SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe

July 28, 2023
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

Temperatures are in the high 80s/low 90s in Buffalo and the surrounding area. While many are happy with the warm weather forecast, it’s important to remember pets don’t fare as well as some of their owners on these warm days. Please keep the following hot weather pets tips in mind and share with pet owners you know:

IT IS AGAINST THE LAW IN NEW YORK STATE TO LEAVE ANIMALS IN A VEHICLE IN EXTREME TEMPERATURES, HOT OR COLD >>

HEATSTROKE CAN KILL, AND FAST. Most pet owners realize that keeping pets in hot cars can kill them…but not many realize just how quickly the effects of heatstroke can set in for a dog or cat. And we’re not only referring to 80-degree days; animals suffer heatstroke even on much cooler days.

Heatstroke is a condition animals begin to suffer gradually, but it accelerates quickly. It’s easy for early signs of heatstroke to go unrecognized, and for the pet to be in an emergency situation within mere minutes. The image below is provided courtesy of VeterinaryClinic.com; please click on the image for a downloadable copy of this chart:

On warm days, a vehicle acts like an oven.  It holds the heat inside, and that heat becomes very intense even on days that don’t seem too warm. On an 85-degree day, even parked in the shade with the windows open, the temperature inside a car will climb to 104 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 119 degrees in 30 minutes.  With the humidity we experience here in Buffalo, it may go even higher.  Because a dog’s normal body temperature is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, he can withstand a body temperature of 107-108 degrees for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage…or death.

The typical signs of heatstroke are:
– Panting – High body temperature
– Dehydration – Red mouth/eye membranes
– Rapid, irregular heart rate – Diarrhea
– Weakness, looking dazed – Coma

If your pet begins exhibiting any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately.

CAN I LEGALLY BREAK INTO A CAR TO SAVE A SUFFERING ANIMAL? Currently, while a handful of states allow good Samaritans to legally break car windows in an effort to save a suffering animal, New York is, unfortunately, NOT one of those states.

If you see an animal alone in a vehicle in extreme temperatures:

-Immediately record the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number, and record the time you first noticed the animal(s) alone in the vehicle.

-Next, immediately call 911 to report the incident. If the vehicle is located in Erie County, NY and the time is between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., contact the SPCA Serving Erie County as well: (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

-If you are at a location with a public announcement system (a retail establishment, office, public event, etc.), provide managers, directors, employees, or event coordinators with the details of the situation, and ask for a public announcement that the animal in the vehicle is in severe distress.

-If possible, stay at the scene until help arrives.


PORCHES AND YARDS: Short stays ONLY!

Use caution during warm weather months when allowing animals outside for short sessions in yards or on porches. Never leave them outside extended periods of time. Ensure appropriate shade and water are always available. Keep close supervision on your pet when outdoors on hot, humid, sunny summer days. If you see an animal left on a porch or in a yard with no access to shelter, or with inadequate shelter, the SPCA may be able to intervene in accordance with New York State’s Animal Shelter Law.

Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

Read more about the Animal Shelter Law here.

And remember…pets can get sunburned too. Speak with your veterinarian about applying sunblock to your pet’s sun-sensitive areas, such as nose and ears, even when the animal is only outdoors for short sessions.


ADMINISTER FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS CORRECTLY! Early last June, the SPCA received two cats on death’s door after cheap, incorrect flea products purchased from deep discount stores were applied. The SPCA has already received several phone calls this season from people who misapplied flea products to their pets.   DO NOT APPLY PRODUCTS MEANT FOR DOGS ON CATS, AND DO NOT APPLY CAT FLEA PRODUCTS TO DOGS, AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE VOLUME AND MANNER OF APPLICATION!  Read the directions carefully PRIOR to application, not during application. The application of improper flea products, low-quality flea products, or products applied incorrectly, can cause internal damage or death to your pet. Always consult a veterinarian before purchasing and applying flea products.


USE CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING SUMMER PET TOYS.  Flea products are not the only items that shouldn’t be purchased at deep discount stores. Some pet toys are not durable enough to withstand a pet’s play. This tip and photo came to us in the summer of 2019 from Patrick in South Dayton, NY. Patrick purchased a disc dog toy from a deep discount store for his dogs Roscoe and Titan. On the first throw, Titan caught the toy, which shattered, said Patrick, “…like a mirror” (see photo). Be sure the toys you purchase for your pets are safe and sturdy.

 


KEEP PETS HOME DURING OUTDOOR FESTIVALS.  Art festivals, food festivals, summer fireworks displays, and other crowded outdoor events are no places for dogs.  Extremely hot weather, paired with immense crowds of people and strange noises and scents, heightens the stress level for many animals; the repetitive, exploding sound of fireworks is enough to make even the calmest animal frantic and sometimes aggressive. Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up much more quickly.

The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads when dogs are on pavement for any period of time. Check out this photo from a June, 2019 post on WGRZ-TV and click on the photo for the full story:


DON’T FORCE EXERCISE, primarily after a meal or in hot, humid weather. Instead, exercise pets in the cool of the early morning or evening. Be extra-sensitive to older and overweight animals, or those prone to heart or respiratory problems. Bring an ample supply of water along on the walk. For cool, indoor walks, bring pets to shop at the SPCA’s Petique or other pet-friendly stores.


BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK! Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals (see below), or have puddles or spots of auto coolant. The sweet taste of poisonous liquids attracts animals and can sicken or kill them if ingested. Clean any spills immediately or consider using animal-friendly products to help minimize risks.

Unfortunately, the use of wild rat poisons also increases during warm-weather months, which poses potential hazards for your pets. Be mindful of any poisons your pet(s) can reach on your property and other properties. Read the Humane Society of the United States’ recommendations on alternatives to rodent poisons here >>


WATCH WHAT THEY EAT & DRINK! In July of 2012, two family dogs in North Buffalo died after eating poisonous mushrooms (amanita) growing right in the backyard. Check yards and any areas pets frequent. If something looks suspicious, don’t take a chance….GET RID OF IT. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of contaminated animals. The bacteria can get into water (puddles, ponds, pools, etc.) or soil and survive there for months. Humans AND animals can be infected. Use caution when letting your pet drink, walk through, or swim in water that may have been exposed to infected animals (rodents, wildlife, infected domestic animals, and others).


KEEP YOUR PET WELL-GROOMED AND CLEAN to combat summer skin problems. If your dog’s coat is appropriate, cutting his hair to a one-inch length will help prevent overheating and will also allow you to watch for fleas and ticks. Don’t shave down to the skin, though; your pet can get sunburned (see below)! A cat should be brushed frequently to keep a tangle-free coat. Long-haired cats will be more comfortable with a stylish, summer clip.


USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING SUMMER LAWN/GARDEN PURCHASES! When purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels for ingredients toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. Fertilizers, weed killers, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals can be fatal to your pets. “Weed out” the toxic products from your garage, and learn more about non-toxic, pet-friendly seasonal items. Snail, slug, and rat/mouse baits, and ant/roach baits and traps are also hazardous. Metaldehyde, one of the poisonous ingredients in many baits, is often very appealing to pets, and metaldehyde poisoning can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications, seizures, liver complications, and death. If insect and nuisance animal control items must be purchased, keep them in locations impossible for pets to reach.


KEEP CORN COBS AWAY FROM DOGS! In August of 2013, SPCA veterinarians removed corn cobs from the intestines of not one but TWO dogs! Both survived, but without veterinary treatment the results could have been fatal. Read this article from VetsNow.com  discussing the dangers of corn cobs and corn to dogs.


DO NOT USE HUMAN INSECT REPELLENTS ON PETS! These items are toxic when ingested at high doses, and dogs and cats may lick it off and ingest it, potentially resulting in a toxicity. Read more about what you can use here.


BUNNIES NEED TO KEEP COOL TOO! Pet rabbits who live indoors with no air conditioning can benefit from an easy cooling technique. Rabbit owners can freeze a filled water bottle. Once the water bottle is frozen, it can be wrapped in a cloth and placed on the rabbit’s cage floor. If the rabbit becomes too warm, she’ll instinctively know to lie next to the bottle. Fans can also be pointed in the general direction of a rabbit cage, and rabbits will raise their ears (their natural cooling system) to catch the breeze and cool off. On hot days, pet owners with rabbits living in outdoor pens will want to ensure their pets are cool enough in outdoor locations; if not, rabbits and pens should come indoors.


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. Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at (716) 875-7360, ext. 214.

Other times, please contact your local animal control agency, police department, or your local after-hours emergency clinic.

_________________________________________

Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards or on porches, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360 or cruelty@yourspca.org.

See this story on WIVB-TV >>

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 >>

Two Amherst Men Arraigned on SPCA Charges of Animal Cruelty in Beating of Small Dog

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

Erie County DA John Flynn’s Comments >>

Blake Hiligh, 19, and Zachary Pilarcek, 20, of Amherst, were arraigned in Amherst Town Court at 12 p.m. today. Both men were charged by the SPCA Serving Erie County with animal cruelty, Class A misdemeanors in accordance with Article 26, Section 353 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, in the alleged beating of a small dog.

At 11:20 p.m. June 13, an anonymous email was sent to the SPCA’s Animal Cruelty Investigations Department. The email included a video that had been posted on a Snapchat account that evening.

In the video one man, Pilarcek, a native of Endicott, NY, is speaking off-camera about damage a dog did to a couch in a Sweet Home Road apartment he shares with the dog’s owner, Hiligh, a native of Maryland, and claims he will film the punishment the dog will receive.

Hiligh, the dog’s owner, is then filmed yelling at the dog, a four-year-old buff-colored male Miniature Poodle named Kobe, and proceeds to beat him with what appears to be a leather belt.

An investigation was launched the morning of June 14 by the SPCA Serving Erie County. The email sent to the SPCA included the name of one of the individuals and provided information leading SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigator Lindsey Wood to contact University at Buffalo Police officers, who received similar incident reports and fully cooperated with the SPCA investigation.

Wood, assisted by SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigator Jennifer Maleskis and SPCA Agent Nicole Abrams, located Hiligh and Pilarcek the same afternoon. Both men were charged at that time. Kobe was rescued from the property and immediately transported to the SPCA Serving Erie County’s veterinary team for a full examination and any necessary treatment. Kobe is currently in the care of the SPCA at an undisclosed location and has not been surrendered to the organization.

Amherst Town Court Justice Geoffrey Klein placed a temporary order on the defendants prohibiting them from owning or caring for any animals while the case is pending. Further proceedings for Pilarcek are scheduled for Thursday, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. ; further proceedings for Hiligh are scheduled for Thursday, August 3 at 9:30 a.m. for further proceedings. Both were released on their own recognizance as charge is a non-qualifying offense for bail. There will be a bond hearing in Cheektowaga Town Court on July 6.

A press release issued by the office of Erie County District Attorney John Flynn states, “Hiligh and Pilarcek, both University at Buffalo football players, were subsequently suspended then dismissed from the program.  ‘I want to thank our partners at the SPCA for their work in this investigation and the many services that they provide to help animals in our community. I also commend the University at Buffalo and the UB Football program for taking immediate action, which further demonstrates that animal abuse will not be tolerated in this community,’ said Erie County DA John Flynn. DA Flynn commends SPCA Animal Cruelty Investigators Jennifer Maleskis and Lindsey Wood and SPCA Agent Nicole Abrams as well as University at Buffalo Police for their work in this investigation.”

Keep watching YourSPCA.org for important updates on this case.

Join us in our fight to protect animals >>

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 >>

Injured Bald Eagle Rescued by SPCA Serving Erie County After Buffalo Police Hear “Loud Crash” Outside Building Yesterday

May 25, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

See the full story from WGRZ-TV on “2 The Outdoors” >>

UPDATE 5/31/23: Congratulations to WGRZ-TV Ch. 2 photographer Terry Belke! This month, Terry won an award for his story on this bald eagle rescue and release from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association! Terry received first place in the Excellence in Craft for TV, Radio, and Audio category! (By the way, he also tied for third place in the same category!) See more on this coveted distinction here >>.
Terry, we are honored you chose to tell this story, and convey the emotion and sentiment associated with this beautiful animal, her rehabilitation, and her release!  


UPDATE 9/12/21: This afternoon, the injured bald eagle found by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County returned to the skies of Western New York! As detailed below, the eagle was operated on by staff at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital on May 27, and on June 30, the incredible team at Messinger Woods Wildlife Care & Education Center, Inc. in Holland, NY  picked up the eagle for extensive rehabilitation led by Marianne Hites! Today, the Messinger Woods team (pictured here), joined by members of the SPCA and local media, released the bald eagle at Wendt Beach in Derby, NY! Check out video of the release below:

See the full release video complete with photos here >>

To learn more about Messinger Woods and the fine work the organization does in caring for the wildlife of our community, please visit their Facebook page here >>

Thank you to all who played a part in this gorgeous creature’s return to our skies. An entire community came together to save her life, from the Buffalo Police to members of the SPCA Serving Erie County, to the team at Cornell, and finally to the crew at Messinger Woods. Neither the SPCA Serving Erie County or Messinger Woods would be able to do the work the organizations do and save the lives of so many animals each year if it wasn’t for the donors who make our work possible. On behalf of Messinger Woods and the Wildlife team at the SPCA Serving Erie County, thank you to the donors who help us give these animals second chances.


UPDATE 5/28/21: On Wednesday, May 26, the bald eagle spotted by members of the Buffalo Police Department & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was transported to Ithaca, NY. The eagle was dropped off at Cornell University’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital for surgery on a severely fractured femur; the center wanted him immediately because, as our own Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote and Wildlife Director Barbara Haney explained earlier this week, after that fracture the muscles contract and can make surgery much more difficult.

Today, we heard from staff there that the eagle is doing “great” after surgery! Now he’ll have time to rest and they will create a rehabilitation plan for him. Exciting news for the eagle, and for this community!

Also of note: in the photo here, you’ll notice a thin, thread-like spike (for lack of a better word!) at the tip of the eagle’s wings. Barbara Haney tells us that is indicative of the eagle’s status as a first-year eagle born sometime this calendar year, probably February or March. According to the National Eagle Center website, bald eagles fledge at approximately 10 – 14 weeks, which tells us he has not been out of the nest for long.

We may not receive another eagle update from the wildlife hospital for a few weeks, but when we do, we will definitely share that update with you.

Once again, we thank the members of this community for your care and compassion. Your constant support of all types is what makes our work possible.


UPDATE 5/26/21: The bald eagle spotted by Buffalo Police & rescued by the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a window in the City of Buffalo was dropped off moments ago by the SPCA’s Gina Lattuca at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital, an annex of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. He was photographed upon admission. We will provide updates on his progress as they are made available. Thank you to this caring, compassionate community, for all of the interest in and prayers for this magnificent bird. Your concern, your donations, and your constant support of all types are what make our work possible.


A juvenile bald eagle is in critical condition at the Wildlife Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County after flying into a high building window in the City of Buffalo yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

The SPCA received the call yesterday afternoon from Tracy Masiello, crime analyst for Erie County, after Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino and Officer David O’Brien heard a loud crash outside of their offices at Court and Franklin Streets in Buffalo. They ran outside and there, across the street, a large bird was struggling on the sidewalk. The crash they heard was the bird flying into a window of a building across the street, approximately 30 feet high.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Police Detective Mark Costantino

“He tried to raise himself four or five times, but he was struggling and we could see he couldn’t lift up,” Detective Costantino said today. Despite the fact that the bird didn’t have a full white-feathered head, Detective Costantino said he knew right away that the bird was a bald eagle. “He was enormous, and his talons were so large, I could tell we were looking at an eagle.”

After receiving the call from Masiello, SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Rescue Team Officers Jennifer Maleskis and Tyler Robertson arrived at the location, retrieved the young bird, and rushed him to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department hospital, where they were met by Wildlife Director Barbara Haney and, within the hour, SPCA Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote.

 
  “By the time the bird made it to us, he was obviously quite stressed,” says Haney. “In addition to not being able to stand, he had an injury on his beak and blood in his mouth. He was open-mouthed breathing, a clear sign of his high stress level.”

Dr. Slote was able to provide an initial examination and determined the bird, a first-year bald eagle, has a fractured femur. Further assessment and radiographs this afternoon confirmed a severe fracture.

“We are doing everything we can for this magnificent bird, considering its compromised state at the moment,” said Haney, when asked whether the bird will survive. “We’re careful not to provide any solid prognosis at this time because the bird is still in critical condition and the outcome is uncertain.”

At this time, Dr. Slote will consult with wildlife professionals at Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Center, and will send them her assessment of the eagle along with the radiograph images. If the bird survives and responds to the supportive care, fluids, and medications it is receiving at the SPCA, Haney says, “…then it’s our hope that, once he is strong and stable, Cornell will accept the bird for surgery. The surgical team at Cornell is much better-suited for this sort of surgery…they perform it much more frequently…and they have the equipment and the pins and the other necessities large enough and strong enough for this extremely large animal.”

Haney adds, “Our primary hope right now is that the bird does, in fact, survive. That’s what we’re focused on right now. We’re doing everything in our power to help his survival so that we can actually have that discussion with Cornell about surgery and rehabilitation.”

This eagle is not the first cared for by the SPCA Serving Erie County Wildlife Department. “Eagles have made quite a comeback in the last 30 years or so,” Haney said, “and we’re starting to see them in all parts of Western New York, the City of Buffalo included. It’s possible this bird became disoriented for what could be one of several reasons, possibly even due to his reflection in the window of the high building, or he may have been in a territorial scuffle with a peregrine falcon, as hypothesized by our contacts at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”

The SPCA wishes to thank Buffalo Police Detective Costantino, Buffalo Police Officer O’Brien, and Erie County Crime Analyst Masiello for their cooperation, and for contacting our officers when they found the eagle and saw that it was in distress.

Keep watching YourSPCA.org/EagleRescue2021 for updates on the bald eagle.

Thank you to Detective Costantino, for providing us with the video and photographs from the scene of the rescue.

YOU can be part of saving these beautiful, wild animals in Erie County! Consider making a gift to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department right here >>

 

 

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.

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