SPCA Serving Erie County Earns a Four-Star Rating From Charity Navigator

November 10, 2023

The SPCA Serving Erie County is proud to announce that its strong financial health and ongoing accountability and transparency has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. This rating designates the SPCA as an official “Give with Confidence” charity, indicating that our organization is using its donations effectively based on Charity Navigator’s criteria. Charity Navigator is America’s largest and most-utilized independent charity evaluator. Since 2001, the organization has been an unbiased and trusted source of information for more than 11 million donors annually.

Charity Navigator analyzes nonprofit performance based on four key indicators, referred to as beacons. Currently, nonprofits can earn scores for the Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Culture & Community, and Leadership & Adaptability beacons.

“We are delighted to provide the SPCA Serving Erie County with third-party accreditation that validates their operational excellence,” said Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “The Four-Star Rating is the highest possible rating an organization can achieve. We are eager to see the good work that the SPCA is able to accomplish in the years ahead.”

For more information or to view the SPCA’s complete rating, click here.

SPCA officers rescue 35 animals from deplorable conditions

September 26, 2023
By: SPCA Social Media Coordinator Jillian LeBlanc

On Friday, the SPCA Serving Erie County took in 31 dogs, three newborn puppies, and a cat from a house on Niagara Street in Buffalo. SPCA law enforcement officers performed an emergency rescue after receiving a tip from a mandated reporting agency.

Upon further investigation, SPCA officers discovered the animals were living in deplorable conditions. All the animals were soaked with urine, covered in feces, and were severely matted. Some of the dogs were so matted they could barely see or walk.

SPCA officers removed the animals from the home Friday afternoon and brought them back to the SPCA in West Seneca so they could receive veterinary care. The SPCA team quickly got to work, making the animals feel safe and comfortable before focusing efforts on their matted coats.

Over the weekend, the SPCA team (along with several incredible volunteers!) started the lengthy process of grooming each dog, removing pounds of matted fur from each dog. The before and after photos are truly astounding!

Thanks to our generous donors, these animals are getting the care they desperately need. We hope some of the animals can go up for adoption soon!

At this time, charges are pending.

If you suspect animal cruelty, please call the SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigations Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214. The SPCA will respond to anonymous tips.

See this story in The Buffalo News >>

See this story on Newsweek >>

See this story on WKBW >>

See this story on WIVB >>

See this story on WGRZ >>

See this story on WBEN >>

Two ball pythons rescued from Amherst Delta Sonic find homes

September 7, 2023
By: SPCA Social Media Coordinator Jillian LeBlanc

Last month, the SPCA Serving Erie County took in two ball pythons after they were found at a gas station in Amherst. Now, both pythons are adjusting to life in their new homes!

The first python was admitted to the SPCA on August 15 after it was found coiled in some hoses at the Delta Sonic located at 3100 Niagara Falls Boulevard. After spending the night with Amherst Animal Control, the snake was admitted to the SPCA and was immediately looked over by our veterinary team.

Three days later, a second python, a pastel clown ball python (yellow), was found in a PVC pipe not far from where the first snake was spotted. SPCA officers were called to the scene by Amherst Police to rescue the snake.

SPCA officers later discovered the snakes were two of five ball pythons that were found near the Delta Sonic. Of the three other snakes, two of the pythons were found dead, while a citizen took in the third snake.

After spending nearly two weeks with us without anyone coming forward to claim them as their own, the ball pythons were placed in two loving homes. The pastel clown ball python, now named Sonic, found a new home with experienced owners in North Tonawanda. The other python didn’t have to travel too far to get to their new home. The snake, now named Kaa, is the SPCA’s newest Humane Education Department employee! Kaa will become an animal ambassador, helping to educate the community about ball pythons and provide experience with this incredible reptile!

“Ambassador animals, or animal teachers as we like to call them, visit thousands of community members each year, teaching them about the SPCA, the variety of ways the SPCA helps our community, what to do when you find an animal/no longer can keep an animal, and what proper care looks like for certain animals,” said Christine Davis, said SPCA director of community education.

“Ball pythons are easily acquired, and while they are considered starter snake companions, they can be very picky eaters. Proper husbandry is key with any reptile, which most people are unaware of. We will utilize Kaa to teach about proper care for ball pythons and to cultivate empathy as many people have a strong adverse reaction to snakes or are afraid of them due to their past experiences or the often negative portrayal in the media. Kaa will travel to schools and community events and participate in camps, scout programs and story times appropriately titled ‘Scaly Tales.’ Ultimately, we hope that Kaa will change the hearts and minds of our community regarding snakes and highlight how the SPCA works in partnership with the community to help the animals within it.”

At this time, SPCA officers are still seeking answers about how these snakes ended up at the Delta Sonic. Anyone with information is asked to call the SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigations Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214. The SPCA will respond to anonymous tips.

See this story in Newsweek >>

See this story in The Buffalo News >>

See this story on WIVB >>

See this story on WGRZ >>

See this story on WBEN >>

FIND TRUE LOVE AND YOUR
ADOPTION FEE MAY BE *WAIVED!*

WE’RE BRINGING IT BACK!
Get ready for a furry love connection like no other! The SPCA is bringing the excitement of speed dating back to our shelter on Friday and Saturday, August 18 and 19, from noon to 8 p.m., removing the need for guest passes and hoping you fall in love at first sight! 💘✨

During these special days, we’re waiving adoption fees for all animals one year and older, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match! We guarantee sparks will fly! 😘💕

And that’s not all! Adopters will not only leave with their new furry friend but also some fantastic fun favors to kickstart their journey together! 🎁🎉

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to find love and bring home a lifelong companion. Mark your calendars and join us for this unforgettable event at the SPCA.  🐶🐱🐓❤️ #GetYourFlirtOn

#GetYourFlirtOn at the SPCA all summer >>>

FIND TRUE LOVE AND YOUR
ADOPTION FEE MAY BE *WAIVED!*


WE’RE BRINGING IT BACK!

Get ready for a furry love connection like no other! The SPCA is bringing the excitement of speed dating back to our shelter on Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21, from noon to 8 p.m., removing the need for guest passes and hoping you fall in love at first sight! 💘✨

During these special days, we’re waiving adoption fees for all animals one year and older, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match! We guarantee sparks will fly! 😘💕

And that’s not all! Adopters will not only leave with their new furry friend but also some fantastic fun favors to kickstart their journey together! 🎁🎉

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to find love and bring home a lifelong companion. Mark your calendars and join us for this unforgettable event at the SPCA. Spread the word and tag your friends who might be looking for their new pet! 🐶🐱🐓❤️ #GetYourFlirtOn

#GetYourFlirtOn at the SPCA all summer >>>

FOURTH OF JULY, OUTDOOR FESTIVALS: No Party for Pets

June 29, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The days immediately following July 4 can result in increased numbers of stray animals admitted to animal control facilities and humane societies, and often the explosive sound of fireworks is to blame. Fireworks cause many pets to panic, resulting in extreme and sometimes dangerous escape measures from homes or yards. Without identification, it is nearly impossible to reunite pet with owner.  Please keep the following tips in mind this holiday:

* ENSURE ALL ANIMALS ARE WEARING CURRENT IDENTIFICATION! Even if the animal has microchip identification, place a collar with an ID tag on your pet. If a neighbor or passer-by finds your animal, an ID collar that includes your phone number can lead to a faster reunion. Remember, don’t limit a search for a lost pet to your geographical location! A frightened animal that bolts can travel long distances, and well-meaning community members trying to help may also transport the animal to an animal control facility or veterinary clinic in a different neighborhood. Find local animal control facilities here >>. 


* DON’T TAKE ANIMALS TO FIREWORKS DISPLAYS. The sounds and sights of fireworks often have the ability to turn the most calm, quiet, and non-aggressive pet into a stressed, frightened animal. A startled animal may not only break free and run away, but may also bite.

If you bring your dog to these events and realize it’s becoming too overwhelming for him or her, DO NOT KEEP YOUR DOG IN YOUR CAR FOR ANY AMOUNT OF TIME! The effects of heatstroke on even slightly warm days begin within mere minutes. and the results could be fatal.  Stressed animals confined to cars can not only die or suffer severe brain damage, but can also experience an overwhelming stress level that can cause physical harm to the pet, and/or damage to the vehicle’s interior. Home is the safest place for pets this holiday.


* HAVE SOMEONE HOME WITH NERVOUS PETS DURING FIREWORKS. If the animal is with someone he or she knows, the pet’s stress level will be greatly reduced. Keep the volume on a television or radio turned up to block some of the noise. ThunderShirts®  reportedly work to calm the anxiety felt by some dogs and cats when they can hear fireworks, thunder, even when they experience separation anxiety, and can be found in many local pet supply shops and online. 


* NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES FOR HOUNDS. This tip comes from the SPCA’s own Annual Giving Manager, Phil. He and his wife, Samantha, have a beautiful dog, Daenerys, who is very afraid of fireworks. Phil says, “We’ve tried everything to keep her calm, from vests to CBD, and nothing seems to work.” Phil and Samantha ordered custom-made noise-cancelling headphones especially for dogs. The headphones, which must be ordered in advance based on each dog’s specific measurements, contain Bluetooth technology which allows owners to stream their dogs’ most calming musical selections (decibal reduction for the dogs provide a “whisper volume”) directly into their ears. Here, Daenerys is pictured sporting her new headphones, which arrived only days before July 4. We’ll keep you posted on Daenerys’ review of this new calming approach! A simple online search will direct pet owners to the various companies offering these headphones.


Very hot weather paired with immense crowds of people and loud, strange noises heighten the stress level for many animals.  Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up quickly. The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads. Home is the safest place for pets on extremely hot days and during arts festivals, food festivals, other crowded outdoor events, and especially fireworks displays.

If you witness animal cruelty or see any animal in need of rescue or emergency assistance this summer, the SPCA Serving Erie County may be able to help. Please call the SPCA Monday through Saturday,
8 a.m. – 4:30  p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

See the SPCA’s additional, important reminders for keeping pets safe in the summer heat here >>

See this story on WKBW-TV >>

See this story on WIVB-TV >>

FIND TRUE LOVE…AND YOUR
ADOPTION FEE MAY BE *WAIVED!*


Get ready for a furry love connection like no other! The SPCA is bringing the excitement of speed dating to our shelter on Monday, June 26, and Tuesday, June 27, from noon to 8 p.m., removing the need for guest passes and hoping you fall in love at first sight! 💘✨

During these special days, we’re waiving adoption fees for all animals one year and older, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match! But that’s not all . . . in addition to meeting a wide range of lovable animals, attendees will have the chance to visit our adorable kissing booth, where the sparks might just fly! 😘💕

And that’s not all! Adopters will not only leave with their new furry friend but also some fantastic fun favors to kickstart their journey together! 🎁🎉

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to find love and bring home a lifelong companion. Mark your calendars and join us for this unforgettable event at the SPCA. Spread the word and tag your friends who might be looking for their new pet! 🐶🐱🐓❤️ #GetYourFlirtOn

SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigations: Happening Daily, Rarely Discussed

Investigation With Homeland Security, BPD Still Resonates with One SPCA Officer

June 12, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

It’s not a secret. Volumes of research point to the link between cruelty to animals and violence towards people. It’s no stretch, then, to recognize the reality of this fact: when SPCA Serving Erie County representatives work tirelessly to end animal cruelty, an impact is made on reducing overall violence in the community.

The SPCA’s efforts towards ending violence in Erie County are indisputably paramount, especially now, as the organization works to transform the model of animal sheltering, care, and protection, with community members playing a larger role than ever before. We all have a vested interest in making Erie County kinder, more compassionate, less violent.

This transformation puts an even brighter spotlight on the SPCA’s animal cruelty investigations. As with all law enforcement investigations, it’s nearly impossible to share with the public details as an investigation is taking place (which could negatively impact the investigation) or even after an investigation has taken place (which could negatively impact future investigations). Because we are not constantly sharing information on animal cruelty investigations, the fact that our officers are engaging in this work every day to help abused animals and keep our community safe can be forgotten.

Hundreds of animals are rescued annually by SPCA officers as a result of cruelty investigations, and speaking with the officers emphasizes the importance of the work being done. Visions of nighttime raids, doors being kicked in, and on-the-scene chaos compete with the reality of the investigation and the emotions experienced by cruelty officers when abused animals in appalling conditions are finally found…animals that can be saved by the SPCA, and especially animals who are past the point of being saved.

SPCA Officer Lindsey Wood described one extensive animal cruelty investigation that took place in February of this year, an investigation that involved not only SPCA Serving Erie County officers but members of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Buffalo Police Department (BPD).

“On February 3, the SPCA received a call from Homeland Security Investigations,” Wood explained. “That morning, officers had executed a warrant for narcotics at a Marion St. residence, and while they were there, they saw three dogs unproperly cared for, malnourished, with scarring.” As HSI officers arrested five people at the property, SPCA officers worked to obtain their own search warrant, allowing them to enter the property to check on the dogs.

By the time SPCA Officers Wood, Paul LeShay and Jennifer Maleskis arrived that afternoon, only one dog was on location. “The poor dog was in an old closet in the basement,” said Wood. “She was tethered to an old desk with a rusty, chain-link lead, only a foot or two long. There was no food, no water, and she was emaciated, dehydrated, covered with scars. Completely neglected.” The two other dogs seen earlier were nowhere to be found.

The investigation that ensued turned up information that the two dogs not located February 3 had been removed; there was a possibility that the dogs were residing at a May St. property, the home of a Marion St. family member. SPCA officers acquired enough evidence to obtain another search warrant, and on the evening of February 8, as approximately 12 HSI and BPD officers surrounded the house, Officers Wood and Maleskis, together with SPCA Officer William Heine and SPCA Agent Nicole Abrams, executed the warrant.

Six new dogs were found at the May St. property. “Two of the dogs were found outside in a garage-like structure, tethered to makeshift dog houses,” described Wood. “Another was left in a very small crate, one was chained on a two-foot lead in a hallway space that looked to be approximately three feet. Two additional dogs were located in the basement area, short-chained to old work benches.”

Also found at the scene? Two loaded handguns. The subject was arrested by BPD officers on firearms charges and the dogs were rescued, transported to the SPCA Serving Erie County infirmary.

Officer Wood, an 18-year veteran of the SPCA, has been involved in countless animal cruelty investigations and rescues. Seven dogs rescued from brutal, violent settings in the course of just six days should offer some peace of mind. Not for Officer Wood.

“I couldn’t get those two dogs still missing from Marion St. out of my head,” Wood shared. “I knew they needed help. I knew I had to find them.”

It was this drive that led Wood to continue the investigation.

After close review of footage from the warrant executions, information came to light that the two missing dogs may be found not in another home…not in a closet or basement or other clandestine location…but they may have been hidden in plain sight. They may have been brought to a public location, a location as public as the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter (CBAS).

On February 13, Officers Wood and Maleskis headed to the CBAS and found two dogs there that fit the description of the dogs HSI officers originally found on February 3. The dogs, like the dog rescued from the location, were also in poor condition, emaciated, and severely neglected. HSI officers confirmed that the two dogs were, in fact, the dogs they saw on Marion St.

At the time of this writing, all dogs were in the care of the SPCA Serving Erie County, and charges against the owners are pending, although the owners have already been incarcerated on the narcotics and firearms charges.

“Being able to help nine dogs, dogs who may have suffered painful, barbaric deaths otherwise, is a major achievement for the SPCA Serving Erie County,” says Wood. “In addition to helping the dogs, two illegal, loaded handguns were removed from the street, narcotics were removed from the street…it’s rewarding. We’re able to assist these poor dogs and help to make the community a little safer.”

Wood commends the HSI and BPD officers who assisted SPCA officers in the investigations, calling it a true picture of organizations coming together to help animals and people. “These are the tasks we can’t talk about every day. We can’t talk to friends or family, we can’t talk to people in the community, as we engage in these rescues and these investigations. It does become difficult, dealing with the emotional pieces of these situations, but we knew what we signed up for. This is what we work to accomplish. Outcomes like this are what make our daily sacrifices all worthwhile.”

The reality of the emotions experienced by officers engaged in animal cruelty investigations is a stark contrast to what some may imagine when they picture the scenes of such rescues. While the details usually cannot be publicly discussed, and while the emotions are typically kept private, they are all part of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s role in the community, part of making Erie County a true humane society.

Be a part of ending animal cruelty >>

Report an animal in need of help >>

#SPCACompassionInAction

SAYING GOODBYE TO OUR STARS at 102.5 FM

June 9, 2023 — This morning at 9:59 a.m., we said goodbye to a radio station that has spent fifty years entertaining those of us in Buffalo and the surrounding area.

Radiothon 2010

Star 102.5 (formerly known as Rock 102, Q102.5, Majic 102, and even WBEN) has brought us music, talk, contests, exclusive interviews, local broadcasting, and, yes, Christmas music, unlike other stations on the airwaves. And for 30+ years, the station has given the SPCA Serving Erie County millions of dollars of airtime.

Paws in the Park

Star 102.5 allowed the SPCA to spotlight animals on a weekly basis for more than three decades, dating back to local legend Sandy Beach welcoming animals into the studio during his morning show produced by Rob Lucas, who started at the station in 1986.

Rob Lucas, Gina Lattuca, Paws in the Park at Chestnut Ridge Park

Over the years, Sandy, Rob, Sue O’Neil, Roger Christian, John Anthony, Jimmy Stelianou, Dave Edwards, Brian DeMay, and other well-known talent supported various SPCA efforts. The station was the first sponsor of the Paws in the Park dog walk 30 years ago, and helped to pioneer the 20-year-old Radiothon fundraiser; combined, just these two efforts have raised millions of dollars to help the animals and animal-lovers in our community through the SPCA.

See the SPCA’s video tribute to Rob Lucas >>

Jimmy Stelianou and Rob Lucas welcome Christmas music in the Star 102.5 studio

Even with no official sponsorship, the station dedicated airtime to the SPCA and allowed promotion of our stories, our departments, our programs, our events, and thousands of our animals, as much as possible.

To the management, sales, on-air, production, creative, and other teams at Star 102.5, we thank you for helping an infinite number of animals over the years. Together with your listeners, you helped us grow from a smaller shelter in Tonawanda to a campus-like setting in West Seneca, with the ability to provide even more life-saving services to animals as we help the people in our community who love these animals. You are a prime reason people in our region know about our SPCA and what it has to offer.

Goodbye to the people and the station that have meant so much to us over the years. Thank you for taking our animals along on the ride.

— SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

 

Hear final words from Rob Lucas as Star signs off >>

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