INTERNET PUPPY SCAM HITS CLOSE TO HOME

July 9, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

UPDATE May 19, 2023 — There is a current “puppy scam” taking place involving the SPCA Serving Erie County. Through a fake SPCA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092032312194 , a person is claiming to represent the SPCA Serving Erie County and is requesting down payments on Golden Retriever puppies.

One of the Buffalo residents on the verge of being scammed visited the SPCA this afternoon with proof of a Facebook conversation with the scammer, who asked her to send him a down payment of several hundred dollars before picking up her puppy at 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca. Fortunately, she visited prior to sending any money.  Since yesterday the SPCA filed numerous reports on the scammer, who is also using the organization’s federal identification number in an attempt to steal money from innocent parties. Please do not engage with this Facebook account. If you have fallen victim to this scam, information on how to file a report is available below.

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It was just last month that the American Kennel Club issued a warning about online “puppy scams” in its article How to Spot a Puppy Scam Online.

The scams have hit close to home.

One Buffalonian and friend of the SPCA who wishes to remain anonymous cautions those looking for puppies to avoid a scam to which he fell victim this week.

“Sam” has been looking for a puppy for several months and has sent online applications, which included his mobile number, to various local and national groups. When he received a text from, the sender claimed, a representative of one animal organization based in Tennessee (although the text was from a 916 Sacramento, CA area code), Sam was delighted to learn the organization had a Golden Retriever puppy available right in New York. Fulton, NY, to be exact. The text message included photos of a puppy that looked very similar to the puppy in this photo: two photos of the puppy with a red ribbon around his neck standing next to a red Valentine’s Day heart, and one photo of the puppy on a blue mat next to a pail and flowers.

The pictures looked vaguely familiar, and since Sam had been looking for a puppy for a few months, he assumed he saw the photos at some point during his search. The puppy was too appealing to pass up. Sam expressed interest and asked when he might be able to purchase and pick up the pup.

The representative said he’d hold the puppy with a 50% “reservation deposit,” nearly $400,  payable through mobile payment service Cash App. The balance would be paid upon puppy pick-up the following day. The address was a home on West 3rd Street South in Fulton, NY, approximately 2 1/2 hours away.

Upon Sam’s arrival at the home yesterday, there was no animal organization representative, no puppy, and Sam was told he was the fourth person this month who arrived at the home looking for this very Golden Retriever pup.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), most victims of puppy scams lose between $100 and $1000, although some report losing considerably more. The BBB recommends reporting fraud to the BBB Scam Tracker, Petscams.com, the Federal Trade Commission (1-877-FTC-HELP), and others. Find this information and more in the BBB’s November, 2019 article Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers / A BBB Study .

The Humane Society of the United States shares warnings about Internet pet sale consumer scams, how to find a reputable dog breeder, and more in Consumer Scam: Internet Pet Sales.

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

May 1, 2023
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 live 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.

April 4, 2023 

Northtown/Sabres adoption event photos >>

 Amherst, New York – Northtown Automotive Companies, the Official Automotive Dealer of the Buffalo Sabres, is thankful to have hosted a successful SPCA Adoption Event on Tuesday April 4th at KeyBank Center. Northtown’s Subaru Share the Love campaign also had the pleasure to present a check of $34,118.29 to the SPCA during the event. 

Northtown Automotive Companies’ partnership with SPCA is one of great value due to the strong mission of the SPCA. The collaboration between SPCA and its supporters is proof of what can be accomplished when like-minded people band together for a common cause, whether it be advocating for stronger animal protection laws, encouraging responsible pet ownership, or simply raising awareness about the importance of treating all animals with compassion and respect. 

The SPCA Adoption Event that took place in early April was a big success. Pets were happily adopted and left with loving and kind pet owners to spend the rest of their lives with. As advertised, new owners of adopted pets would be granted 2 free tickets to the April 13th Sabres Fan Appreciation game as a show of thanks. Adopted or not, this event saw a great number of people who came in to care for a play with the animals who were searching for forever homes. Along with the adoption aspect of the event, fans also had a blast interacting with Sabres alumni Don Luce and Larry Playfair along with the Sabres’ beloved mascot, Sabretooth.  

“This continued relationship with Northtown Automotive Company is something for which we are eternally grateful,” says SPCA Director of Behavior and Adoptions Mindy Ussrey. “Naturally, it helps our humane society whenever a sponsor works to help our message reach their audience, an audience we may not be able to reach otherwise. But Northtown helps us in so many other ways. Their donations are extraordinarily generous. Their support is unmatched. But by actually putting our animals in front of people…by sponsoring these adoption events and by bringing in powerhouses like the Buffalo Sabres to help increase attendance…they are personally vested in finding loving homes for animals who need these homes the most. It becomes more than a job or an obligation for them. It’s personal. We are so lucky to have found this type of a partner in Northtown Automotive.”

The mission of the SPCA is one that is simple, yet so important. Ultimately, contributing to the SPCA is a significant method to improve the lives of animals and the communities that provide for their needs.

There are various ways to help the SPCA, including giving money, volunteering, and speaking up for problems relating to animal care. Northtown Automotive Companies cherishes this partnership with the SPCA and is excited to continue to host and contribute to events that support the mission of the SPCA. 

“At Northtown, we are so proud to have been a part of such a successful adoption event with the Erie County SPCA and the Buffalo Sabres at Key Bank Center.  We were able to find forever homes for so many animals,” said Harold Erbacher, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Owner of Northtown Automotive Companies. “We pride ourselves on assisting others by creating a sense of family, generosity and sharing— both at the dealerships where we work and in the community we serve.”

Northtown Automotive Companies and the SPCA would like to give special thanks to the Sabres and KeyBank Center for teaming up to host such a special event. This tri-partnership is a special one and fans should be on the lookout for potential future events. 

Since 1969 Northtown Automotive Companies has expanded from a small used car operation in the Northtown’s of Buffalo to 10 State-of-the-Art retail operations representing 20 separate franchises including: Toyota, Volkswagen, KIA, Mazda, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, ProMaster, FIAT, Honda, Lexus, Subaru, Hyundai, Genesis, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Porsche, Mahindra Tractors and Collision Centre. For more information on Northtown Automotive Companies, visit https://www.northtownauto.com/ .

Northtown/Sabres adoption event photos >>


It’s easy! Visit the SPCA Serving Erie County’s
300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca location, find an animal you may be interested in adopting, and tell our adoption counselor you want to see If The Fur Fits!

See all adoptable animals >>

YOU CAN HELP US SAVE LIVES! BECOME AN SPCA FOSTER CARE VOLUNTEER!

Each year, dogs, cats, and other types of animals are admitted to the SPCA and are not ready to be put up for adoption. Foster care is a program specifically designed to place those animals into temporary homes where they can receive the care that they need!

The SPCA covers all veterinary care and associated costs, and the best news? When it’s time for the animal to be placed for adoption, foster care parents (or someone they know) can adopt the animal first, before the animal ever hits the adoption floor!

Click the image below to learn more about becoming an SPCA foster parent >>


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It’s a Win for Animals Throughout NYS! Governor Kathy Hochul Signs the “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill Into Law!

December 16, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County joins animal welfare organizations throughout New York State in sharing the exciting news that Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law! Read the full story here >>

“New York State will no longer allow brutally inhumane puppy mills around the country to supply our pet stores and earn a profit off animal cruelty and unsuspecting consumers,” said New York Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal. “By ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to partner with these stores to showcase adoptable animals and place them into forever homes.”

The SPCA Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, donors, and friends commend Governor Hochul for protecting the animals of our state while helping animal welfare agencies showcase animals in need of new families!


 

New York State Legislature Joins Senate in Passing Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline; Bill Now Awaits Signature from Governor Kathy Hochul

June 6, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

UPDATE, December 2 — The SPCA Serving Erie County continues to ask for increased support from the community in urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law. It’s important that this bill is signed before the end of the year. In an article on ASPCA.org, details are as follows:
“ASAP—call the Governor’s office at (518) 474-8390, ext. 3, and say: ‘Hello. I am a resident of New York, and I am calling to ask Governor Hochul to please sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill into law.’ ”

In that ASPCA.org article, you will also find a pre-drafted email form to submit to the Governor at the touch of a button.

Your support in this matter is of utmost importance! Please act quickly!


UPDATE, August 16 — The SPCA Serving Erie County asks for increased support from the community in urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law.

In a press release issued earlier this year by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), New York State Director for the HSUS Brian Shapiro said, “New York’s remaining pet stores are joined at the hip with puppy mills. This long-overdue legislation seeks to protect our state’s consumers and companion animals from the scourge of puppy mill cruelty. We applaud [sponsoring legislators] for championing this game-changing bill and for their tireless work aimed at shutting down the horrible puppy mill-to-New York pipeline.”

Your voice matters. Urge Governor Hochul to sign the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law, and help stop puppy mills in New York State today!

Ask Gov. Hochul to stop NYS puppy mills >>


The “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” bill passed in the New York State Legislature on June 3, 2022! 

The bill passed in the New York State Senate on July 21, 2020 (see full story below) and strengthened protection on May 10, 2022 (info here >> ).

That means it will now be placed in front of Governor Kathy Hochul to sign into law.

If the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill becomes a law, third-party retailers, such as pet stores, will have one year to strategize acquisition of dogs, cats, and rabbits from animal shelters and rescues rather than from sources that could include barbaric puppy mill breeding industries. The SPCA Serving Erie County joins other state animal welfare organizations in thanking NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and NYS Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal for their efforts in furthering the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill.  Read the full story on PRNewswire.com >>

See this story on WGRZ-TV >>


New York State Senate Passes “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill; Community Members Asked to Contact Assembly Members

July 22, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On Tuesday, July 21, the New York State Senate passed S.4234-A (Gianaris), the Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill.

Now, the SPCA Serving Erie County joins the New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF) in asking members of the community to take action in encouraging the Assembly to pass this important piece of legislation.

The Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill was one of the top legislative initiatives on the New York State Animal Protection Federation’s (NYSAPF) 2020 Humane Agenda.

From https://nysapf.org/legislation:
“Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline (A6298-A Rosenthal/S4234-A Gianaris): This bill would stop the puppy mill pipeline into New York State. Instead of selling animals (puppies, kittens and rabbits) that come from breeding factories, pet stores would have the opportunity to rebrand as humane businesses and host shelter and rescue adoption events. In 2018, pet owners across the globe spent over $72.5 billion on their animals. It is estimated that only 2% of those sales are for puppies, kittens and rabbits from mills. It is time for New York to say no to these mills which are actual factories. In the case of puppies, female dogs are placed in cages day in and day out purely to breed. They are impregnated. They deliver. Within weeks, they’re impregnated again. When they are no longer “of use” to the puppy mill, they are usually euthanized.”

More information on the passing of this bill >>

Visit the NYSAPF Action Center to find an automated email form that you can send to your Assembly member urging him or her to bring A6298-A to the Assembly floor for a vote right here >> 

For more information on this and other NYSAPF legislative initiatives, visit the organization’s Legislation page here.

The information for this article was provided by the New York State Animal Protection Federation.

 

 

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

October 3, 2022
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.

“Partnering with the Northtown 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!”

See adoptable animals at the SPCA >>

 

 

Click on the image below to watch the full story:



–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

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