The SPCA’s New SHADOW CAT Initiative

February 10, 2022
By: Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

UPDATE 4/21/22: The adoption fee for all Shadow Cats, regardless of age, has been waived! This includes the adoption of Shadow Cats from either the SPCA shelter or a foster home! Wondering if an adoptable kitty has been designated as a Shadow Cat? Check out adoptable animal photos here >>  and click on individual listings of our cute cats to read their descriptions and find out if they are Shadow Cats!

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The SPCA Serving Erie County is proud to roll out a new initiative that shines the spotlight on a unique population of animals in our care.   Effective immediately, the SPCA’s Shadow Cat effort will work to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes. 

Fear is common and a perfectly normal, innate, and adaptive behavior in all animals. However, if fear isn’t addressed appropriately, it can develop into serious behavioral and health problems and result in deterioration. Our goal with Shadow Cats is to be proactive in managing a cat’s fearfulness or shyness should a cat surrendered to the SPCA present those behaviors while in the shelter.

Transitions and big changes are hard for many cats, even ones who are not identified as fearful. In preparing to introduce a cat into the home regardless of their confidence level, it is very important to set the cat up for a successful experience by making some small, but important adjustments.  The intent of Shadow Cats is to offer a home environment, in the form of a foster home setting, to allow the cat to gain confidence, relax, and build trust.  These cats may wind up being the best friend that was missing in that particular home, and we always consider that a foster “win” rather than the traditional term “foster fail.” Even if the stay is temporary, the effects of a loving and welcoming home environment will be permanent. 

Introduction to a new home can be very challenging for a fearful cat. Fearful cats usually do best in relatively quiet homes or quiet areas of the home. Many fearful cats slowly become more confident as they get used to their living space and daily routine. The Foster Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County will assist new and experienced foster parents with whatever they may need to help  Shadow Cats acclimate to their homes.  Time, patience, love, and food are some of the ingredients that will help a Shadow Cat step into the light a little bit at a time. 

It is a special experience to build a relationship and bond with a fearful cat, and it is deeply rewarding. The journey may be long, but patience is a true gift to a nervous cat in need.  Just like people, cats can have vastly different personalities.  Some of these Shadow Cats may blossom into lap cats, while others may remain the quiet roommate that is grateful for love, attention (from a distance) and a safe place to call home.  Whatever the end result, we are grateful to have the opportunity to showcase these special cats in an effort to save more lives. 

Do you have room in your life for a Shadow Cat? Find out how you can get involved right here >>

 

Fun photos from this fabulous event >>

We have one word to describe March 25, 2022’s adoption event at Northtown Subaru in Amherst: SUBARUNBELIEVABLE!

The team at Northtown Automotive Companies & Northtown Subaru went full speed ahead, and brought along the Buffalo Sabres, to hold an exciting adoption event for our SPCA!

Plenty of our animals found new love, and $28,680 was donated through Subaru’s recent “Share the Love” campaign! Sabres fans were able to have their photos taken with former players Rob Ray and Pat Kaleta along with sassy Sabretooth, and adopters received a pair of tickets to an upcoming game!

On behalf of the SPCA’s staff, volunteers, and animals, thousands of tail wags go out to our friends at Northtown!

See the photo album filled with pics of the fun at bit.ly/NorthtownAdoptionEvent, or just click one of the images below!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

Email MelanieR@yourspca.org for information or to register for the virtual session, or click on the image below for details on the SPCA’s Foster Care Department:

SHADOW CATS

Help a cat see the light! Become a member of the SPCA’s Foster Care team and bring home a “Shadow Cat!” And now, you can ADOPT a Shadow Cat for a waived adoption fee! Shadow Cats:
-Are quiet, polite roommates
-Are low-key
-Are not attention-seekers
-Keep to themselves
-Are perfect for those with busy lifestyles
-Only require food, a litter box, and plenty of hiding spots! 
NEW! Are available for adoption from either a foster home or the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter for a waived adoption fee! Read about this exciting update here! >>

Shadow Cat foster parents will foster cats in the home a minimum of two weeks; length of stay depends on each cat’s individual needs. As with all foster companions, the SPCA provides food, supplies, veterinary care, and guidance.

You can read more about the SPCA’s Shadow Cat Program here. If you’d like to help a Shadow Cat see the light, please contact the SPCA’s Foster Care Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 216, or FosterCare@yourspca.org

Learn About the SPCA’s Foster Care Program >>

 

Updated April 14, 3:32 p.m.

MASK POLICY: Face masks are REQUIRED for all unvaccinated adults & children, and for all adults & children utilizing services in the Lipsey Clinic, Wildlife Department, or participating in a Humane Education program, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are OPTIONAL for vaccinated individuals not utilizing services of the Humane Education Department, Wildlife Department, or Lipsey Clinic.

 



SPCA SERVICES & PROGRAMS

During the COVID pandemic, the SPCA Serving Erie County is regularly modifying its services and programs in an effort to protect community members, patrons, volunteers, and staff members. This information is updated when necessary, and supersedes other information you may see on this website or others. Thank you!


ANIMAL ADOPTIONS:

-Beginning Monday, April 18, 2022, no appointments will be necessary for any animal adoptions!

-Adoptions are open Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


ANIMAL ADMISSIONS:

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the SPCA.

-The SPCA admits surrendered animals BY APPOINTMENT ONLY at this time and you will be added to a surrender waiting list. There is a long WAITING LIST TO SURRENDER ANIMALS. This list is vital in allowing us to save animals’ lives and remain open for animal admissions. As of March 8, cat and dog surrenders are being scheduled in April of 2022. Please think ahead and make your surrender appointments early! Can’t wait? Learn more about the REHOME BY Adopt-a-Pet.com program here >>

-If you need to rehome your pet more quickly, or are interested in finding a home for your pet on your own, learn more about the REHOME BY Adopt-a-Pet.com program here >>

-Admission appointments will be made in accordance with staff and shelter population during this updated COVID Response phase. We will also schedule appointments around the admission of animals already owned by the SPCA residing in volunteer foster homes (200+ animals) who will slowly and safely be brought back into the shelter and placed for adoption.

-Please know we do not take your patience in this matter for granted! The consideration you’ve shown us during this phase is tremendously appreciated.

-If you are calling Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., please call 716-875-7360, press 0, and ask for the Admissions Department. If you are calling Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m., with an emergency only, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 214.

-At this time we are unable to assist after 7:30 p.m., however, there are emergency animal clinics in Erie County with systems in place to assist you after 7:30 p.m.

 

ANIMAL EMERGENCIES, ANIMAL RESCUE, & ANIMAL CRUELTY INVESTIGATIONS:
-If you are experiencing an emergency with your animal or find that an animal is in an emergency situation, please call the SPCA Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214.

-At this time we are unable to assist after 7:30 p.m., however, there are emergency animal clinics, animal control organizations, and law enforcement agencies in Erie County with systems in place to assist you between 7:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

-When you call, please advise the dispatcher if you or any members of your household are experiencing flu-like symptoms. This information will ensure first responders can prepare to prevent the spread of any illnesses.

DONATIONS:
-Those wishing to make financial donations are encouraged to do so online, by phone at 716-875-7360 ext. 227, or through the mail at SPCA Serving Erie County, 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224.

-The SPCA is once again able to accept in-kind donations of towels, sheets, blankets, newspapers, etc. dropped off by those wearing masks at our West Seneca shelter’s Adoptions doors! Although we are not able to pick up these donations, we sincerely appreciate the time and effort made by those who think of our animals and drop off these items to us. Receipts for in-kind donations can be picked up at the time of donation drop-off.

EDUCATIONAL FARM:

OPEN
once again to the general public! Educational Farm hours:

Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

-Those interested in adopting farm animals or fowl should call 716-875-7360, ext. 212 or 215 for more information.

-If you have farm animals or fowl you wish to surrender to the SPCA Serving Erie County,  please follow the Animal Admissions guidelines above.

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the Educational Farm.


END-OF-LIFE SERVICES:

-If you have made that difficult decision for your pet, the SPCA is still able to help with euthanasia services at this time BY APPOINTMENT.

-If you are calling Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., please call 716-875-7360, press 0, and ask for the Admissions Department to make your appointment. If you are calling Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m., in an emergency euthanasia situation only, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 214.

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the SPCA.

-Information on pet euthanasia  is available here >>  

FIELD TRIPS, TOURS, OTHER GROUP VISITS:
See virtual field trip and tour options here >>

HUMANE EDUCATION:
-See existing programs for children, including Tale for Two,  here >>

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the SPCA.

LIPSEY CLINIC AT THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY:

-We are thrilled to welcome back Dr. Puleo from her maternity leave! As we transition back to our normal operations, we will first ensure priority of our existing clients by opening up appointments, and will ultimately reopen on a full-scale basis. We’ll keep you posted as we gradually start to welcome new clients again, so keep watching this page! We hope to see you and your pet soon!

-See the Lipsey Clinic page here >>

PETIQUE:
OPEN to the general public Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  The number of people shopping in the Petique at one time will remain in accordance with current county occupancy guidelines.

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the Petique.

Curbside pick-up is available to the general public. For more information on curbside pick-up and items available, please contact the Petique: 716-875-7360, ext. 237. You may pay for your items by credit card over the phone, or have exact cash with you when you arrive at 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca to pick up your items! When you arrive, just call the number above and we will bring your items out to you. We promise, we’ll be wearing face masks, and we ask that you wear yours as well!

VOLUNTEERS:
-There is an immediate need for volunteers in particular departments. See those volunteer opportunities here >>

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the SPCA.

WILDLIFE:
-The Wildlife Department will be responding to animal emergencies.

-Anyone with a wild animal emergency should CALL BEFORE TOUCHING THE ANIMAL(s) OR BRINGING THE ANIMAL(s) IN!

-Only those wearing appropriate face masks, regardless of vaccination status
will be permitted to enter the SPCA.

-The Wildlife Department at the SPCA can be reached Monday – Sunday, INCLUDING HOLIDAYS, at the following times:

8 a.m. – 8 p.m. : Please call 716-875-7360, ext. 247.
8 p.m. – 8 a.m. : We are closed.

 

At this time, other departments will operate in limited capacities. Again, this information is rapidly changing.


PETS IN HOMES

Can you assist ill family members or friends by caring for the household pet(s) if someone becomes ill? If so, click on the images below for full-sized infographics to share, courtesy of Animalsheltering.org:

  

Pertaining to pets in homes, Animalsheltering.org recommends pet owners take the following simple steps to ensure preparedness in case of illness:

– Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets if someone in the household becomes ill;
– Have crates, food, and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets should it become necessary;
– All animal vaccines should be up-to-date in the event boarding becomes necessary;
– Ensure all medications are documented with dosages, administering directions, and if possible, your veterinarian’s prescription;
– Ensure pets are wearing identification (collar & ID tag) or are microchipped.

The SPCA also reminds you to eliminate any contact with your pet if you are exhibiting signs of illness.

-Find a list of recommendations for SPCA Officer Tyler Robertson’s  PET DISASTER PREPAREDNESS KIT here >>

-Find SPCA Serving Erie County recommendations for properly caring for your pets during this COVID-19 Response period here >>

-Find information on equine care during the COVID-19 pandemic here >>

-For more information on your pets and COVID-19, please speak with your veterinarian.


CURRENT INFO: Pets & COVID-19

Because information and updates are continuing to change at an incredibly rapid pace, we do not want to run the risk of providing anything less than the most current information concerning animals and COVID-19. The SPCA urges viewers of our website to seek information at any given time by speaking personally with their trusted veterinarians, or find relevant up-to-date information using one of the trusted resources we’ve cited in the past:
Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC)
-Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA)
-American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
-World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
-United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

In a WSAVA advisory document entitled The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals, it is stated, “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people,” recommending that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. “This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.”


This page will be regularly updated with the most current developments at the SPCA Serving Erie County. Please check back frequently.

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

NO BONES ABOUT IT…KEEP PETS SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING

November 18, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Yes, Thanksgiving 2020 & 2021 have looked  very different 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.

With changes to the veterinary industry, seeking timely medical care for your pet, especially on a holiday, can prove itself to be problematic. Pet owners are advised to take every preventative measure possible to eliminate the chance of animals requiring emergency veterinary care.

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 >>

 

 


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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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 >>

Read the entire article by clicking on the image below:

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