that have taken advantage of the loyal presence of these hard-working cats!

One of the founders of FCF, Edie Offhaus, says, “These are cats of various temperaments. In some cases, they are not exactly feral, but they’re unsocial. This program is a beautiful adoption alternative for these types of cats who have nowhere else to go.”

According to Offhaus, Blue Collar Working Cats have been placed in various New York State establishments including wineries, warehouses, nurseries and greenhouses, barns and stables, and more. “We place cats in all parts of Western New York, and assist agencies all over New York State, even some in the New York City area,” Offhaus states. When an organization representative calls to inquire about receiving Blue Collar Working Cats to live on the property, Offhaus says, “We conduct a thorough interview to ensure proper placement, since not all of these cats will thrive in all of these settings. We also ensure there are enough people who will take full responsibility for the care and feeding of these cats throughout their lifetime.”

Once an establishment is deemed a proper setting for specific Blue Collar Working Cats, a representative of FCF brings a minimum of two cats (some larger establishments have four or more Blue Collar Working Cats), already spayed or neutered, treated for fleas, and vaccinated by veterinarians at Operation PETS: the Spay/Neuter Clinic of WNY, Inc. for “grounding” purposes. Cats are placed in extra-large dog crates at their “new home” (when a separate, closed-off room is not available) for a three-week period, which allows them time to adapt to the different people, sights, sounds, smells, and, possibly, other animals that collectively comprise the new setting.  Most importantly, they begin to recognize the voices of those who will be providing the majority of care.

“Feral Cat FOCUS provides the crates and other equipment during the three-week grounding period,” Offhaus says. “After that, as with any adoption, all care is the responsibility of the new owners.” Offhaus also remarks that, in all the years of managing this program, FCF has had very few cats that didn’t respond to the new surroundings. “Now that the quality of life has increased for the animals and they’re more content, some of them become even more social and enjoy being present around people for longer periods of time.”

To date, more than 600 establishments house a minimum of two Blue Collar Working Cats. The purpose? “Rodent control, plain and simple,” Offhaus says. “Sometimes the mere presence of Blue Collar Working Cats is enough to keep rodents away from perceived food sources or food and beverage storage areas.”

FCF is unable to accept surrenders of cats from private owners who believe their cats may not be living a high quality of life indoors, yet feel guilty about keeping them outdoors or giving them up. “What we do,” explains Offhaus, “is walk those pet owners through how to set up a Blue Collar Working Cats program right at home. We remove the misplaced guilt they may feel over not keeping a cat indoors. Not every cat can life a high-quality life indoors. So we help these people establish a Blue Collar Working Cats program right where they are; we walk them through all the steps and assist as much as possible in their imitation of our program.”

The SPCA Serving Erie County is honored to be one of the organizations with which FCF works in its Blue Collar Working Cats program. Several hundred cats who were not viable adoption candidates found new lives through FCF and this program, and the SPCA is indebted and eternally grateful to the team at FCF for dedicating so many of their resources to these special cats with high work ethics.

Organization representatives who believe Blue Collar Working Cats might be a welcome addition to their establishments are encouraged to call FCF at 1-888-902-9717 or visit the FCF website to learn more about adopting a working cat team.

Feral Cat FOCUS Inc. is an all-volunteer organization with 501(c)(3) status. Donations are welcomed and encouraged. Make a gift or learn more >>

SPCA Serving Erie County LVT Constantino is Nominee for 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award

Vote for Marisa each day >>

June 18, 2021 — The annual American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ honor the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives, and this year, the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Marisa Constantino, LVT and Dr. Allison Kean, DVM were both nominated for these awards and recognition!

Constantino, pictured here, is one of five veterinary nurses selected to advance to the voting round!

Voting for the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ ,  sponsored by Zoetis Petcare, is now open!  From now until 12 p.m. Pacific Time on July 29, 2021, you can vote for your favorite vet and vet nurse each day. Your votes will determine the winners that will be featured on Hallmark Channel this fall.

If you are a U.S. resident at least 18 years old, please vote for Marisa each day right here >>

Marisa was nominated due to the outstanding care she provides. Her nomination at AmericanHumane.org reads as follows: 

Marisa demonstrates the characteristics of an American Hero Veterinary Nurse on a daily basis. She demonstrates the perfect balance of professionalism, compassion, logic, curiosity, and reason. Marisa approaches each animal she is presented with as if that animal is the only one she will treat that day, and may not see again. For a large, open admission, multi-species shelter, and public-facing clinic, Marisa does the work of 3 technicians. She has taken on the role of trainer and mentor to a large number of 4th year veterinary students on a regular shelter rotation, and does so with the knowledge that she has been influenced by preceptor mentors like her, and strives to pay it forward, also with the knowledge that these future veterinarians will depend on the talents and skills of technicians as they settle into their career, and knowing how to navigate that partnership with grace and professional respect is crucial.

 As animal welfare shifts to a true social service initiative, the ability to serve people with the same respect as animals in need is a skill that Marisa demonstrates without even trying. She sees the big picture, and works to undo much of the oppression and discrimination that many clients seeking services have experienced at some point in their lives. Marisa sees only solutions, not barriers. 

Animal welfare needs to care about people as much as it cares about animals, and Marisa is a perfect vision of that goal. 

The SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services, Melanie Rushforth, says, “It is an honor to work with someone like Marisa on a daily basis.  She is a humble caretaker and an innovative veterinary nurse who represents the industry with the utmost professionalism.  She helps others be better.” We couldn’t agree more!

One winning Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse will be featured on the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards® broadcast on Hallmark Channel this fall!

Please take this opportunity to vote for Marisa as recipient of the American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award™, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same! 

–SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca