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

Updated July 6, 2020  7:12 a.m.

 

ON THIS PAGE:

-Status of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s programs and services during its COVID-19 Response period;

-Tips for pets at home and information on creating a pet disaster preparedness kit;

-The most current information available to us concerning COVID-19 and companion animals;

-List of cancelled SPCA events and programs.

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





On March 20, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo named “Animal Shelters” to the list of essential businesses in NYS.  In an effort to protect community members, patrons, volunteers, and staff members, the SPCA Serving Erie County is modifying its services in the following manner. Please check back frequently as this information is rapidly changing:

ANIMAL ADOPTIONS:
-On July 6, the SPCA Serving Erie County waived the need for adoption appointments for cats and other small animals. See the new adoption guidelines here. Please note that, at any time, the SPCA may revert to adoption appointments for cats and other small animals.
-Adoptions for dogs and some other animals will still be
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Monday through Saturday. Adoptions are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., & appointments will be made until approximately 3 p.m.
-In accordance with New York State regulations of 8 p.m. 4/17, anyone with an appointment must come to the SPCA wearing a mask or appropriate face shield.
-If you are interested in adopting an animal at the SPCA Serving Erie County, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 207 to schedule an appointment to visit the animals. At this time, appointments are not necessary for cats and other small animals.
-Please note that we are allowing a limited number of people in the Adoptions Lobby each day to reduce the number of people in our building at one time, in accordance with Erie County occupancy guidelines. This means that, depending on the number of people who arrive at the shelter before you, you may not be able to see the animals at the SPCA on the day you visit unless you have an appointment for adoption. While we’re thrilled you’d like to visit, the only people who will be allowed in SPCA adoption areas are those people wearing masks. Thank you for your understanding.

ANIMAL ADMISSIONS:
-The SPCA will slowly start admitting animals BY APPOINTMENT ONLY at this time. 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.-8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.-In accordance with New York State regulations of 8 p.m. 4/17, anyone with an appointment must come to the SPCA wearing a mask or appropriate face shield.

-At this time we are unable to assist after 8 p.m., however, there are emergency animal clinics in Erie County with systems in place to assist you after 8 p.m.

-For more information on how to proceed with either owned or outdoor cats who have kittens, please visit our #bestwithmom page.

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 Friday at 716-875-7360, ext. 214, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. During the hours of 4 p.m.-8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m.-8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.
-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.
-At this time we are unable to assist after 8 p.m., however, there are emergency animal clinics in Erie County with systems in place to assist you after 8 p.m.

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 will absolutely need donations of towels, sheets, blankets, newspapers, etc. at a later time. If you have items to be donated, we cannot accept them at this time  but we’d love it if you could  please hold them for our animals! Details >>
-Due to staffing restrictions at this time, most donation receipting is on hold.  We ask for your patience as receipts may be delayed by a few weeks.

EDUCATIONAL FARM:
Closed to the general public.
-If you have a sick or injured farm animal you are surrendering to the SPCA Serving Erie County, please follow the Animal Admissions guidelines above. Only sick or injured animals can be admitted at this time.
-If you are ill and have a sick or injured farm animal to surrender, please follow the Animal Admissions guidelines above to schedule an appointment for possible pick-up.
-Adoptions are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
-Those interested in adopting farm animals or fowl should call 716-875-7360 ext. 212 or 215 to make an appointment to meet the animals.
-Find information on equine care during the COVID-19 pandemic here >>

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 in an emergency euthanasia situation and are calling Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m.-8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.
-Information on pet euthanasia  is available here >>  

FIELD TRIPS, TOURS, OTHER GROUP VISITS:
Currently-scheduled visits have been cancelled.

HUMANE EDUCATION
See programs currently offered virtually, including book-reading and crafts, on our virtual
video playlist >>

HUMANE POSTER & CREATIVE WRITING CONTEST:
Extended. New deadline for submissions: August 31, 2020. Children’s pieces can now be submitted digitally. For all revisions to this contest, please visit http://YourSPCA.org/RevisedContest .

LIPSEY CLINIC
CLOSED
– no new appointments will be made at this time.

PETIQUE
Closed to the general public.

SUMMER CAMP HAS GONE VIRTUAL
On-site Summer Camp 2020 has been cancelled, however, the SPCA will offer a virtual camp program, along with various children’s activities. More information is available here >>

VOLUNTEERS
There will be no new volunteer orientations at this time. All youth volunteer attendance is postponed. There will be no new Paws for Love volunteer evaluations or orientations until later this year. If you are a current volunteer, please check with your team’s coordinator for further instructions…and thank you for everything you’re doing to stay informed while you’re continuing to help our animals.

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!
Monday-Sunday
8 a.m.-6 p.m. please call 716-449-0727.
6 p.m.-8 p.m. please call 716-449-0363.
8 p.m.-8 a.m. we are closed.
-In accordance with New York State regulations of 8 p.m. 4/17, anyone with an appointment to bring an animal to the SPCA must come to the shelter wearing a mask or appropriate face shield.
-For more information on how to proceed with baby bunnies or squirrels you may find outdoors,  please visit our #bestwithmom page.

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



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.


May & June, 2020
Because information and updates are continuing to change at an even more 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 below. Thank you.

Updated April 27, 7:05 a.m.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) state in a recent document concerning COVID-19’s transmission between humans and animals, “CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.” Read that entire document from the CDC here.

Updated April 24, 5:09 p.m.
Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association DVM states ““It is critically important that pet owners keep these few positive cat cases in perspective and not make rash decisions about their pets. At this time there is no reason to think that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans. It is likely that the pets were infected by people with COVID-19. We do know that our pets provide very important and positive roles in our lives.” Read the full HSVMA document
here >>

Updated April 24, 9:17 a.m.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has released a statement regarding the confirmation of COVID in two New York State cats. Read that statement and find more information on testing pets here.

Updated April 22, 4:14 p.m.
The USDA has released a document regarding the confirmation of COVID in two cats residing in separate parts of New York State. Included in this document is the following statement: “Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected.” Read the full USDA document here.

Updated April 15, 11:30 a.m.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has released information from the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition offering tips for safely sheltering at home with pets during the COVID crisis. See that document here.

Updated April 6, 10:27 a.m.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has released important information concerning animals and COVID-19. That information can be found here. As we frequently remind you, this situation is rapidly evolving. Please check back for the latest published research findings as more information becomes available.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has released an updated advisory document today. That document can be viewed here.

Updated April 5, 2020, 8:50 p.m.
Today, news was released of a tiger at the Bronx Zoo testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans). Read the USDA’s statement on the tests that were conducted, as well as FAQs on animals and COVID-19 based on what is known about the virus at this time (including ‘Can people give this virus to animals?’ and ‘Should I avoid contact with pets and other animals?’) here.

Updated April 3, 2020, 7:26 p.m.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has released an updated advisory document today. That document can be viewed here.

Updated March 27, 2020, 9:47 p.m.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has released an updated advisory document today. Please view that document here.

Updated March 26, 2020, 10:45 a.m.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has kept current a second advisory document from March 20 (in addition to the document linked below) that no evidence exists that COVID-19 can be contracted from pets.

Updated March 20, 2020, 2:54 p.m.
Today, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) released an updated advisory document concerning COVID-19 and companion animals. Please find that document here >> .

Updated March 17, 2020, 11:57 a.m.
Yesterday, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) released an updated advisory document concerning COVID-19 and companion animals. Please find that document here >> .

March 12, 2020
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 increases in New York State and worldwide, the SPCA Serving Erie County is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of people and animals on its premises.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is releasing advisory documents and information concerning animals and COVID-19. In an 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.”

Please regularly check for updates as more information becomes available.


The SPCA has cancelled events through Summer, 2020. Some of these events will be rescheduled. Cancelled events include but are not limited to:

April 8:                 Wake Up With Wildlife “Wildlife Rescue” seminar
For more information, contact SPCA Wildlife Director
Barbara Haney: 716-875-7360, ext. 220.

April 13-17:          School Break Camp
For more information, contact SPCA Humane Education Director
Christine Davis: 716-875-7360, ext. 262.

April 20:                “CBD and Pets” seminar
For more information, contact SPCA Humane Education Director
Christine Davis: 716-875-7360, ext. 262.

April 26:                 Paws at the Pub
For more information, contact Buffalo Brewpub: 716-632-0552.

March & April:   “Furry Tales Preschool Story and Adventure Time” sessions
For more information, contact SPCA Humane Education Director
Christine Davis: 716-875-7360, ext. 262.

March & April:   “Tale for Two” reading sessions
For more information, contact SPCA Humane Education Director
Christine Davis: 716-875-7360, ext. 262.

March & April:   Scout workshops
For more information, contact SPCA Humane Education Director
Christine Davis: 716-875-7360, ext. 262.

March & April:   New volunteer orientations
For more information, contact SPCA Volunteer Services Director Kelly Deschamps: 716-875-7360, ext. 232.

March & April:   Youth volunteer attendance and programs
For more information, contact SPCA Volunteer Services Director Kelly Deschamps: 716-875-7360, ext. 232.

June 2020:   Wine & Wags
For more information on our socially-distant FANIMAL Fundraiser, please contact Caitlin at the SPCA: CaitlinF@yourspca.org

Summer Camp June-August, 2020
On-site Summer Camp 2020 has been cancelled, however, the SPCA will offer a virtual camp program, along with various children’s activities. Details are available here. For more information, please contact Christine at the SPCA: ChristineD@yourspca.org.

If an SPCA Serving Erie County program or event on your calendar is not on this changeable list, please contact the SPCA at 716-875-7360 prior to attending for confirmation.

This is NOT a static list. As officials at the SPCA work to address the ever-changing health needs in our community, any new information will be released as soon as possible.


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

ECMC Staff Receiving SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love Therapy House Calls

April 14, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love therapy animals are hitting the virtual road again as they make more HOUSE CALLS, this time bringing their comfort and care to Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).

When ECMC staff members were asked what could be done to help make them feel just a little better, the response included an overwhelming desire for therapy pets.

Enter the SPCA’s Paws for Love therapy animals. The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love two and four-footed volunteers will be making virtual house calls to the staff at ECMC through recorded therapy visits. “SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love: HOUSE CALLS, Project ECMC” starts this week;  ECMC staff members will be informed about where they can view the “visits” on ECMC’s Intranet site.

ECMC Corporate Associate Medical Director and Emergency Department Attending Physician Dr. Sam D. Cloud said, “Our dedicated clinical and support staff are working many long, difficult hours each day to address the many needs of our diverse patient population during this pandemic. On behalf of us all at ECMC, I am pleased to offer our sincere thanks to the SPCA for providing virtual access to their therapy animals through their ‘Paws for Love’ video visits.”

Read more about the SPCA Paws for Love: HOUSE CALLS program and find a playlist of house calls here >>

The SPCA Serving Erie County shares its gratitude and thanks to the professionals at ECMC for doing everything in their power to help us recover and rebound during the current health crisis. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you all.

MYRTLE THE TURTLE (and her rubber ducky):
HEADING HOME TO BUFFALO!

April 11 — And now, for your viewing pleasure…straight from the SPCA in West Seneca, NY…ladies and gentlemen, after a stay of approximately 111 days…join us in saying goodbye to MYRTLE THE TURTLE!

Today, Anthony and Jill from Buffalo brought Myrtle home to her new 100-gallon aquarium!

They also adopted Myrtle’s rubber ducky and smiley-face balloon, so we know Myrtle will easily make the transition! Thank you, Jill and Anthony, for loving our gorgeous girl as much as we do! GOODBYE, MYRTLE! We’ll all miss you SO MUCH! Be a good girl! Have a happy,loooooooooooooong life!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

 

See the story on WIVB.com here >>

April 9, 2020This story was released last year to help pet owners make it a safe Easter for pets. This year’s holiday is very different from last year’s, but some of these reminders are still applicable for community members planning on bringing at least a few Easter traditions into the home on Sunday. 

LILIES, CHOCOLATE HARMFUL TO PETS; OTHER EASTER PET SAFETY REMINDERS

March 25, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

The SPCA Serving Erie County reminds pet owners that chocolate and Easter lilies can be harmful, even deadly, to pets.

All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, and others are toxic to felines. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can result in kidney failure and, if untreated, death. Shortly after ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the kidney damage progresses, these signs worsen. In most cases, a cat must be treated within mere hours of ingesting the plant, or damage to the kidneys will be irreversible.

Most chocolate contains high amounts of fat and methylxanthine alkaloids (theobromine and caffeine) that cause constriction of arteries, increased heart rate, and central nervous system/cardiac muscle stimulation.

These effects can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, increased urinating, stiffness, and exaggerated reflexes. Cardiac failure, seizures, coma, and death can result if the chocolate ingestion is not found within four to six hours and treated appropriately.

Other reminders:

*Thinking about bringing a bunny into the home? Check out this important article from the SPCA’s former Rabbit Coordinator Mark Schnerle and the House Rabbit Society. You’ll see the truth about the nine most common bunny myths, you’ll learn how to select the right rabbit for you and your family, and more!

*If you color your Easter eggs, ensure the food colorings or dyes do not contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. And speaking of eggs, why risk salmonella by including raw eggs in your pets’ diet? Cooked eggs will offer them the same nutritional benefit.

*Check candy for the ingredient XYLITOL, extremely toxic to dogs even in very small amounts. Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, and does not raise human blood sugar levels or damage teeth. However, it’s extremely toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, seizures, and death.

*Keep Easter basket ‘grass’ and foil candy wrappers away from pets. These items are non-digestible and can get caught in the intestines, leading to blockage and possible perforation. They can lead to choking, strangulation, and even worse, an internal obstruction.

*If you’re using garlic, onions, or chives in meal preparation, be extra careful about ensuring your pets aren’t sneaking a taste. These items are toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia. Adding to the risk is the fact that signs of both may not appear for several days. Signs of toxicity include increased heart/breathing rates, pale gums, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.

*Tempted to share holiday table scraps with Fido or Fluffy? Use discretion. Be aware of bones in the mix. And don’t overfeed your animal with table food to which he’s not accustomed…diarrhea is never a pleasant thing with which to deal, especially on a holiday.

*Be careful in selecting spring plants for the home. The foliage, flower, or pod of daffodils can cause upset tummies, vomiting, or diarrhea; flower heads of hydrangeas can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness; the seeds and pods of wisteria can cause all of the above plus dehydration and collapse; even ivy is toxic and can cause breathing difficulty, coma, or death.

*Be sure curious pets are not able to get at a garbage bag! Even if harmful items are properly disposed of, an unsupervised pet can chew through a plastic garbage bag and still have access to raw bones and other waste.

Contact your veterinarian for more information.  In an after-hours or holiday veterinary emergency, you can reach an emergency veterinary clinic at 716-839-4043 in Cheektowaga, or 716-662-6660 in Orchard Park.

Spending time social distancing in the backyard or on a nature walk? Check out the warnings concerning ticks and Lyme Disease from the Erie County Department of Health by clicking on the image below.

From BuffaloNews.com: click on the image below to read Sandra Tan’s touching story about K-9 Apollo’s retirement and the K-9 Retirement Fund set up by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the SPCA Serving Erie County:

PUPS AT THE PEN Trainee Sora Receives the Best Graduation Gift of All: A New Family!

January 21, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Erie County Jail Management Superintendent Tom Diina adopts inmate-trained pup

More than 50 dogs have graduated from the locally-dubbed “Pups at the Pen” program sponsored by the SPCA Serving Erie County and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. But it took one dog’s eyes, resemblance to a pet recently lost, and charisma that jumped right out of the photo to catch the eye…and heart…of Tom Diina, Erie County jail management superintendent.

Pups at the Pen began in the summer of 2016 and allows dogs from the SPCA Serving Erie County to reside with female inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility. The women are trained by a professional dog trainer to work with the dogs, providing a level of behavior lessons and attention that wouldn’t be possible in a shelter setting. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office credits the program as leading to better behavior by inmates at the facility and a reduced re-offense rate, while it helps shelter dogs learn important behavior lessons that contribute to faster adoptions.

In December, Sora, a one-year-old brown-eyed girl, was sent to the correctional facility as the SPCA’s latest Pups at the Pen candidate, and it didn’t take long for staff there to send Diina photos of their newest temporary resident. Noting a resemblance to a pet to whom the Diina family recently had to say sad goodbyes, Diina decided to meet Sora. The connection was immediate and led to the best grad gifts Sora could have hoped for six weeks later on graduation day: a new family and a new home!

Jan. 20, 2020 — Sora is the newest family member of the Diina family! Here, she and dad Tom prepare for the ride home from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden!

With the help of the SPCA’s Matt Cicatello and trainer Melissa Staniszewski of Sit n Stay Pet Services in Orchard Park, Monday’s graduation ceremony and adoption turned into a heartwarming story shared locally and by media outlets throughout the nation on Monday!

After two days in her new home, Diina tells us Sora has already made their home her own and is keeping her new four-footed sister, Marci, very busy!

Check out some of the stories as told by Newsradio 930 WBEN, WIVB-TV, WKBW-TV, Spectrum News, and just a few of the other news outlets elsewhere in the country that carried the story:
– ABC7 in NYC
KMOV4 in St. Louis
– CBS 46 in Atlanta

For more information on Pups at the Pen or SPCA adoptions, please contact the SPCA Serving Erie County at 716-875-7360.