SPCA Set to Receive Animals from Two Massive TN Hoarding Cases

July 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Next week the SPCA Serving Erie County will receive approximately 27 animals rescued from two massive hoarding cases in Tennessee.

The SPCA is an emergency placement partner of the Animal Rescue Corps (ARC), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to conducting large-scale rescues throughout North America. Organization members rescue animals from abusive and neglectful situations including puppy mills, hoarding situations, fighting rings, exotic animal cases, and more, along with conducting rescues during natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air

On June 23, the ARC assisted the Henry County Sheriff’s Department in Paris, TN with Operation Fresh Air, the removal of 45 dogs living in what the Corps called “…horrendous conditions in a single-family trailer.” See video from this rescue here, and see coverage from Knoxville, TN CBS affiliate WVLT-TV 8 here.

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Fresh Air
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

Just two days later, on June 25, the organization again assisted the Sheriff’s Department with Operation Caged Hell, a rescue of 726 animals from a home in Buchanan, TN that included the rescue of an 18-month-old toddler living in an animal cage mere feet away from a 10-foot boa constrictor and other snakes. (See video from this rescue here, along with the full story, videos, and photos from the rescue as covered by Nashville, TN Fox affiliate Fox-17 here.)

Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell
Animal Rescue Corps: Operation Caged Hell

As one of several ARC emergency placement partners, two volunteers from the SPCA Serving Erie County are scheduled to meet ARC drivers just outside of Cleveland, OH on Tuesday, July 28, to receive two dogs and four pups from Operation Fresh Air, and four dogs, four pups, four parakeets, eight domestic rats, and one gecko from Operation Caged Hell.

Barring any last-minute changes or delays, you can watch the SPCA’s Facebook page to see these animals arriving at our West Seneca shelter live on Tuesday. Estimated time of arrival is not yet determined, but will be announced on our Facebook page Tuesday.

Each animal has already received initial examinations and crucial care, and will receive further examination and any necessary additional care at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter infirmary. Most of the animals are expected to be temporarily placed in volunteer foster homes.

There is no word on when the animals will be available for adoption, but as they become available the animals will be listed on the SPCA’s Adoptable Animals website page.

Updates on this story will be provided as they become available.


YOU can help stop the puppy mill pipeline in New York State! The NYS Senate passed the “Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill. Now we’re asking YOU to contact your assembly members to bring this bill to the floor for a vote! Find out how & read the full story here >>  

INTERNET PUPPY SCAM HITS CLOSE TO HOME

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

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.

SPCA Summer Camp Offers Three Active Options for 2020

July 7, 2020
By:  SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s annual Summer Kindness Camp program has been modified to teach important lessons while keeping kids active, entertained, safe, healthy, and distant!

Three different camp options will be offered this summer:
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! (Update 7/15: Off-Leash Registration Closed)
KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks is a non-interactive kindness camp experience providing children with fun, engaging, hands-on activities and games that can be enjoyed at their convenience. Backpacks include one week’s worth of materials and instructions needed for the themed activities, art projects, educational handouts, and fun swag items…all children will need are safe scissors, glue, and a table cover for messy projects! There are three backpack themes available for $30 per backpack for children ages 5-12 and 12-15. See more on backpacks and register for your child’s backpack here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! (Update 7/15: Registration Closed) is a kindness camp with backpack projects that take place in the child’s home and yard, but the backpacks also go “off-leash” with some interactive, virtual experiences! Each day, 30-60-minute live, virtual interactions with people and animals will take place; campers will virtually meet different animals, participate in interactive games and activities, and learn lots of new things! Also included are on-demand videos, and additional, downloadable activity sheets! Themes, age ranges, dates, and costs vary; see more about KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! here. (Update 7/15: Registration Closed)

KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience is a veterinary camp series for children who love animals and are interested in exploring veterinary careers! Campers will learn what it takes to be a veterinarian through a combination of live virtual content and fun activities, plus enjoy a take-home kit of materials. They will learn how to check a pet’s vital signs, discover what heartworms are, watch an animal exam, observe a neuter surgery, and so much more. Both live, virtual experiences, Introduction to Veterinary Science and Advanced Veterinary Science, are open to children ages 9-14 and cost $120. More information, dates, and registration are available here.

All backpacks and take-home materials have been handled by healthy staff members at the SPCA who were wearing gloves and masks. All materials have been thoroughly disinfected.  Backpacks are available via curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping.

To find more information on all three types of camp experiences and to register your child for one camp (or all three!), please visit our all new SPCA Kindness Camp page here.

The SPCA Serving Erie County has revised its COVID-19 phase adoption policies. This new policy was put into effect July 6, 2020. Please note, while we are waiving the need for adoption appointments for cats and small animals at this time, we may revert to adoption appointments for these animals again in the future. The current adoption policy is as follows:

THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WHEN YOU DECIDED TO BRING HOME A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!

FOR YOUR PROTECTION AND OURS, THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WILL REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH OCCUPANCY GUIDELINES DURING OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE PHASE.  FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED!

-Except for cats, bunnies, & other small animal adoptions, an adoption appointment is required to enter the Adoptions Lobby.

-To make an adoption appointment for any type of animal besides cats, bunnies, and other small animals, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 207. Please understand it may take up to 48 business hours to receive a return call. With the exception of required “meet and greets” with pets at home, animals cannot be placed on hold.

-Beginning July 6, it is not necessary to make an adoption appointment for cats, bunnies, and other small animals ONLY. This may change at any time, and we may revert to appointment adoptions for cats/small animals.

-Upon entering the building, it is imperative that you sign in with contact information. We require the name of every guest in your party, including children, for tracing purposes.

-Three people will be allowed per guest pass in the cat room or small animal areas, which means only 3 family members or friends should come together to the SPCA to adopt. Please remember if you are planning to adopt a cat/small animal, only three people per party will be allowed on each guest pass.

-Five families (5 guest passes) will be allowed in the cat/small animal adoption areas at any given time.

-Each guest pass allows a family one hour in the cat/small animal adoption areas to help accommodate all potential adopters and increase the number of animals who find homes each day. (Please note: time limits with adoptable animals are only being enforced during our COVID-19 Response phase. Normally, we encourage visitors to spend as long as possible with an animal prior to adoption!)

-If you are here to adopt a cat, bunny, or other small animal and the maximum number of people are present in the cat/small animal rooms, you have the opportunity to wait in a small overflow area in our lobby or, if you prefer not to wait there or if that area is filled, outdoors. Your sign-in information determines the order of admission into the building. If you choose to wait outdoors, we will call you on your mobile phone when it is your turn to visit!

-Wait times will vary depending on shelter population, so please plan accordingly. Traditionally, the busiest adoption day is Saturday, so if you plan to visit Saturday, please allow yourself enough wait time and understand the cat/small animal visitation 1-hour time limit described above.

-Adoption hours remain 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The final appointment(s) for adoption will be made at 3 p.m. Our final group of potential adopters will be allowed in adoption areas one hour prior to closing.

-We may not be able to accommodate everyone on any given day. Depending on the number of people who have arrived at the shelter before you, it is possible you will not be able to see animals on the day you visit. Believe us, we don’t like it either. We’re in the business of placing these animals in new homes…including YOURS! But we understand, and hope you understand, this is for your safety as well as the safety of our volunteers and staff members. 

-See animals available for adoption on this page! Remember, our population changes several times each day, so you’ll want to check back frequently!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP PEOPLE & ANIMALS SAFE & HEALTHY!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

BILL THE CAT: One in a Million (or one in 3,000, to be exact)!

June 24, 2020
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

UPDATE, JUNE 24, 6:30 p.m.: Bill has been adopted! When his story made national news today, we received more than 100 phone calls from potential adopters from all over the country! Fortunately, our boy will be staying home! Now named Milo, he’ll be living in Buffalo with Jomaira & Kiara!


BILL THE CAT is one in a million…or to be more specific, one in 3,000! Why? Because he’s a tortoiseshell kitty, and he’s a boy!

If you’re new to the cat world, that might not seem too exceptional. But those who have spent a little time in feline circles are paying close attention right now, especially after seeing Bill’s photo with that blue collar around his neck and realizing that this is a male tortoiseshell cat, an incredible rarity.

Genetics are pretty interesting when it comes to calico cats, and the same goes for tortoiseshell cats…even the “pastel” or dilute ones like Bill, with softer colors. Several genetic mutations cause these cats to develop coats with patterns that seem marbleized, much like the shell of a tortoise. And with the most common chromosome combos, all calicos and tortoiseshell felines are female. Well….almost all.

Think back to high school. Females have XX chromosomes, males have XY.

X carries the gene for coat colors; Y determines gender.

According to this article issued by Falls Village Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh, NC, “Orange coloring in cats comes from a gene in X chromosomes. Biology refresher: females have XX chromosomes. Males have XY chromosomes. So, it stands to reason that either a male or female cat can be or have orange coloring. The girls, though, are commonly calico, tortie, or orange tabby whereas the vast majority of males are only orange tabby. This is because only a cat with XX chromosomes can be calico or tortie.”

So if two X chromosomes are necessary in a calico or tortie kitten, and males are XY with just one X, how are male calico or tortie cats possible?

Very rarely, an extra strand of DNA (three chromosomes) is apparent in a male, making the male XXY. What does this mean? While the Y determines he is a male, the two Xs can, in fact, give him a calico or a tortoiseshell coat!

This is an incredibly rare occurrence. In fact, several sources researched cite a study by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine that found only about 1 in 3,000 of these calico/tortoiseshell cats are male!

Undoubtedly, it must have occurred to someone throughout history to try and breed these cats, however, cats with three chromosomes are usually also sterile. Neutering is still important to help prevent negative medical or behavioral developments.

Because we don’t see many male calico or tortoiseshell cats at the SPCA Serving Erie County, Bill the cat is feeling pretty special these days, but he’s trying not to let it get to his head. Bill is waiting to meet his new family at our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter! We have a feeling Bill will be scooped up quickly, but plenty of animals are at the SPCA waiting to become a part of your family! See our available animals here.

Adoption appointments can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.

Thanks to the SPCA’s Lindsey Wood for Bill’s photos and videos!

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 >>

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:

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