If making a significant difference in the lives of animals is something you’re passionate about, volunteering with the SPCA might be one of the most fulfilling parts of your life!

Depending on what volunteer position you decide is right for you, you’ll have the opportunity to provide compassionate care for animals, bring pets and families together, and perform purpose-driven work!

For more information about how you can get involved, go to YourSPCA.org/Volunteer! Have any questions about volunteering? Please reach out to our Volunteer Department!

Director of Volunteer Services:
Kelly Deschamps | (716) 875-7360 ext. 232 | kellyd@yourspca.org

Assistant Director of Volunteer Services:
Desirea Mojica | (716) 875-7360 ext. 252 | desiream@yourspca.org

View current volunteer positions


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 >>



Country Music Artist Tyler Rich and Wife, Actress Sabina Gadecki, Help Put a Spotlight on SPCA Animals

April 23, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

A little bit of country came to the SPCA Serving Erie County this afternoon!

Country music artist Tyler Rich, performing tonight at Buffalo’s Town Ballroom, and his wife Sabina Gadecki decided to share their time with some SPCA animals waiting for new homes!

As part of their Rich Rescues platform, the couple visited our SPCA and spent some time with wild animals being rehabilitated by members of the SPCA’s Wildlife Department, a couple cute puppies temporarily residing at the SPCA, and staff favorites, dogs Reese, Tiva, and Clover!

Kadie Daye Country 106.5 WYRK was along for the fun too!

Thank you, Tyler and Sabina, for taking time out of your busy schedules to spotlight our animals!

Below are photos from this afternoon’s visit. When images and videos are added to Tyler’s “Rich Rescues” platforms, we’ll be sure to share!

The SPCA’s Wildlife Department Hosts its Own Flicker ICU

July 17, 2020 — By Barbara Haney, Director of the Wildlife Department

The SPCA’s Wildlife Department currently has five Northern Flickers in what they’re calling a Flicker ICU! These five birds all suffered head injuries from window strikes and, in an effort to rehabiltate them and release them back to the wild, all are in various stages of learning how to eat. These birds have guarded, but hopeful, prognoses.

If you find that you have a window that attracts birds, there are various techniques that you can do to deter them. This website has many good suggestions, https://www.worldbirds.org/how-to-stop-birds-from-flying-into-windows.

The SPCA’s Wildlife Department’s Recent Releases

July 17, 2020 — The summer is the SPCA’s Wildlife Department’s busiest time of year! Wildlife Hospital Supervisor Dawn wrote about two recent releases:

This Red-Tail Hawk came from the Depew/Cheektowaga French Road area and had a fractured right ulna. Dr. Slote determined that surgery was not an option. The broken pieces were aligned enough so we applied an immobilizing wrap. Every three days the bird was anesthetized for physical therapy. The wrap would be removed and the wing would undergo a series of stretches and motions. It is incredibly important that all the ligaments and tendons stay loose and limber or they risk rupturing once the wrap is off entirely. After roughly a month she made a full recovery and was released in her home territory.

This Snapping Turtle was found on Transit Road after being struck by a vehicle. He sustained three shell fractures, two of which required immobilization techniques so they would heal properly. Turtle shell healing is fairly slow and it took about four weeks. The shell was sturdy enough that he can be returned to the pond to complete the healing process in the place he calls home!

You can help the SPCA’s Wildlife Department by making a donation here!

SPCA, Continuing to Serve: Wildlife Rescue Stories

There have been so many terrific wildlife rescue stories happening, that we decided to put them together on the same page!

Tree Swallows Find Adoptive Parents

This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department’s James Sevigny, Licensed Veterinary Technician and Wildlife Rehabilitator

June 22, 2020 — On June 17, two baby birds were dropped off at the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department. At first, we thought they might be Northern Mockingbirds, a common bird in the southern United States. After a few days, however, they started making noises… and immediately we could tell they were Tree Swallows! Tree Swallows are beautiful iridescent blue aerial insectivores (meaning they catch bugs in flight). While we have raised these birds successfully in the past, aerial insectivores are extremely challenging patients and we make every effort to reunite them with their parents, or to find wild foster parents if a reunion with their parents isn’t possible.

After we figured out what these little birds were, we called Celeste Morien of Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Celeste was able to identify a few nest boxes with tree swallow nestlings of a similar age. After getting permission from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, I brought the birds to Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on June 22. Together we decided which nest the little birds would go into. The first nest had six baby birds already and we decided that the parents had enough mouths to feed! The next nest only had four babies, and while the babies were a little bit older, we decided that this nest offered them the best chance. We gingerly placed them in the nest box with their new siblings and closed the door. Within a few minutes, BOTH parents had entered the nest box to feed their new blended family!



Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtles Find Refuge with SPCA Wildlife Department Volunteer

This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department’s James Sevigny, Licensed Veterinary Technician and Wildlife Rehabilitator

June 24, 2020 — On January 7, three baby Eastern Spiny Softshell turtles were seized by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from a person in Chautauqua County who had illegally collected them out of the wild to keep as pets. In New York State it is illegal to keep any native wild animal as a pet. Like most aquatic turtles, Spiny Softshell turtles hibernate through the winter, so the DEC entrusted the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department with the care of these adorable reptiles until they could be released in the spring.

After getting a thorough physical exam, the three turtles were placed into home foster care with wildlife rehabilitator and turtle expert Shelby Priester who took care of the little guys until the weather and water temperature was just right to give them the best chance for survival in the wild.

Typically, wildlife is released to the same place it was found, but we didn’t know where these guys came from. We reached out to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, New York who have been monitoring turtle populations in the area for several years. Fortunately, they knew of the perfect spot for release.

On June 9, wildlife rehabilitator Shelby Priester, SPCA wildlife veterinarian Dr. Karen Slote, and Roger Tory Peterson Institute staff Jonathan Townsend and Twan Leenders met in Jamestown to release the turtles. Watch the video here.

This story illustrates how many different individuals, agencies, and organizations come together to help these turtles: from the DEC officer who rescued the turtles, through the vets and wildlife rehabilitators of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department who took care of them, to the staff of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute who assisted with their release… We thank everyone for their help!


Snapping Turtle Rescued From Drainpipe

This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigator / Animal Rescue Officer Tyler Robertson:

July 3, 2020 — A snapping turtle was found stuck inside a drainpipe in Clarence. Employees from the Town of Clarence Highway Department assisted in cutting the pipe to free the turtle. The turtle was transported back to the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Wildlife Department where he got a clean bill of health. He was released near a body of water where he was originally found shortly after.


Crafty Fox Rescued from Underneath Porch

This comes to us from SPCA Serving Erie County Animal Cruelty Investigator / Animal Rescue Officer Tyler Robertson:

July 3, 2020 – With the assistance of Amherst Animal Control, Officer Heine and I worked to rescue this fox who had been eluding them all week. The fox went under a porch on Robin Road and the homeowners were quick to make a phone call noting the fox’s location. The fox was transported back to the SPCA’s Wildlife Department for assessment. He was released shortly thereafter. Watch his release here.

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